Foreign Devil’s Guide to Ordering Nasty Shit at Chinese Restaurants

Wonder what Chinese people eat? Curious about how you can get some of it?  Want to try to act Chinese and eat some of the nasty shit?

Three types of Chinese restaurants.

1. Those that cater exclusively to Foreign Devils (that’s probably you and if it isn’t, go back to eating your nasty shit).  They serve food like sweet and sour pork, fried rice, General Tso Chicken, beef and broccoli and fortune cookies. Dishes invented in the US.  Not saying there’s anything wrong with these dishes.  (Though the fortune cookie is bizarre).

2. Those that cater to Foreign Devils and those who speak Ching Chong.  Foreign Devils get English menu; others the Chinese menu.  English menu similar to what you’d find at restaurants that cater exclusively to Foreign Devils, but includes dishes that originate from China. Chinese menu offers nasty shit.

3. Those that cater primarily to Chinese.  Only a Chinese menu.  Serves lots of nasty shit.

What’s the Nasty Shit?  
Some examples:

1. Jellyfish.  Slightly crunchy, sliced into noodles, usually drenched in a sauce. Barbarians who try it mistake it for a vegetable.

2. Beef intestine (tripe).  Also slightly crunchy in texture, sliced into noodles.  Soaked in a mild sauce.

3. Stinky tofu.  Fermented in some really nasty shit, so it stinks. Those who first encounter it may feel as if they’re locked in a 4×4 room with two guys farting nonstop after a been and milk meal.  Be patient, stick with it.  When you acquire taste for it, it’ll smell like your own fart.  Or your own feet. Stinky but oddly pleasurable, enticing.  Addictive.  You’ll want more.

4. Duck tongue. Yes, it’s possible.

5. Chicken feet.  Fun to eat, get it at any place that serves dim sum.  Slow cooked in a sauce, the bones break off easily.  You play with them in your mouth, using your tongue to strip off the meat.  Then spit out the bones.  This is how I learned to kiss before my first kiss.

6. Fish eyeballs.

7. Fish heads.  That’s why we keep the head on.  We plan on eating it.

8. Duck head.  That’s why we keep the head on.  We plan on gnawing on it.

9. Pig’s colon.  Don’t worry, the caca has been washed out.  And even if it hasn’t, it’s thoroughly cooked.  No worries, I promise. Sheesh.

10. Pig uterus.  Why toss it, waste it?  Cook it in some soy sauce, slice it up.  It’s like Chinese calamari.

How to Get the Nasty Shit

First, you’ve got to convince your server that you’re ready for the nasty shit.  If you speak Chinese, they’ll give it to you.  If you don’t, they’ll hesitate, and in some cases, not give you what you order (give you fried rice and orange chicken instead).  Be persistent.  Have what you want written on paper, English is fine in restaurants that serve both Foreign Devils and Chinese.  If you’re in a restaurant that serves mostly Chinese people, use sign language. Make a claw (with hand, not feet)if you want chicken feet.  Point to stomach if you want beef tripe.  Squeeze your nose if you want stinky tofu.  Make fish lips and point to eyes if you want fish eyes.  Do it. Do it. It works. But don’t point at your asshole if you want pig colon. Trust me on this one, too much room for misunderstanding.

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Most of the body parts above are also served throughout Europe, South America, and Africa.  Question arises: if most of the world eats offals and this ingredient and that body part served in this and that way, how did the American palate develop to become so limited? It wasn’t always this way (and has become more adventurous since the 90s).  To explore how the mainstream American palate was developed after WWII is to ask questions about the politics of food and eating and the psychology of nation-building.

Part II on the national development of the American palate coming soon…

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