China, Pt. 2: Kung Food Fighting

My first breakfast in China, and I decided to go bold.

Fried salmon skin. Just the skin. With a few incidental pieces of flesh hanging on.

Tastes a lot like salmon skin

Tastes a lot like salmon skin

Morning #2, I went for braised oxtail swimming in some yummy-looking spicy sauce because who doesn’t eat oxtail for breakfast?

It was good, good! But brought up a question that my rural roots couldn’t immediately answer. We don’t see a whole lot of oxen, so what is oxtail?

Cow tail, it turns out. Simple tail of the cow. That thing hanging above the butt, brushing against the butt… all day long. Back and forth.

Uh-huh.

Well, I’m not changing my opinion. It was good, and I never ate it again.

Clockwise, chicken foot, lotus root, pig tail, sliced pieces of pig’s ear, then beef something

Clockwise, chicken foot, lotus root, pig tail, sliced pieces of pig’s ear, then beef something

From the above photo, it is clear that knowing the location of the oxtail didn’t deter me from trying some pig tail. And other parts.

China is the top producer and consumer of pork in the world. For that reason alone, I could live there.

Interestingly, I never saw the piggy parts we would refer to as Rocky Mountain oysters anywhere. Perhaps every culture has its limitations?

As we dined one day on traditional Chinese food, it occurred to me how closely related it was to traditional Southern fare.

From small town and small farm backgrounds our forefathers - theirs too - had to make the most of what they had.

That meant fattening the pig and using it all. Feet, ears, tails, lungs, brains… even intestines. Or chitlins, as we call them, though if we were proper Southerners, we’d call them chitterlings.

I reckon we figure we don’t need no stinkin’ proper talk when it comes to eating hog guts.

I don’t recall that Americans have ever been big on chicken feet, but the Chinese are. And where do they get those chicken feet?

From Georgia, for starters. The Peach State is really the Poultry State.

As the number one producer of poultry in the country, one of the few parts of the chicken we don’t eat is exported to China. Most Americans have just enough exposure to farm life to be repulsed by knowing what those chicken feet spent their whole life walking in!

Still, I tried one. When in China…

China_food_chicken foot 2.jpg

I didn’t finish my chicken foot. It was boiled, I was hoping for fried. I probably would have eaten more had it been fried because I think I’d eat dirty socks if they were properly battered and fried.

As the preferred eating utensils in China, chopsticks were available to us at every meal.

China_food_chopsticks 2.jpg

I used mine. Some.

As each meal began, I used them with such ease I figured the locals were probably looking at each other as if to ask, who is this white China-man?

But as the meal progressed, I’d get increasingly spastic, eventually reaching the point of using them to stab my food. Then I’d switch to fork and spoon.

I sincerely don’t understand why the Chinese people haven’t made the switch to our utensils. Over and over, I watched folks eat rice with chopsticks, taking in only a small portion each time. Not sure how you ever fill up balancing grains of rice on two little sticks.

Sure, it can help with portion control, but come on, people! There’s a thing called a fork. You can shovel that stuff in! (Like Americans do.)

Squid on a stick. I didn’t have a chance to try it, but as much as I love calamari, I should have.

Squid on a stick. I didn’t have a chance to try it, but as much as I love calamari, I should have.

Since we were on a tour, most all of our meals were buffets. Big buffets. I noted that every breakfast buffet featured pork ‘n beans, and I was impressed.

At home, we do pork ‘n beans occasionally with burgers and barbeque, but here they were being served every dang morning for breakfast. Hello, China!

Turns out, it’s not a Chinese thing; it is a British thing. And yeah, we had a bunch o’ Brits on the tour.

It also turns out that while it looks like pork ‘n beans, it ain’t. Contains no pork. Just dumb ol’ beans in tomato sauce.

Phooey.

Next stop: England. I’m gonna teach those folks how to add bacon to their beans.

We’ll also add some garlic, brown sugar, molasses and barbeque sauce - all those lovely ingredients that leave your tummy with massive amounts of undigested complex carbohydrates.

Then we’re gonna make some noise!

You need these waffles. The piece on the left has kiwi jam, the one on the right has mango jam. BOTH jams are accompanied by sweetened condensed milk. Yep, Eagle brand from a can. Nothing short of freakin’ delicious!

You need these waffles. The piece on the left has kiwi jam, the one on the right has mango jam. BOTH jams are accompanied by sweetened condensed milk. Yep, Eagle brand from a can. Nothing short of freakin’ delicious!









China, Part 1: Enter The Dragon