In the spirit of adventure and making the most of Beijing, my friend Danny and I decided to go on a "crazy eats trek". There's a famous snack street in Wanfujing and at night the sidewalk is beautifully lite by strings of red lanterns. The street is almost as pretty as the wild and wonderful food that the vendors wave in front of you as they yell out their exotic names. Almost everything is speared on sticks, from fruit and dumplings to scorpions and snake. Danny and I decided we were only going to eat the most crazy ridiculous creatures we could find. Man oh man, mission accomplished! Here is the official breakdown :) :
Scorpions: These were not bad actually! I'd actually say that they might have been one of my favorites. Not as scary to eat as they look...we decided to go for Option A and eat the ones that were already cooked. Option B was to eat the ones that were still alive and would crawl into you so we decided to go for Option A and ate our full stick's worth.
Centipedes: As Danny says, they taste poisonous. Almost toxic....like we were really not supposed to be eating them. The meat was pitch black and it was really bitter.
Silkworms: Oh boy, these creatures....as some fellas we ran into on the street said, these creatures are THE WORST. They were the only creatures we sampled that we spit out. I felt bad, the only reason I got them was because they were the one kind of creature that Danny really did not want to eat so of course I bought them and made him eat them like a good old friend that I am. See, the thing with silk worm is that when you bit into it, there is this explosive situation inside your mouth. Danny calls it puss and I do believe he said its worm "that has yet to be fully formed...like worm fetus." sorry, that may have been too much information! hmmm. Well either way, I would have to say it wasn't my favorite.
Snake: I think snake actually tasted the best....I think that was the easiest one for me to eat because the meat was already skinned and sliced and this was the only creature we ate that didn't have it's head on the stick... no snake face stare downs!
Crickets: I think they are a delicacy in some places but for me, it wan not especially exciting. Although it was fried and anything fried tastes fun, right?
Seahorses: I was most excited to try this one, but maybe since it was a small one, I couldn't really taste anything. They are really expensive, they were selling them on the street for 50 kuai! (I think there were three or four on a stick) But we bargained on another side street and each got a stick with one seahorse for about 20 kuai.....savvy seahorse purchasers that we are :)
Star fish: This was bitter, crunchy and not surprisingly, challenging to eat. Much more fun to admire on the beach than to eat on the street. The meat inside is dark too, and like centipede, it just doesn't seem so edible. ...But still fun to give a try.
When I was eating starfish, it was funny because this man ran up to me and smiled and then he was standing there, a little bit awkwardly in front of me almost like he was waiting for something to happen. Then I turned to see his friend take our picture. Then he put his arm around me, his friend took another picture, and then with huge smiles they took off and ran away. It was a camera ambush :)
Our pictures were also taken the other day at the snack stand by our subway station, our snack selling friends asked to take a picture of my friend Carol and I...they are a very friendly bunch. They make delicious crepes for you on the spot called jian bing, ( you can buy these everywhere in Beijing, particularly popular for breakfast). They break an egg over it and as it thinly cooks they add fried crispy fun in the middle with chives, onions, and magic sauce, then they fold it up and OH it is so good. I eat one every day. I can't imagine life without them....without them or The Yam Man, The Steamed Corn Ladies, The Grilled Corn Men, The Baozi Ladies....oh where would I be without these fine food friends.
Another crazy eat occurred a few weeks ago. I couldn't do it the first time I was here in 2001. I wanted to be strong enough but I just couldn't muster the courage. A few of Caitlin's bosses have taken us out to dinner and I politely declined the first time but the second time I decided to go for it... I ate dog! I ate it so quickly that I barely tasted it, but from what I can recall, it tastes a bit sweeter than the meat we are more familiar with back in the states. I saw a dog later and thought I was going to keel over, ohhh i am too weak, no more canine consumption for Mego.
Welcome to my random reflections on Beijing experiences and adventures--my first attempt at being high-tech and joining the blog world! Thanks to the friends that suggested I become a blogger. Not that my daily life is that notable, but it is fun to write about and hopefully you will enjoy reading about such fun as well.