I arrived in Nanning this morning, after spending the past four days in Guangzhou, which is the food capital of China. I was treated with great kindness by Mrs. Tan and Mr. Lu, some family friends who live in Guangzhou, and they made it a point to show me the best time possible, which of course, included trying plenty of local fare.
So, shall I recap some of the things I’ve eaten over the past few days? I think I will! I’ll go over the really fun stuff. 🙂
Thursday (Warm welcome to Guangzhou dinner): A soup of bones, less desirable meat, and (drumroll) scorpions. You only drink the broth, so I didn’t know about the contents until later. I was surprised when Mrs. Tan fished a scorpion out of her soup bowl! I shrieked “Is that a scorpion!?” and proceeded to fish five of them out of my own soup bowl. “Can I eat this??” I asked. The answer was yes, and so I did. I ate a scorpion (This is not the first time I’ve done this, though before, it was at the state fair and it was chocolate covered). Other delights included barbequed pigeon (which was delicious!), abalone (OK, that’s not so strange, but I’ve never had abalone before), and snake (I wish I knew what kind of snake it was). This was an incredible dinner, and everything was delicious.
Friday: We went for “morning tea” (see: breakfast) and had many dim sum style dishes. The most exotic of everything on offer was chicken feet. Yes, I ate one (not the first time either). I’m not too keen on them. The rest of the food I ate on Friday was comparatively tame. Oh, I also tried durian fruit; Blech!
Saturday: Cow stomach. It looked really bizarre, and was very tough, but I’d eat it again. Among the other lunch items were fairly innocuous items such as tofu, meatballs, and dumplings… and then there was this dish that resembled a dark brown tofu. I asked what it was but didn’t understand the explanation.
“… Is it tofu?” I asked.
“Is it meat?”
I shrugged and tried it. It had the texture of soft tofu, but was definitely not tofu. Upon further explanation, I discovered that it was congealed pig’s blood. At this news, I could do nothing but laugh.
Later that evening, I tried turtle shell pudding. It’s a jello like dessert, made from turtle shells. It’s jet black, and tastes very sweet at first, but then tastes very bitter. I was not particularly keen on this.
Sunday: At dinner I had pigeon once again, and loved it just as much as before. There may or may not be a picture of me kissing the cooked pigeon’s head! (Hint: There is definitely a picture that fits this description)
So, there you have it! I’ve started keeping a list of the strange things I’ve eaten in my life, and it’s growing quickly. I think that at the end of my trip I will post it in its entirety. Oh, in addition to the strange things aforementioned, I must tell you about the way they serve meat here. The Chinese are big on textures to their food, and they serve their meat with the bones inside. So, if eating ribs, they will have been cut into little pieces so that each contains a cross section of bone. This makes eating even the least offensive (to my Western tastes) of foods quite the experience. At dinner on Sunday, there was a sweet and sour chicken dish that looked exactly like something you’d get at a Chinese restaurant in America. It still had the bones inside! I’m getting more used to this.
In other news, I have my bungy pictures uploaded onto my computer, which means that I can make my Macau entry! I love my Airbook, and it’s not often that the lack of disk drive is an issue, but I was given pictures of my jump on a CD and it proved harder than expected to get them onto a thumb drive. That said, an entry about Macau will be up soon. 🙂