Tuesday, January 26, 2010
China July 2009 - Cuisine
Lots of unusual food items to sample-- - - some, like scorpions-on-a-stick, not for the faint of heart. We did try the famous birds' nest soup one night. It's made with what appears to be a fine, flavorless glass noodle, and given your choice of spices - in our case, we selected a sweet coconut. The 'noodles' are actually bird spittle from some avian species that is able to fabricate their own substance - like a spider - to construct nests that can attach to rock/cave walls (as I understood the description.) The soup was a lightly sweet coconut & cinnamon flavor - quite nice.
There is a lot of very fresh options: approve the fish, it arrives prepared!
There is a subterranean mall at our hotel that includes a variety of restaurants, cinema and supermarket. The market features everything from beautiful little cakes to wrapped lychees to a package of gorgeous brown "century eggs" - we remembered these from that "Bizarre Foods" travel show.
From Wikipedia: Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and thousand-year-old egg, is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavor or taste. The transforming agent in the century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of the egg from around 9 to 12 or more. This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavourful compounds. We were not as adventurous as Andrew Zimmerman....
at 7:39 AM