I'm just asking about the safety of why restaurants serve the raw Mung bean sprouts and Yunnan ham on a dish, separate from the hot soup. You're supposed to add the sprouts and ham to the soup yourself. But why doesn't this restaurant do this for you?

Raw sprouts can cause illness | Farm Life | agupdate.com. Isn't it obvious that it's safer if restaurant chefs add the sprouts before the soup is finished cooking, to kill more of the bacteria in the sprouts?

Raw or undercooked sprouts pose a risk of food-borne infection because, unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm humid conditions to sprout and grow. Bacteria that can cause illness, including Salmonella, Listeria and Escherichia coli, thrive in such warm and humid conditions.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system should not eat raw or lightly cooked sprouts. The caution includes alfalfa, clover, radish and mung-bean sprouts.

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First pic. Bottom pic from this blog.

  • 2
    As your quote states, mung beans being unsafe is in the same category as alfalfa and radishes. There are a lot of foods eaten raw that have an increased risk, consider steak tartare, also not good for pregnant women and children. Overall it's entirely dependent on how the growers and restaurants handle, select, and maintain these vegetables. I don't understand your actual question here, all of this is readably available with context. I'm also not entirely sure what shark fin soup has to do with this. Are you trying to make some kind of ethical point on Chinese cuisine?
    – BobKayser
    Dec 25, 2020 at 15:24
  • I took out the last sentence about shark fin soup, because there's no connection to either the sprouts or food safety that I can see.
    – Erica
    Jan 22, 2021 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Beansprouts take about 30 seconds to cook. Add them to the soup before serving & they could be soggy by the time they reach the table.

Adding them for yourself means

  1. They'll be still crisp &
  2. It looks more 'elegant/refined'

They look like they've been washed & trimmed already, if not even slightly blanched.

Also note that a Hong Kong restaurant would not be subject to US rules (although the OP quote is simply 'advice' not 'law'.).

  • 3
    And of course, even US restaurants serve things that people with compromised immune systems should not eat (like steak tartare). The warning is a warning, not a ban.
    – user141592
    Dec 25, 2020 at 10:09
  • I don't know that there's a specific US rule, anyway. Every place I've had been sprouts in soup in the US (typically Pho), it's been served on the side for you to add yourself.
    – Joe
    Jan 22, 2021 at 17:18
  • @Joe - I added that the OP's quote is actually merely advice not any kind of legislation. (I'm actually in the UK where idk of any specific legislation on such as this either).
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 22, 2021 at 17:21

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