Prior to my 2006 trip to China, I thought I was open-minded to different types of food. I had dined on alligator, turtle, and snails. That’s kinda crazy, right??? I thought so until the fall of '06.
I spent eight days at an orphanage in Jinjiang China in the Southern Province of Fijian. Who would have know 8 days, would change my life in more ways than one? :)
The people of Southern China were amazing, generous, and hospitable. I was exposed to many unique (and scary) foods. Let me start by saying, I’ve NEVER been a picky eater. My parents didn’t allow it. At the age of 11, I had my first bite of escargot (snail). I LOVED escargot; as did my younger sister and younger brother. My parents are both from Louisiana; some of my very first bites of “table food” were Cajun, seafood dishes.
Side Note… Picky eaters kinda drive me crazy. Okay, I don’t really love Chinese food but if I’m in China or with friends and everyone wants Chinese; I can find something on the menu I’ll eat. Don’t most menus have the basics~ chicken, salad, burgers, or soup? Put your big girl panties on and pick something from the menu you’ll eat. Sorry but seriously...
Our first night in Jinjiang we were served dishes like… lotus root from the lotus flower, fish belly soup, and sea worms. Did I want to eat it? Not really but the Chinese were so proud of their dishes and so excited to serve us. It would’ve been rude not to eat what had been prepared.
Lotus Root tastes exactly how you would think a plant or flower would taste... strange, bitter, and plant-ish. In high school, someone dared me to eat a rose petal. Unfortunately, I was stupid and did it. It was terrible. The lotus root reminded me of the rose petal. Anyone know what I’m talking about? I really hope not.
The Fish Belly Soup was slimy and salty. I LOVE me some salt... so the Fish Belly Soup was tolerable. A large pot was brought to the table. It looked similar to chicken broth. A large slimy blob was floating in the middle. Somehow they managed to break fish belly apart and we were each served. The broth had a good flavor. It was okay.
The Sea Worms were awful, possibly the worst thing I’ve ever put into my mouth. In Southern China, Sea Worms are a delicacy. The worms were PUT on my plate by a lady serving us! I remember cutting it in half with my knife. I bit into the worm, chewed it, swallowed, and chased it down with Coca-Cola Classic. The Chinese think Americans love Coca-Cola Classic and at times it was brought to our table, even though we did not order it. I do NOT like Coca-Cola Classic but I had no choice. I remember looking across the table at my friend, Carrie. She was gagging and had to run to the restroom. Sorry Carrie. After Carrie, I ran to the restroom with a terrible nose bleed. The evening was priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When I returned home my brother asked me about the food in China. I told him about our first night in Jinjiang. He said it sounded like an episode of Fear Factor. Ha!
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten???