Year of the Buffalo

thumbnailOften I hear expats say that the one thing they like about living in Shanghai is that almost everyday you will see something that you haven’t seen before. For me I would extend that sentiment to my occasional trips to Carrefour. It seems like each time I go I  see something I have never seen before, either on the shelf or in the aisles.

Like the day I obliged the enthusiastic women hawking buffalo milk. I find it very interesting that in a population that less than 20 years ago did not drink any animal milk on a  regular basis, that someone thought  buffalo milk would be a big seller. Perhaps that is the point. The Chinese are not in the habit of choosing cow’s milk so why not try buffalo milk? So I did.

Buffalo milk which comes from the Asian water buffalo,( not the kind of buffalo I thought of first that  is “home on the range” in the western United States),  is similar in color to soy milk but far richer in consistency and a bit sweeter. The taste is fairly bland just like cow’s milk. From a nutritional standpoint, buffalo milk and cow’s milk  have two important differences.  Cup for cup, buffalo milk has twice the calcium of cow’s milk, which is important for women and children, but cow’s milk has half the cholesterol.  Still buffalo milk would make a good alternative for people trying to increase their calcium intake.

More importantly I was hoping to find another calcium-rich alternative for people with milk allergies and intolerances, sorry follks, not this time.  Generally people allergic to milk will also be allergic to  buffalo milk.  Same goes for lactose-intolerance. 

I don’t remember the cost so it must not have been too different from the UHT boxed cow’s milk.  Water buffalo are reported to be less exposed to hormones and anti-biotics so the milk would  have  less of these additives as well. 

In the spirit of eating well and having fun, I say give it a try.  You might just like having buffalo milk with your bedtime animal crackers.

Eat Well Shanghai Around Town:

This weekend from 10 am – 3 pm  drop by Jiashan Market for the bi-weekly Outdoor Market for some great fresh food choices, although I don’t think they have worked up to featuring buffalo milk yet.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun !