Posted by: mdillavou | June 20, 2010

Food Critique

Over the past three weeks, I have tried a variety of foods. Some good, some awful.  Some have become my staple diet (well no, not really!).  Below is my review of some of the dishes I have tried so far:

Caterpillar:

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

I’m not exactly sure how this was prepared, but it was the bedding underneath a shrimp dish at lunch.  When this came out, we had no idea what it was, although most were betting on cockroaches.  Knowing it would be unlikely that I’d sample if I knew what it was, I went ahead and sampled one before asking what it was. The first reply translated to locusts.  I immediately began gagging, but was able to hold back long enough for a second translation to come through: caterpillar.  Not a whole lot better, but did give me the courage to have seconds.

My opinion: a little shelly.  It has a nice outer crunch, but is a little chewy on the inside.  This dish is a little hard to swallow, so I recommend washing it down with a cold beer. A LOT of cold beer!

Chicken Feet:

chicken foot

Chicken foot

I was out with my chinese students for dinner at a lovely Hot Pot restaurant.  My group came back with chicken feet and insisted I try.  Not wanting to disrespect their culture, I felt I had no choice.

My opinion: The presentation takes a little getting used to.  There is no trying to hide the fact that this is an entire chicken leg, foot, and nails.  There was no attempt to batter and fry to give this a new texture.  On top of that, this dish was served cold. Not knowing where to start I initially took a nibble off the leg.  Unable to find any meat, I looked around to see how my fellow chinese students preferred to eat this dish.  Ah hah!  The trick is to grab a toe, give it a few good wiggles, then a hard yank.  Once the toe has been removed, the best way to enjoy this is to suck the meat off.  Watch out though, the tendons tend to get in the way!  After sucking on the toes for a while, it’s time to move the pad of the food.  The bumpy, leather texture is a little off-putting at first, but you’ll find a suprising amount of tasty meat once you finally break through.  All in all, I am still have nightmares about chicken feet, and still, after two weeks can’t get the taste out of my mouth.

Pig Ears:  That’s right, these aren’t just dog treats!  Freshly prepared and thinly sliced, these look like a deli slice of roast beef.  They have a nice texture and go down smoothly.  I highly enjoyed these (until I learned what I was eating), and would recommend them to all

Blueberry Potato Chips:

Blueberry Potato Chips

Blueberry Potato Chips

This just falls into the odd category.  The second night in China, while walking through the super market, I discovered the vast array of flavored potato chips.  From Numb and Spicy Hot Pot to Sweet and Sour Fish flavored, I was mesmerized by the Blueberry flavored.

My opinion: A little sugary for a potato chip. An initial sweet, almost blueberry taste, then a rancid after taste.  I bet you can eat just one of these!

That’s all for this edition.  Next up will be some other plates such as pig tongue, chicken heart, and chicken liver.  I’m hoping to also try stinky tofu, stink fruit, and fried scorpion!

-Marcus

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