Sunday, August 15, 2010

Food Fin

You really can't beat food culture. It's definitely one of the biggest aspects of learning, experiencing, and appreciating a new culture, so next time your in a place not so familiar (even the South has food culture...although, unless it's BBQ Nachos, I wouldn't recommend it =), try some local food. It might be a part of the animal you've never eaten before, it may be below your sanitation expectations, and it just might look like you shouldn't eat it, but seriously, millions are scarfin' it down every day, so take a leap into their lives, at least try it.

It's true that I wouldn't want to have a full meal of live baby octopus (Korea), duck or pig tongues (China), pig ears (again, China), stinky tofu (HK), sea urchins (Philippines), or balut (ba-loot: a semi-developed duck egg, boiled, which you can either choose 18, 16, 12 day old baby ducks. 18 (the manliest...whatever that means) has no yolk and you might feel some feathers and some beak action inside...); However, it is true that these "delicacies" really are part of their culture and fun to catch a glimpse of what's special (or more traditional) for them.

But no matter how crazy you get, there will always be the basics for every day meals. Yes, Asia consumes seriously every part of the animal including the feet to the testicles to the tongue (or snout), but it's always accompanied by the typical bowl of rice or sometimes a bowl of noodles. Chinese food is vastly different than that of "American Chinese" food, but I would advocate the authentic is far superior (obviously). There's more flavors, distinctions, and all around love into your meal, even if it is in a Styrofoam bowl wrapped in plastic. But before you head over to Asia, learn to use some chopsticks, because it will build bridges like you never imagined two sticks could.

This video is just a glimpse of what we experienced during the 7-months over there. I felt slightly responsible for everybody's appreciation of food culture, so we went to some pretty local joints. Among my favorite are the Fish-head Curry (seriously scary, but seriously delicious), Singapore Crab (if you go, just ask around and you'll get some, you just pick your crab when it's alive, perhaps name him, then eat him when he's been lightly boiled and fried), egg-tarts are HK's best, the eel in Korea was probably the craziest preparation I saw over there, and the final scenes in the video are the only meal that made my intestinal tract hate me. I was out for a couple weeks, but it was worth having everthing, I mean the worst food can do is make you sick if you just try it =] But on the flip side, it can make you love the people, culture, and all for the price of a dollar-menu burger. Where's the downfall?


Vanessa Johns said...

nobody ever leaves you comments..surely i'm not the only one reading this? anyway, that's what i'm here for. LOVE this video. i've been showing it to pretty much everyone i know ;)

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