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Save the eyeballs for me

Part of China adventure is eating different foods, like tarantulas, meal worms

By JON KRAUSE / VN GUEST COLUMNIST
On February 24, 2015

Jon Krause, a UDM graduate who is teaching English in China, writes on his experiences for The Varsity News.

 

By Jon Krause

VN SPECIAL WRITER

 

“Surely, my mother wouldn't approve of this,” I thought to myself as I picked an avian toenail out of my teeth.

She had always told me not to put my feet in my mouth when I was little.

How would she feel about a chicken's foot?

I’ve been living in Asia for over seven months now, and I have put a lot of strange things into my mouth.

To be quite frank, the chicken foot is probably the least weird. 

Frog guts, pig anus, cow “odds and ends” and fish heads are just a few of the things that are eaten on a daily basis on this side of the world.

There is a self-deprecating joke amongst the Chinese that says that the only thing with legs that the Chinese won't eat is a table, and after spending this much time here, I’ve caught myself eyeballing a few tables. 

One cannot come to Asia with any reservations or dietary queasiness.

I am a man of voracious appetite, and I could not wait to sink my teeth into anything and everything put in front of me.

Do you want to know a secret?

It’s all delicious.

The organs are the best part of the cow, and intestines have a wonderful texture once you get beyond the slight odor.

Fish heads? Pass them to me. I’ll fight you for the eyeball. 

Yes, I have eaten bugs.

Yes, they’re awesome.

My favorite is a tie between tarantulas and mealworms.

Tarantulas have a greasy chewy flavor that is reminiscent of fried chicken skin, which we can all agree is the best part of the chicken.

Meal worms taste like potatoes and hazelnuts and have a wonderful buttercream texture, all packed into a cheerfully snappy exterior.

Meal worms would go perfectly in a taco or a salad.

Someone stateside needs to act on this post haste.

The food is not all perfect.

Fish balls, which are not genital in nature but simply meatballs of a piscine variety, are not to my taste at all.

Surprisingly enough, the foods I have found to be least agreeable are the fruits. Chinese and Southeast Asian fruits all tend to be way too sour or bitter for my palate.

I fear in America that we limit ourselves far too much.

In a land where salmon and lobster seem exotic and where often we eat only the white meat, we are missing out on a huge spectrum of culinary possibilities.

To take a page out of actor and travel host Dominic Monaghan’s book, we need to be more curious.

China has taught me that much. 

Oh yeah, and chicken feet?

A little boney, but otherwise harmless. 

Next column: The Great Smog Monster

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