Well, almost! Yes, it is a culture shock for many but is it really as a result of cultural differences? I'm not too sure. I think a big part of it originated out of necessity while another, yes, culture. Civilizations as old as China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia "evolved" and with the explosion of population in these countries, a lot of the living becomes food sources.
So, what are these? Most mentioned here will not be found on the dining tables in Europe or America but they are quite commonly eaten by the Asians. See if you can stomach these, my guess is most in America can't ;-)
Yes, the Chinese eat them by the millions! Roasted pigeon is one of my favorite food! Yum! I've not come across any western cuisine serving this dish although in Macau, it's also a big favorite. Is it due to the Portuguese influence? No, I doubt it.
Some think pigeons are too cute to be eaten. For me, if you haven't try any, you've absolutely no idea how good they taste! Definitely a must try!
Yes, another favorite of the Chinese people. In fact, like the pigeons, it's deemed to be a delicacy. It's also best when roasted. Yung Kee in Hong Kong is the all time favorite of tourists to Hong Kong although it can be eaten in many other restaurants. As far as I know, geese are also served during Christmas in the U.S. but I haven't tried it there before so I've absolutely no idea how good they are!
Yes, many Asian cuisines serve them as snacks and food. Chicken Feet in the Cantonese cuisine can be found in Dim Sum and also soups. The Thai love theirs hot and spicy and normally eat them as appetizers. No matter how you serve it, Asians are game for it.
Duck webs are most served in the Cantonese cuisine with fish maws, sea cucumber or abalones. Highly expensive!
Frogs and bullfrogs. Yes, they are delicious if you know how to cook them! I like mine fried, especially frog legs! Stir fried is great too. What do they taste like? More tender than chicken and extremely delicious!
Gross, you think? Well, wait till you get to the next one!
Personally, I think Europeans are more adventurous when it comes to food. Americans are mostly content with their hot dogs and hamburgers. Naturally, there are those who like steaks too. Offals, if you're adventurous, are awesome! Personally, I love them, be it cooked the Chinese way, Indonesian way or the Argentinian (BBQ) way!
So, what kind of offals?
For a start, Chinese eat the kidneys, livers, stomachs, intestines, gizzards, tripes, hearts, tongues, ears and even testicles! From chickens', pigs' and cows' mostly.
Don't be surprised if you find the Japanese loving "their' tongues! The Thais and Vietnamese eat them too and at times have the pigs' ears pickled. You can find them in some of the Vietnamese supermarkets in Chinatown in the U.S. and canada if you're curious and want to have a go at them.
The Scottlish eat them the Haggis way, if I'm not mistaken. French have their Foie Gras and Pate but they are mostly from liver. There are also ham made of tongues.
But in general, you won't find offals on the table of most western cuisines. Imagine my surprise when I found them in Poland in the form of Beef tripe soups! That felt like home!
If you're curious, yes, I've tried them all. Cow's and Pig's brain is absolutely gourmet and if you like bone marrows, you'll like it. I've tried cow's brain curry in Indonesia and Pig's brain soup in Singapore. In fact, Pig's organs soup is something that many Singaporeans eat on a daily basis!
Recently, I found some Canadian whelks in the supermarkets in Hong Kong. So, I'm assuming they are exporting what they don't eat. Snails of other types are quite commonly cooked with hot chillis in China and Indonesia. These are the smaller river snails.
Do the Americans eat them? I don't think so unless it's in the form of Escargot ;-)
This is a delicacy and it's not cheap to eat them in Asia. The Sichuan cuisine does a lot of turtle and also some country like Singapore and Malaysia serve the turtle
soup. They are a delicacy and also an acquired taste. I had seen my grandma cooked it when I was a child and it's quite a horrifying experience. However, it tastes
awesome. I'm not exactly sure how exactly are they killed before they are cooked though. It could just be as bad a case as the shark's fin! All I remembered was the
turtle was thrown into a boiling pot of water! So, for those who keep them as pets, well, I'm sorry, this is not something for you!This is a delicacy and it's not cheap to eat them in Asia. The Sichuan cuisine does a lot of turtle and also some country like Singapore and Malaysia serve the turtle
This is a delicacy and it's not cheap to eat them in Asia. The Sichuan cuisine does a lot of softshell turtles and also some countries like Singapore and Malaysia serve the turtle soup. They are a delicacy and also an acquired taste. I had seen my grandma cooked it when I was a child and it's quite a horrifying experience. However, it tastes awesome. I'm not exactly sure how exactly are they killed before they are cooked though. Probably knocked them out on the head! Or, it could just be as bad a case as the shark's fin! All I remembered was the turtle was thrown into a boiling pot of water! So, for those who keep them as pets, well, I'm sorry, this is not something for you!
Well, many people in Hong Kong are now boycotting this delicacy as the way of removing those fins are just too cruel for many to stomach. The Chinese in mainland China are not and when it comes to wedding dinners, the restaurants still serve them without fail. So, if you ask me, I've no idea how to reconcile that. What I am sure is the Chinese in China are still eating them as it's a delicacy that they can only afford in recent years. The argument is the same as those of polluting the environment. They think it's finally their turn and the world is telling them not to do so? Well, you must be kidding...
This dish is also served in Thailand and many parts of South East Asia.
Now, would you eat snake? I would. They are delicious especially in the winter. Served mostly as soup in Chinese restaurants in Toronto and Hong Kong. I haven't tried any in China but I'm sure there are many restaurants serving it too. In Thailand, snake is slit alive and its blood mixed with wine to be drank by the courageous. I tried it once when in my younger days. It simply taste like wine and one feels really hot after drinking it. Also, snake's blood is supposed to be great for one's skin!
There is also snake wine in which the snake is infused in a bottle of rice wine. It's a form of traditional Chinese medicine and can be found in Vietnam, China and many S.E.Asian countries. Some said it's the ancient Viagra!
Well, I know quite a few Americans who don't eat fish when it is served as a whole fish with its head intact. Why? You've to ask them. Some only eat fish fillet. I love my fish, regardless if it comes with fish head or not. But, fish head as a dish? Well, you'll only find this in Asia. In china, especially the Sichuan and Hunan (Xiang) cuisine, fish head is a common and popular dish. It's steamed with hot chillis, both the red and green type. Make sure you can take hot food before you even try this one. It can be super hot!
In South East Asia, Fish Head is often cooked in curry and is also highly popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Assam Fish Head is my favorite over in that part of the world!