July 20, 2010
July 11, 2007
Trapped on some Godforsaken island or alone in a rainforest or high up in the mountains, I would absolutely eat things normally considered distasteful; bugs, leaves, human beings. But I sincerely doubt I’d get a taste for whatever desperation and my stomach conspired to make me eat.
So with that in mind, why on earth are people willingly chowing down on Hakarl? You’d think a dish discovered due to starvation so profound it made a guy dig up a shark he’d buried on the beach four months prior wouldn’t exactly catch on, especially given that it makes the uninitiated gag due to its ammonia content. But then according to locals it’s the aftertaste you’re going for, and it’s more of a Fear Factor-style test of fortitude (to be consumed with a shot of “Black Death” Brennivin, natch) than a daily necessity.
But then you’ve got Casu marzu. A delicacy from Sardinia, Italy, casu marzu is literally “rotten cheese,” though it’s colloquially known as “maggot cheese.” Mainly because there are cheese fly larvae inside it. Scoop out a bit of the viscous goo and you’ll see white, near-translucent worms just chowing away, havin’ a party. I can easily imagine the desperation that forced some poor farmer to eat a cheese loaf so old it was actually leaking, but c’mon, how can people still eat it with gusto now? The government rather sensibly banned sale of the stuff, but it continues to fetch a high price on the black market.
I know, I know, regional delicacies and all, but I still have yet to try chitlins, much less rotting shark or cheese.
-Jim out, wondering what on this list he would actually contemplate eating
May 21, 2007
Please forgive me. Several weeks have passed since I took these pictures from the Taste of Chinatown. It’s about time I blogged about the food festival. It was a warm, Saturday afternoon and I was with a motley collection of friends. We zig-zagged through the crowd and fought our way over to the street-side tables, where $1 and $2 tasting portions were offered to the crowd. There were no tables, so overly hungry eyes could mean juggling several Styrofoam containers while eating standing up and walking through the crowd. (Sure, there were a couple chair-less tables scattered down the center of the street, but these were rarely open for occupation.)
Fried rice and pork dumplings were the first selection for which we fought, and for $2, we received quite a respectable portion. I shoveled rice into my mouth straight from the small container as we continued to scope out more food. The Peking Duck place looked amazing, and the line around the block confirmed our suspicions. In the end though, we were not motivated enough to wait (I will be going back for this, mmmm duck).
We visited this table next for a collection of egg rolls, steamed pork bao, fried shrimp, and these little pork burger-things which throughly confused me. The shrimp was quite tasty, but certainly unremarkable, and I really wasn’t a fan of the bao. It seemed a little too gooey on the outside for my taste. At this point, my friends and I were already too full and wanting to get out of the sun. We slipped into a bakery/tea shop/karaoke club for bubble tea. If you are not privy to the magic of bubble tea, it’s basically a fruity frozen drink with little balls of tapioca which you suck up through the straw while drinking and chew. This shop had a really nifty machine that seals the top of frozen bubble tea with a film of plastic, and can be punctured with the over-sized straw. Fun fun.