Gindara aka escolar and its effect

After getting food poisoning, I decided to google gindara aka escolar and was surprised to find its effect. 

Gindara was the name that the Japanese restaurant used to call the fish. Escolar is its more scientific name. 

What I found is that escolar is a type of snake mackerel that cannot metabolize the wax esters (gempylotoxin) naturally found in its diet. The gempylotoxin is very similar to mineral oil and gives the escolar an oil content of 14–25%. This is what gives the escolar its buttery texture.

Unfortunately, human beings are not meant to consume such high quantities of gempylotoxin and hence my adverse reactions (nausea, vomiting, etc). Basically, just imagine drinking mineral oil. 

This apparently isn't new because both Italy and Japan banned the sale of the fish. Since 1977,  the Japanese government considers escolar to be toxic. In 2007, Hong Kong recommended that escolar not be used for catering purposes. Apparently, the cooking method doesn't matter as the wax ester content remains the same. 

In the United States, the FDA informally recommends, "Escolar should not be marketed in interstate commerce."

For countries like Singapore that don't regulate escolar, it would be best for consumers to eat it in moderation by limiting portions to six ounces (170 g) or less, consume portions close to the tail which typically have a lower wax ester content, or simply avoid it all together. 

I have learned my lesson and hope that you won't have to suffer through it too. 

Brussels - the City of Lights - Please keep shining

Yesterday, another bombing in a major European city. Such a tragedy. 

Feel like the War on Terror is still raging on where the opposition is relentless in using violence to subjugate any dissenting view and willingly attack innocent bystanders who's only crime is being in the area. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be no immediate solution to stopping this War on Terror. It would be great if there was an actionable, peaceful solution to this conflict but I'm at a lost in coming up with such a solution. 

In the meantime, I hope that Brussels remain strong and that the city continues to be the beacon of enlightenment. 

How countries spend money

Yesterday, the infographic shows that China now has more highways than the US which got me thinking about how countries spend their money.

Last year, Economist made a chart that looks at this very question.

It's fascinating that US spends the least on food, considering the percentage of obesity in America, I thought that Americans would be spending more money on food. I guess that food is relatively cheap in America and so that's the reason for the obesity?

Australia really loves recreation and spends the most in that category, more than US, Japan, or the EU. 

Hopefully, the Economist will update the chart and include more countries this time around. 

Blogging Hiatus Until 2016

It's been a very crazy month and will probably be even crazier over the winter holidays. 

I'll be taking a hiatus from weekday blogging until next year. If I have some free time, I might do sporadic blogging but that's only if I manage to find time. 

Hopefully, I'll be better at scheduling in 2016.

In the meantime, I'll be scribbling away, just like in the picture.

Update you guys more later.  

Self-Storage vs Fast Food Restaurants

After looking at food for the past two weeks, it made me wonder about actual floor space. 

SpareFoot made an infographic comparing self-storage space vs fast food restaurants. Kind of fascinating to look at it this way. McDonald's and Starbucks have amount the same amount of space, but less than Subway. 

 From https://www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/blog/7775-how-many-storage-facilities-are-in-the-us/

From https://www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/blog/7775-how-many-storage-facilities-are-in-the-us/

World's 17 Most Dangerous Food

After looking at food for the past two weeks, it's probably good to examine which food is dangerous. 

Some food seems pretty innocuous, like rhubarb leaves, cashews, and star fruit. Monkey brains, casu marzu (maggot cheese), and hákari (rotten smelling shark) are something that sounds inherently dangerous. Kind of makes you wonder how people "discover" that you can eat these things. 

the-worlds-17-most-dangerous-foods_ from visually.jpg

Evolution of Watermelon

I'm becoming a fan of James Kennedy, a chemistry teacher in Australia. These infographics are really cool, especially for people interested in food science. I hope he makes more of these. 

Yesterday, it was an infographic about peaches. Today, it's about watermelon. 

Who knew that watermelons were originally bitter and rich in fat?

 From https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/artificial-vs-natural-watermelon-sweetcorn/

From https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/artificial-vs-natural-watermelon-sweetcorn/