Did you know that Westerners are some kind of barbarians in the eyes of a Chinese? Because how the heck can you eat fermented milk emulsion (read cheese), which stinks worse than a skunk? Of course, for them, it's very tasty to eat rats, dogs, cats. A Chinese folk speech says more or less that they can eat everything that has four legs, except tables; everything that flies, except for airplanes; and everything that is found on water, except boats.
1. In a Chinese market you will see from bats and snakes to cranes and herons (it is said that their meat prolongs life...how? That's a real scientific puzzle...), while in the western world most water birds are rejected because of the strong mud stench.
2. You may have heard that the tiger is menaced by the high demand of tiger penis bone on the Chinese black market. For the same people, the tiger penis bone is the symbol of the tiger's power, including the sexual one. Of course, it's like chewing chicken or pork bones, but the poachers are menacing the wild tigers because of such stupid beliefs.
3. But the Chinese imagination does not stop here, and for them, each penis in the world is like a panacea. Penises are thought to increase yang (virility) and women are not advised to eat testicles, due to the testosterone content.
There are specialized restaurants in penis delicacies. Some penises are served raw, like sushi, others can be cooked. You can serve dog clammy testicles and penis, which is gray and shiny. Dog penis is low in cholesterol and is considered to be quite efficient in boosting the male sex drive, but also for treating all sorts of conditions.
Giant salami-shaped donkey penises are considered good for the skin...The double penis of the snakes is considered to increase potency. Sliced and pickled ox penis, which has bland and with a rubbery texture, is considered a general energizer.
You can also eat in such a restaurant yak, seal, horse, goat and deer penises. Some westerners compare the tastes of some penises with overcooked squid. The black market delivers also the highly desired tiger penis, at a price of $5,700 (£3,000), but it must be ordered months in advance. It seems that it tastes the same as other penises, but many people in China just like to order tiger to show off, and prove they have quite a lot of money.
4. Aborted reindeer fetus is also considered good for the skin.
5. Sharks have pervaded the Earth for over 450 million years, before any plant or animal got out of the water and colonized the terrestrial surface. Now they face extinction due to a human caprice: Chinese fin shark soup.
Once, shark fin was a gift offered just to emperors and shark fin soup is traditionally served at Chinese wedding banquets and on different occasions when the host wants to leave a great impression on the guests with expensive dishes. With the growing number of wealthy Chinese businessmen, the number of this kind of ignorant hosts is increasing as well. Some also think it is healthy, but the fin is nothing more than tasteless cartilage, sought more for its texture, than for its flavor.
"Hammerhead, Great White and Basking sharks were some of the species at risk. Shark fin is becoming cheaper and eaten by a growing number of people in China - perhaps by around 100 million people a year.", signals a WildAid report.
A 2006 research showed that, annually, 73 million sharks are killed for their fins and the demand for shark fin soup grows with 5 % per year.
6. A Chinese delicacy is the bird's nest soup. It's made from the nest of a few species of swift, called cave swifts, renowned for building saliva nests. Such nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. When dissolved in water, the nests get a gelatinous texture. Yammy! Bird saliva!
In Hong Kong a bowl of this soup costs between US$ 30 to 100.
7. Perhaps the best known Chinese cuisine ingredient is the dog meat, as this seems to be the most repulsive for the westerners. Cats, too, are not for cuddling, but eating.
The problem is that carnivore meat has an extremely powerful flavor that makes it repellent for the westerners. The Chinese have no problem with that, and they will eat practically any known wild carnivore encountered in China.
This comes with a feed back: researchers have found that the SARS epidemics were caused by the consume of civet cats, and the virus was transmitted from them to humans. Civet cats are a type of carnivore not related with true cats but with mongooses, and from whose perianal glands the famous civet perfume is extracted.
8. Balut (boiled duck embryos) is better known from the Philippines, but it has a Chinese origin, where it is called maodan ("hairy egg"). Maodan is served skewered.
Fertilized duck eggs are left, on average, 17 days and then boiled. The nearly-developed embryo is consumed in the shell. Maodan is thought to be an aphrodisiac and it is in fact a high-protein, hearty snack. "The flavor is savory and delicious; the texture satisfying" said Western travelers who surpassed the idea of eating something with s**t and feathers...
Why is the maodan made from duck eggs and not from hen eggs? "Chicken maodan" has a bad taste, to say the least ... Question of tastes...
9. Neither the superstitions nor the good work made by bats in combating insects stop the Chinese from consuming bats, sometimes skinned alive. This has come with a feedback: bats too are among the causes of the SARS epidemic.
10. Well, in China Dracula could have indulged freely in ... snake blood, which is believed by Chinese to raise the libido...
You can drink it at fast-foods, and they deliver it in only seconds. But the show is really a horror movie. The snake curls and whips its body in agony as the handler slits open its chest and rips out a heart that continues working for several minutes. Then its body is stretched vertically and clamped at each end as droplets of red blood fall into a plastic jug half-filled with water.
I know that the Chinese cheese is made of soy, not milk, and it is called tofu. But I still prefer to call wine what comes from grapes, and not the infamous snake wine, an alcoholic beverage found not only in China, but in many Southeast Asia countries.
The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are preserved to have the snake poison dissolved in the liquor. Still, the venoms, which are proteins, are inactivated by ethanol.
There are two varieties. A large venomous snake can be put into a glass jar of rice wine, often with many smaller snakes, turtles, insects, or birds, and left to ferment for months. Snake blood wine is produced by mixing the snake blood and bile with rice wine or grain alcohol. The snake meat, liver, and skin can be cooked to accompany the drink. This wine is believed to cure all kinds of conditions, from farsightedness to hair loss, and helps increase the sexual performance. Of course, that's nonsense.