10 strangest foods in China

Posted on August 27, 2012


There are lots of strange things to eat in China.

Before moving out here, I read Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuschia Dunlop and, whilst I have no real desire to eat the former, I’ll confess something of an addiction to Sichuan pepper already – a lip-numbing, fragrant pepper that I hadn’t come across back in the UK.

That book certainly prepared me to an extent for the “mouth feel” of foods such as black fungus (no thanks) but it also whet the appetite for some great dishes and, of those, there have been many.  If I had to choose but a few the variations on green beans with Sichuan pepper (gan bian dou jiao) and fish fragrant aubergine (actually, almost any kind of aubergine dish) would be front runners – along with the hitherto mentioned Roger Moores!

But it’s the more off-piste dishes that rouse the curiosity – so, in no particular order, the top ten strangest/least appetising dishes in restaurants where I have been eating are:

  • Cartilage and tendon stew
  • Sichuan saliva chicken – turned out to mean “mouth-watering” (kou shui)
  • Fermented bean porridge – as revolting and smelly as it sounds…
  • Duck tongues – actually, these are pretty common
  • Usually assorted braises the vegetable
  • Does the pot pigs intestines
  • Donkey penis in a bun – a kind of hot dog
  • Spicy scorpion on a stick
  • Fragrant edible silkworm faeces!

And, perhaps my favourite:

  • The elbow spends the sauce incense

Right, time for some Eggs Benedict and Pimms I think.