Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weird Things I Have Eaten (Part 1)

The food is probably going to be one of the most wonderful things about this trip. The cuisine here is absolutely spectacular. Most of the time you don't really know exactly what you are eating, and I know the names of almost nothing, but it doesn't matter because everything is so good.
One of the biggest comments I got from people about this trip was "are you going to eat wierd stuff like dog?" The answer is a resounding yes, partly because a lot of times you don't know what you are eating and party because that is the point of these kinds of adventures! To try new things outside your comfort zone! I have my limits certainly, but generally my rule is I need to try everything at least once before i turn my nose up at it.

So I have only been here slightly over a week, but I have already expanded my palette quite a bit. Here are some of the stranger things I have already eaten.
Tripe - For anyone who doesn't know what this is, it is the interior lining of a cow's stomach. Once you get past the bumpy, rubbery texture the flavor is quite good. Had it mixed with cucumbers and hot spices in a delicious meal.
Cicada - Yep, like the big noisy ones back home in Missouri, only bigger in their "1st stage". Fried with a little salt on them, these babies pop loudly when you eat them whole. The consistency and flavor are both almost identical to mashed potatoes. A stick of 4 runs you about 10 kuai ($1.50).
Scorpion - Wee ones, only about 2 inches long. The only rule to follow while eating them is that you first break off the stinger tip so it doesn't stab you in the throat. They are like a spicy little potato chip, and crackle loudly. Very, very tasty.
Duck intestine - Like a little ribbon of flavor! They come all curled up in a ribbon, but are very juicy. Chewier than beef jerky, they take a while to get through.
Whole baby quail - This one was hard to do just because of it staring back at you. The bird has not developed enough to have hard bones, so you just crunch right through it and eat the whole thing. It crackles like a pork rind when you bite it. The meat is wonderful though!
Silk worm larvae - This is one of the most horrendous things I have ever eaten. They are about 2 inches long and half and inch in girth, and under their hard outer shell they are full of some of the most vile liquid imaginable. It pops open and spills out uncontrollably in your mouth, and the weird taste stays with you for quite a while.


  1. Wow Andy, I'm impressed! I wouldn't do so well over there unless I got a little braver... my love for Chinese food consists of things like sweet and sour chicken, haha! :) The interior lining of a cow's stomach and silk worm larvae aren't quite the same I'm sure! I'm glad that you're enjoying all of these new foods! Can't wait to hear more!

  2. Well. I'm glad you're willing to try new things. Want to stay positive so that's about all I can say.

    P.S. It's OK if my souvenir from China is something else besides the food, anything else!

  3. Hey Cheryl! Yeah, some of that stuff was pretty intimidating, but you just have to dive right in. I also sort of seek the strange things out too, its not like you have to eat scorpion at every meal. :) There is a lot of really great "normal" food too. The best though? A 16 oz. bottle of beer is only 3 kuai, or about 45 cents! Much beer will be consumed on this trip!

    And mom, I promise I will get you something nice. I haggled a woman at the Great Wall for 2 t-shirts, and got her down to 50 kuai ($7) for both. I later found out that wasn't even that good of a price!

  4. You're makeing it alot easier for me to plan meals. No more shopping, I will just go out in the back yard and gather. Dad

  5. You know how picky I am, and I ate like a king while I was over there. It's true, everything is good. I didn't even see that much rice, honestly. More vegetables and meat. Another thing I noticed is they almost never use cheese. If you're into haggling now, you should check out the International Silk Market (or whatever it's called). It is easily accessible by the subway, which is another great experience: the Chinese subway during rush hour. Personal space has no meaning.

  6. ohh I am so jealous! I am so glad to hear you are having a good time. You will be experiencing so many things, and I admire that you are not holding back.

    I have to admit, I'd have a terrible time crunching through baby quail...

    enjoying your blog! thanks for sharing:]

    ps: I love what your dad said!