The weird and wonderful: foods the Chinese love to eat
Last weekend marked Chinese New Year – a huge celebration not only in China but right here in London too. Many of us celebrated with a classic sweet-and-sour dish or chow mein from our usual takeaway or restaurant, but why not explore further and try something a little more exotic? Here’s our pick of some of China’s most unusual food offerings.
A fixture in every animated-underwater movie, these little guys can also be found fried and on skewers on street stalls all over China (sorry kids). Apparently they’re not only tasty but are also used in Chinese medicine as a remedy for impotence.
2. Shark Fin Soup
This one is quite controversial, considering the effect killing sharks for this delicacy is having on the food chain. Less market snack and more wedding banquet, this dish is often served at special occasion. Yum.
3. 1000-year-old Eggs
These aren’t actually 1000 years old, but with the stench they give out (so I’m told) they may as well be. These duck or quail eggs are buried in a mixture of sand, clay and salt for a few months and the result is a black jelly-like egg with a gooey green yolk.
4. Birds Nest Soup
Another soup, this time made from the saliva of a swiftlet (a bird) mixed in with chicken broth for good measure. It’s known as Birds Nest Soup as the saliva is harvested from the swiftlet’s home, made of their own spit, once they’ve quite literally flown the nest.
5. Chicken Feet
Definitely not something you’d find in your KFC Bargain Bucket, chicken feet are pretty popular in Chinese culture. There’s not much meat on them, as you can imagine, so the pleasure comes from sucking the bones dry of all the spices and flavour they heap on to them. Close your eyes and they’re delicious.
Photos: Ginny Freeman (1), Chee Hong (2), Kowloonese (3), Stu Spivack (4) and Anna Frodesiak (5)