Monday, June 04, 2007


I pride myself on being able to eat everything. I've tried live squid, lung, grilled intestines, chicken feet (the little ones AND the big claws; you can also pick your teeth with the nail), snails, alligator, etc. Nothing gets you closer to a people then being able sit down and share a beer over bowls of whatever the local flavor is. Except for insects, I have never backed down from a meal.....until I came to Hong Kong.

At first, I wasn't all that daunted. I had the obligatory dinner where the locals try to get you to try stuff. Noodles with octopus ink? Give me seconds. Chicken feet? A good swig of beer will help that down. While I am admittedly not a fan of chicken feet, I can still handle it and I wasn't fazed.

After living here for awhile, I start noticing things. At the supermarket, they were selling live turtles. That in itself didn't bother me as turtle soup and turtle shell are considered pretty good. I've even had jelly made from turtle shells. What bugged me was the live toads I saw in the next bin. Now some of you will probably say that eating frogs is quite common and is a delicacy in France. However, if, like me, you think frogs and toads are pretty similar, one look of these nasty critters and you will see that they are worlds apart. While frogs are small, cute, (usually) green, and give you warm nostalgic feelings from when you were young playing along with Kermit on TV, toads are big, ugly, warty creatures who's appearance justifies their place among the ten plagues of Egypt. Looking at these things, I couldn't help but think of Chet's demise in "Weird Science". Anyways, looking at these slimy gobs of nastiness jumping and climbing over each other and imagining them stewed on someones plate, I felt a new sensation. My stomache was churning.

However, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I met my biggest challenge. Some friends invited me out for some hot pot. Among the ingredients, chicken testicles. I'm not one to back down from a fight, but there was no way I could handle chicken nuts. I've had chicken hearts before and these nuts were easily two or three times bigger. I'm not a chicken expert or anyting, but the chicken could be the one animal in the world who's nuts are bigger than their hearts. Those things were almost as big as mine and, not to brag, I'm the proud owner of pretty impressive pair.

Anyways, any delusions of grandeur I may have had about my ability to stomache anything have been shattered. Hong Kong has humbled me.


Anonymous said...

no bugs? no toads?? no chicken testes???

come on man...and you call yourself, "international"...


Man of the Awa said...

international? i don't think i've ever used that word and my name in the same sentence. sounds tacky. reminds me of that snl skit with christopher walken being 'the continental'. anyways, if being international means bugs, toads, and chicken nuts, then be my guest, my friend. :) i don't see myself getting near that stuff unless i was totally wasted or starving (i don't mean hungry. i mean sponsor a child for 10 cents a day sally struthers christian children's fund starving).

xiaohu said...

lol, it's a joke among chinese that say that cantonese people eat everything that flies except airplanes, and everything that has four legs except tables." (okay so the p.c. nature of this joke can be disputed)

how are you liking hongkong? i'm considering moving there for about a year or so until i figure my life out and continue onto grad school. i grew up speaking cantonese (first generation abc) and am currently learning mandarin (they don't offer canto at my university).

nice blog; it's interesting. i happened to find it while googling 'interesting cantonese' by susanna ng. i picked this up when i was in hkia the other day; how is it? i'm about to embark on re-hashing my cantonese, haha

Man of the Awa said...

i really enjoy hk. good people and good fun without all the xenophobia or nationalism in other countries. At least not blatantly. I'm sure you'd love your time in HK. Actually, I haven't gotten around to "Interesting Cantonese" yet. To be honest, I've been slacking on my Cantonese. But I did flip thru it. It's a decent sized book, but it is less of a textbook and more of a collection of phrase/vocabulary lists. I'm sure someone could pick it up and learn a lot, but it might be better for someone with some experience with Cantonese so that they know how to piece it all together.

lilo said...

I didn't know chickens even HAD testicles. You should have eaten and reviewed them :-D