Here are my two latest pieces on China, in where I eat sea worm jelly, shark balls, and feature a bunch of insects.
Snapshots from China: The Best Things I Ate in Xiamen [Serious Eats]
Located in the Fujian province of China, Xiamen is a southern port city with an inventory of dishes that are heavy on seafood and strikingly similar to the cuisine of neighboring Taiwan. From sea worm jellies to shark ball soup, there was never a meal that wasn’t worth photographing during my two week visit. I stayed on the idyllic island of Gulangyu, located off the coast of the main city. And with a host family adamant on making sure I tried everything, my trip was filled with locally-sourced seafood, huge family-style dinners, and wonderfully cheap snacks from nearby street vendors. The cooking style at Xiamen puts an emphasis on fresh and sweet flavors. A lot of the selections are unique to the city and can’t be found anywhere else.
Bugging out: 5 extreme foods at Beijing’s night market [CNNGo] When I saw the words “night market” on the Beijing city map, my stomach rumbled at the thought of vendors with assorted dumplings and classic Chinese sweets. But when I arrived at Donghuamen Night Market (北京东华门夜市), a street food landmark in Beijing, the plates were heaped with bugs and unconventional animal parts. The 200-meter-long food street has been around since 1984 and is a hot spot for daring foodies. Sure, there’s the tame candied fruit, lamb kebabs and stuffed buns, but the other end of the spectrum is rather more challenging.With a selection ranging from scorpions to sea horses, the market carries one of the world’s most bizarre food selections.
I hated Beijing. After spending considerable amounts of time in Shanghai, perhaps the most metropolitan city in mainland China, Beijing was just a sad downgrade. Horrible pollution, rude taxi drivers and an elitist attitude all around.
The saving grace was the food. Now anyone who has spent considerable time in China knows that Beijing is known for their Peking duck. Though we did have our fair indulgence of duck, it was the street food that stood out.
Beijing’s Donghuamen Street is one of the most popularized places for weird street foods, and of course, I had to check it out. Since the Olympics, they’ve really had to clean up their act, but it’s become a huge tourist attraction. It’s got nothing on Taiwan in terms of offerings and the set-up really isn’t impressive at all. It’s just a long line of stalls with identical menus. But what makes Donghuamen stand out is the weird factor.
Now I have a running photo archive of the weirdest offerings here. Will be posting a few each week. Here we have sheep penis, silkworm, and scorpions. All edible.