Archive for the ‘eating crow’ Category

The Tet New Year, Cuisine, China and Vietnam

January 25, 2008

As we get closer to the new year or Tet I always collect stories about culture and food so if you have any please send them in!

Lunar New Year will be upon us soon!

Because we are entering the Year of the Rat we decided at Peace and Freedom to ask folks about some of their best rat (and Tet) stories.  Several people spoke fondly about eating rat and the consensus us that “the best rat is rice-fed rats.”  In places like Vietnam and China rats share their homes with the rice fields and eat plenty of the succulent grain.  Unlike many “city rats” the rice-fed animals are chubby, tasty and disease free!

Another group of stories includes stories of wild pigs.

A friend in Texas told me the other day he would spend the weekend hunting wild pigs with a rifle.  That same day, a former U.S. Army Ranger told me he hunted pigs with dogs and didn’t use firearms to prevent accidentally killing a dog.  The Ranger jumps on the cornered pigs and KNIFES them!

I told the story of the Ranger hunting with dogs to a Vietnamese man who said, “The best way is to use the dogs and the gun.  Then kill the dogs!  They taste better than pigs!” 

Above: A Saigon food vendor.
At our first Tet event this year my wife and I each had a bowl of Chao Long, or innards with rice porridge. This is a delicious Saigon street favorite.

We passed on the Tiet Canh, which is traditional blood soup. It’s normally made with duck’s blood (tiet canh vit) or sometimes with pig’s blood (tiet canh heo).

Vietnam Seizes Snakes

January 25, 2008

Customs officials in Vietnam have discovered a ton of live snakes on a plane.

The illegal cargo, on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, was hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked “fresh fish”.

“Who knows what would have happened if they had broken out and crawled around the plane when it was flying?” said Dao Van Lien, head of customs at Hanoi airport.

“It’s an amazing number of snakes,” Mr Lien added, explaining that there were too many for his staff to count.

The non-venomous rat snakes may have been destined for restaurant kitchens in China or Vietnam, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Many died on the journey but the survivors are now at the Wild Animal Rescue Centre, near Hanoi.

Slaughtered rats are grilled at Dinh Bang village, 20 km (12.5 ... 
Slaughtered rats are grilled at Dinh Bang village, 20 km (12.5 miles) outside Hanoi, January 24, 2008. People of Dinh Bang village eat rats as well as other kinds of meat from animals such as pigs, cows, chickens or rabbits. One kilogram of slaughtered rats costs 50,000 dong. ($3.10).

I Have Eaten A Pack of Dogs and a Flock of Crow But “Hold the Penis”

October 20, 2007

By John E. Carey
October 29, 2006
Republished October 20, 2007
In Honor of Ellen and her Dog

Since I lived in China I have eaten dog. But because I am a man, and a foolish one at that, I have eaten even more crow!In China, my hosts took me to a very fine restaurant for a celebration. We had egg drop soup, lots of rice, some wonderful Chinese beer. And during the meat course, one of my hosts announced that this is the best dog he ever had.I felt like I had “Lassie” on my plate. But only for a moment.

I had been inside China in a place where I was virtually the only (and the lonely) American for about two months when I realized, as the Chinese say, “I need to find my happy.” One of my Chinese friends actually said to me, “You lose your happy?”

So I did as I had done before in strange places, I set out to discover that they were wonderful.

My father taught me that, “Often in a new place or situation you’ll be terrified. When you get that feeling, dive in even further. Go native. Give up your inhibitions.”

Find your happy.

So that night, as I sliced and ate my Lassie, I asked a question about Chinese culture. Or two.

The first question was, “What kind of dog is the best dog?”

A gigantic discussion ensued among the Chinese. Every man had an opinion on his favorite dog. I figured I’d get an answer like, “The best dog is a poodle, grilled.” Or maybe “I like basset hound, stuffed with rice and baked.”

I didn’t get any answers like that.

The Most Honored Host proclaimed, “The best dog to eat is black dog.”

That’ll do-er.

Then I was fool enough to ask, “What is the strangest thing eaten in China?”

Well, who from China can tell? Nothing is strange to THEM. So I had to ask all kinds of probing questions about the various dishes and side dishes of Chinese cuisine.

I almost choked when one of my hosts raved about all the different kinds of Penis her Mom used to serve up. Ox penis, horse penis. “It make you strong,” she said.Yikes!And they cook penis all kinds of ways. I kid you not.My Vietnamese wife said she used to like it but you “can’t get good penis in America.”

A lot of women say that.

Recently the famed British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) sent the very stiff upper lip reporter Andrew Harding to the best little penis emporium in Beijing. No fooling.

I’ve been there and the food is great.

But DO NOT go there until you have reached the “dive right in phase.”

And still, I can’t wait until I run into Harding and ask him, “Andrew, in Beijing, how was the penis?”

I digress.

The moral of this story is this: when living in a culture clash: dive right in.

I have now been with my Vietnamese wife so long that I will eat things out of the refrigerator without knowing what they are.

One morning I said to her, “That was great SPAM in the refrigerator. I ate it last night.”

She said there wasn’t any SPAM in the refrigerator. I decided not to ask what was missing.

One night I actually woke up at midnight and ate something in a plastic container even though I had no idea what it was. I didn’t care. Hunger, and diving right in, can do that to a man.

Now about eating crow.

I’ve learned that when you screw up: admit it.  So I eat crow. I’ve eaten crow before. I apologize and move on.  I send an email, make a call. And I sometimes apologize in public on web sites.  Just eat the crow and be done with it.

Now for Ellen’s repossessed dog: we have no tears.  But we do have a good gravy recipe!

Memo to Ellen: In ¼ of the World People Eat Dogs