The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

New China Hand: Placentophagy!



As you can’t fail to notice this week, Hong Kong is in the grips of a crisis. The battleground is a sometimes-dirty word passed down from the ancient Greeks and its utterance immediately causes polarisation among the listeners:


No, this is not the name of a trendy new club in Soho. Placentophagy is the eating of the placenta by mammals. And it is mammals of the HUMAN kind who are making headlines for their placentophagyism (?) this week.

First, we have the case of an American lady, Melissa Grenham, who became the first to take her placenta home from a public hospital after winning a bureaucratic battle with the Hospital Authority. Placentas are usually incinerated as medical waste.

Next up, the South China Morning Post revealed in its own investigation that HUMAN PLACENTA BISCUITS (紫河?) are available under the counter in some Hong Kong dispensaries. This is against both Hong Kong and mainland laws.

In the first case, it seems there’s a reasonably straightforward decision to be made by the parties directly concerned – i.e. the mother and the doctors involved – and, regardless of benefits, it seems there are no obvious harms for anyone who chooses to stomach it.

In the second case, WTF??? Where on earth have these placentas come from – the investigation only managed to get half answers as to their origin. Purchasing and consuming somebody else’s placenta would seem to open up a much larger can of worms (or placentas?), with possible wider harms to vulnerable members of society. Despite allegedly invoking an old Chinese medical tradition, modern authorities have already made the decision for us by making it illegal.

Furthermore, women who have claimed their own placentas have had them encapsulated, chucked in a smoothy, even deep fried, but BISCUITS?!? I’ll never look at a digestive or rich tea in the same way again. Can you imagine handing these out at your next coffee morning, or passing a plate to the vicar when he calls round on a quiet Wednesday afternoon, or as a side to fried chicken, covered in butter?

Running directly against Hong Kong tradition, and with apologies to a popular UK confectionary treat marketing campaign, let’s leave this up to the people and ask: how do you eat yours?


Selected sources:

2 comments on “New China Hand: Placentophagy!

  1. brielle87
    September 9, 2014

    Sauteed with a bearnaise sauce.

    • NewChinaHand
      September 17, 2014


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This entry was posted on September 8, 2014 by in LionRockNews, NewChinaHand and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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