When travelling through a foreign country, we should remember the three ways to experience a culture: sightseeing, shopping, and my personal favourite, eating. Now, we all have that one friend who will order a hamburger and chips where ever he goes, even if he must conjure it out of thin air. If you find yourself in this situation whilst travelling or working in China, you might consider chucking this dull-palleted friend and acquainting yourself with a worthy companion open to trying the strangest Chinese foods in existence. Here at LoveTEFL, we have compiled a list of the five strangest dishes because, who doesn’t love lists?
1. Hangzhou Beggar’s Chicken— A roast chicken wrapped in lotus leaves, you may be confused when this dish arrives at your table and though you expect food, all you see before you is a large ball of dirt on a plate. Then, as the curious foodie that you are, you start to poke and prod this large ball of dirt and after a bit of struggle, you find a whole chicken in the middle, marinated and stuffed. Have you ever eaten a whole chicken?
2. Balut eggs— If you can stomach the idea of eating a duck egg that has been fertilized for over two weeks, then balut eggs are for you! Although it is more commonly found on the streets of the Philippines, this “wrapped” egg often kept in a warm bucket of sand has its origins in China and is eaten simply with a sprinkle of salt.
3. Bugs on Sticks— They eat bugs on sticks. ‘Nuff said.
4. Snake Blood/Snake Wine— No vampires exist in China (or anywhere really, depending on your mythological beliefs), but some natives may occasionally have this gory alcoholic beverage with a close friend on a Friday night.
5. Penis Delicacies—Yes, you did read that correctly. Jaw dropped in disbelief? Thought to increase virility by the Chinese, you can find a large variety of dishes that contain animal penis throughout China. One might order the penis of a yak, dog, horse, or tiger, the most expensive animal penis of all sold at the price of £3,000.