Is it a myth or truth that they put plastics into crispy fried shallots?

This is a plate of Penang chee cheong fun which is slathered with sweet sauce, stinky prawn paste and chilli sauce.  It has to be topped with sesame seeds, ground peanuts and the important crispy, deep fried shallots.  If you have made deep fried, crispy shallots , you will know what a chore it is.  Skinning the tiny shallots, slice them thinly, if possible dry them a bit by spreading out on a tray and deep fried just to the correct golden brown.  Most times, you will never get a crispy batch.

My sister-in-law who used to be a hawker warned me not to eat the shallots because she insisted with a serious face that the manufacturer uses mineral water bottles to make them crisp and last.  She said they will throw in mineral water bottle into the hot oil so that the plastic melts and cover the shallots to make them forever crispy.

In my post about Penang Hokkien Mee, a few people also told me they had heard of this claim.  Some said they use drinking straws.

I find it a chore to actually pick out those shallots so I usually absent-mindedly eat them when garnished in my food.

I hope these claims are not true.  If it is, someone should haul these heartless people for causing cancers and don’t know what else of illness.  Anyone can shed any idea how the manufacturers of crispy, fried shallots maintain the crispiness for so long?

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

16 thoughts on “Is it a myth or truth that they put plastics into crispy fried shallots?


    (July 28, 2006 - 3:12 am)

    seriously…do u think u can still chew on the onions if they’re fried with plastics 😉 me thinks they’re likely to be coated with natural, edible polysaccharides like starch


    (July 28, 2006 - 11:37 am)

    This is the first time I’ve heard about this in Onions, but I have heard of them cutting up straws into small itsy bitsy little pieces and adding it into the batter for the cucur and it remains crisp later in the evening even though u bough it in the morning..true or not..I dnt know..but yeah..I do wonder how they managed to keep the cucur crisp till evening though….


    (July 28, 2006 - 3:03 pm)

    Can anyone shed any idea how these plastics helps maintain the crispiness for so long?


    (July 28, 2006 - 3:59 pm)

    i think its just rumours …..tends to agree with 8chai.


    (July 28, 2006 - 6:24 pm)

    You want to know?

    Run a lab test. 🙂

    I am serious.


    (July 28, 2006 - 6:40 pm)

    If the results show there are traces of plastic, then the manufacturers are in for a lot of trouble…


    (July 28, 2006 - 10:06 pm)

    Probably spread by the same people who deprived me of my bowl of Penang laksa before we left the country–claiming that the “fish” was shredded toilet paper. GRRRR.


    (July 29, 2006 - 7:23 am)

    Aiyo! So lazy! Cut your own onions and make your own fried shallots lah!! (Shakes head!) Talking about plastic, I’ve heard that people use that for imitation sharks’ fins!!!


    (July 29, 2006 - 7:59 pm)

    yes yes, i’ve heard of this too. they said they used straws… they will heat the oil then throw in the plastic straws…. they use it in ‘yau char kway’ too. die ler, i love those fried shallots and i usually asked for more … more means nicer!


    (July 30, 2006 - 9:28 am)

    add sugar when u are deep frying it.

    that is what my ma does it.


    (July 31, 2006 - 9:48 am)

    *faints* Really ar? I never heard of these tales before but I do wonder how it stays crispy for so long.


    (August 2, 2006 - 2:51 pm)

    My tealady taught me this – deep fry your shallots in oil that has been salted, i.e. add salt to your oil la. This will make the onions crispy. When cool, keep in airtight container.


    (August 3, 2006 - 1:13 pm)

    I heard of these since long long time ago about fried chicken and pisang goreng in Kuching but don’t know how true it is.

    However, the onion can be very crispy without plastic :P, my mom always used salt and deep fried the onions until it turned brown and it’s so crispy and can last for days if stored in air tight container. It’s so easy ehehhe… pour the salt into the oil depending on how much salty you want it to be or mix the salt with the onion after cutting and slicing and fried it.


    (September 14, 2006 - 8:13 pm)

    One way of testing this wild claim out is to do a litle experiment. Just try frying the shallots and add in the plastic bottles. That will tell us whether these calims are true or just the wild imagination of people with nothing else better to do.


    (November 22, 2006 - 1:51 pm)

    I never miss the chee cheong fun at Genting kopitiam, island glades whenever get there 🙂

    […] 26th, 2008 by Lilian Back in 2006, I blogged about the myth or fact that hawkers added plastic mineral water bottles into frying the shallots to make them crispy and maintain the crispiness even after many months. My sister-in-law who used […]

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