sashimi
Sashimi, a specialty from east Asia. It’s a way of eating raw fish cut into pieces.

 

 

In October 2018, a food documentary released in China attracted wide attention and discussion.

风味人间1
The posters of a Chinese food documentary named ‘once upon a bite’

The documentary, Once upon a bite, was released in China just a few days ago and quickly had more than 170 million viewers.

It’s even more interesting than the three consecutive legendary food documentaries in China in 2012 called A bite of China, which have been viewed more than 180 million times in China.

“Once upon a bite,” the documentary, its food research vision is no longer limited to China, but in a broader perspective with a more open attitude to explore and compare the Chinese food and food from all over the world. With Exquisite shooting technique, this documentary shows how people use similar raw materials to make different delicious food from different geographical and historical background.

While attracting wide attention, this documentary has also aroused wide controversy. Among them, whether fish could be eaten raw or not has always been the focus of people’s attention and debate.In the long history of human exploration of food, cooking is an iconic achievement. Because a lot of researches have shown that cooking foods makes us able to extract more calories and kill bacteria, so we stuck with it.

顺德鱼生
‘Shunde sashimi’ is a dish made by thin slices of freshwater raw fish, which is percious for its clean living environment and fresh sweet taste.

However, raw food are still popular among several places , which mainly because raw food can keep the natural and fresh taste. The most typical case in this documentary is the freshwater sashimi called ‘Shunde sashimi’.This kind of local specialties in Shunde city of China and has more than 1000 years history ,it even become more well-known after being promoted by this documentary. But this risk behind it must been seen for there are some statistics show shunde has one of the highest rates of parasitic infections in China.

Researchers conducted a census of parasite infections in shunde in 2002, This survey was carried out by the center for disease control and prevention of shunde district. Three towns were randomly selected from the 10 subordinate towns of shunde district, and one village was randomly selected from each town to inspect the intestinal parasitic worm eggs of all resident populations. The term “resident population” here refers to people who have lived for more than one year. The results are striking. Of the 1,561 people examined, 880 were infected with the parasite, with an infection rate of 56.37%. Among them, the infection rate of liver fluke was the highest, reaching 50.74%, and the infection rate of other hookworm, whipworm and roundworm was several percentage points respectively.

顺德淡水鱼的细菌
Freshwater fish information collected from fish ponds in shunde and zhongshan, China.

According to the analysis of shunde district center for disease control and prevention, the production mode, living habits, sanitary conditions, etc., are the factors of parasitic infection. Diet, as the most important part of “living habits”, is naturally difficult to discard the pot. Considering the infection path of liver fluke, it can be reasonably judged that the extremely high parasite infection rate of shunde people, especially the infection rate of liver fluke, is closely related to the diet habit of loving raw fish.

Although the documentary has been widely acclaimed, it promotes Chinese and world food culture. Although this documentary didn’t give a clear recommendation on how people make choice between health and delicious food, under the beautification of documentaries, it is easy for people to turn a blind eye to the risks behind food. The authors suggest that the audience should be reminded that while eating raw fish is a pleasure, modern epidemiological statistics tell us that eating raw fish is risky.