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You ate what in China?

28 May 2013


As a child I was a picky eater, I’m sure a lot of us were.  I have memories of sitting at the table for hours after everyone else had already eaten dessert and gone odd to watch TV...  all because I was too stubborn to eat that last Brussel Sprout!

Eventually, most of us tend to develop a taste for many of those foods we hated as a child and now I'm quite adventurous with what I eat, especially when travelling.  I've now eaten everything from dried chilli crickets in the markets in Oaxaca to regular meals of Flaki (Polish beef tripe) when I was living in Poland.  I was pretty excited about the prospect of some new dishes when I set off on a week-long trip to China with Acrossia and Air New Zealand and it turns out I was not to be disappointed.

As special guests we were treated like Royalty at every hotel and each night we were guests at a Chinese Banquet in a private room with hotel management.  I was initially disappointed with the blandness of the Chinese food we were being served as it seemed to be mostly stir fry rice and sweet and sour pork.  It turns out our hosts were hesitant to feed us 'real' Chinese food as they were conscious they might upset our delicate Western palates:(  After a quiet word from one of our hosts, one night the food started to get more adventurous, yay!

Smugly I was quite proud that I was eating all of the wonderful Chinese cuisine nightly, from chewy salty jellyfish, to equally chewy and salty duck tongue.  I was enjoying the thrill of the new dishes they would bring to the table as much as I was enjoying the conversation and education about a culture so foreign from my own.  (I was also beginning to become quite proficient in my use of chopsticks).

Needless to say, I was not prepared when I was served the one and only dish I could not stomach.  Towards the end of an enjoyable evening, just following the sea snails, came a beautifully presented dish of thick brown gravy.  Floating right in the middle was a jelly like slice of something slimy.  I heard the word “sea slug” whispered from across the table and my stomach turned.  All I could think about was watching the locals on the beach in Rarotonga picking them up alive, cutting the entrails out and eating them.

Turns out that I do have a limit.


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