Hello.. I haven’t written here for a hot minute lol! Also, can people please use the slang ‘minute’ to mean a long period of time in NZ please?? I think it’s so funny, and I’ve heard it said back to me for the first time today when I was getting lunch- I’ve just been in Thailand and China for two weeks, and the Pita Pit guy said “I haven’t seen you around for a minute”. I loved it! Also, I don’t think anyone in my life understands when I complain that I haven’t done something for a “minute”. Now at least I know Pita pit man does!
Also, I don’t get Pita Pit that much, I’ve only had it twice, now three times in my life.
But on this tangent, yes, I went to Thailand and China for 2 weeks! And what I find one of the most interesting things about travelling, and life, is food. One of my first questions when someone comes back from travelling is “how was the food?”. Always. And if they’ve had a date. Or a function. Or any occasion or event that might have the possibility of food (and what sort of occasion or event is worth going to if there is no food).
Let’s get the obvious out of the way:
How was Thailand- I went on a Chinese tour with my family and my extended family- I had 5 uncles/aunts on the same tour and also 1 other cousin, so the whole tour was in Chinese and we did things that Chinese tourists might like. So although it was eye opening and Thailand is beautiful, we didn’t do things that Kiwis, i.e. me and my brothers, would like. We wanted to be exploring markets, hopping on dodgy scooters, getting food poisoning from road side stalls, loading up on fake Supreme tshirts and getting drunk with other expats. Instead we got carted to tourist destinations FULL of Chinese people, ate disgusting but not food poisoned Chinese food for every meal (I don’t think Thai people can cook Chinese food very well) and went to stores like “the biggest jewellery store in the world” and Chinese herbal medicine shops.
I loved the temples (can I emphasise this- I LOVE TEMPLES) and the dogs that roamed around the street, they always were wagging their tails and looked friendly. Also loved Thai massages and 7/11. I’ve always been scared to get massages in NZ because $$, weird people touching me, and also people press too hard. But I didn’t expect Thai massages to be too harrowing, and I was correct! They nicely massaged me. I went to 2 places, and on the second they turned off the lights, made me lie down and the only light was from the red ‘open’ sign. Then they made me strip to my undies. This sounds like it’s going to lead to a porno, and when I was lying there I was thinking “I can pretend I am in the red light district”. But yup. Got my tits out in a Thai massage parlour in Thailand and it’s the most “public” place I’ve ever done that.
Visited the Royal Temple in Bangkok, Thailand
Tom Yum soup and curry crab, the highlights and the only Thai food we had. Also the saddest hot pot with no flavour broth
How was China- extremely cold. So so cold. I started to wear stockings and jeans at the same time since I was freezing and I was still cold, plus I got holes in the toes of my stockings and socks. I was extremely cold at night. Very cold in the day. I had to resist the urge to pitch tantrums when we walked and wouldn’t catch a taxi. I normally don’t have to resist tantrums in my life, but I was pretty fucking cold. I stayed at my grandparents house and it was nice to see my cousins.
The food in China was great- loved strong, bold Cantonese flavours that was severely missing in Thailand.
Love me some Canto food! Middle is this delicious roll with deep fried bread and meat!
I am not a picky eater but what I wanted to write about today was foods that I won’t eat that is found in Asian cuisine. I don’t really appreciate a picky eater, and I am a strong advocate of trying things, even if you don’t like them as the chef may have cooked it in a way that might be great. I am all about respecting food, and respecting the culture and work that it took to prepare that dish. Now I’m getting emotional about food. But there are some foods in Asian culture that I just can’t stomach (pun!!??) and of course, each food has it’s own story… Here we go:
– Animal blood
If you didn’t already know, Asians can use animal blood to cook. They sometimes use it in soups, but most of the time blood forms this clump that sort of looks like beetroot coloured tofu when cooked. I tried it for the first time in a Chinese buffet in Thailand where cut up pieces of this blood were stirfried and it was a hard NOPE from me. Not only because of the texture (slightly tougher tofu) and the taste of like, cooked animal but because it gave me a flashback of when I saw how pigs blood was made.
I know. How could I witness how pigs blood is made, its made in a pig. I don’t mean logistically. I was in China in 2013, and I nearly went veggie after the sight. I went to a fresh market. Chinese people really value freshness, so they like seeing all their vegetables in non commercialised environments, they like picking out which live chicken, sheep or fish looks the healthiest. After all, fresh food makes the best food because of the quality of ingredient. I get massive carnivore guilt in fresh Chinese markets at the sight of a man fishing out a chicken from a cage as the entire cage squawks their heads off and the beady eyes of chickens watching their little mate get beheaded. I focus on them rather than the actual chicken getting chopped up because that is just… horrifying for me. The chicken crying is already enough. And I know it sounds cruel, but all the chickens in fresh markets are fat and have all their feathers i.e. weren’t kept in a battery farm like most Western chickens, so in theory they had a happier life. But the whole process is pretty heartbreaking.
Well, another sight I can never forget in my life was this intact pig head hanging from a clothesline like string in a butchers, with a big silver bowl underneath filled with… you guessed it… blood. And the pig head was dripping into it, and there was already this blood sponge like thing in the bowl. The smell of fresh meat (probably not even from the blood) which I HATE was everywhere and in my mind it was radiating from this bowl. I asked my mum what it was, and she said that they were collecting the blood as people buy it. And I was like “ew. Huh.”
Fast forward and I watch some videos where people try animal blood, and they don’t seem to fussed about it/they don’t mind the taste. For instance, this Simon and Martina video about Korean hangover soup and my new obsession Strictly Dumpling who goes to Vietnam and tries the duck blood soup.
And I was like “if two white people can eat it surely I can”.
So I took some stir fried pigs blood with some vegetable I can’t even remember now and when I had it it was like a bit too tough to be entirely squishy but still quite squishy heady pigs essence. And my face was like -___________________________________________________- when I remembered the dripping pigs head. It didn’t even taste too bad, but the memory made it taste disgusting.
No more animals blood. Now and forever.
– Animal heads. In particular bird heads.
Chicken, goose and even pigeon heads are normally on display on the plate when it’s served up, as Chinese people want to ‘prove’ how good the meat is (i.e. head shows bird was in good condition)… or so I assume). But relating to the above, I get major guilt from looking at their dead heads. I know that I should feel just as guilty eating a chicken nugget as a drumstick with the head of it’s owner on the plate, but I’m going to say something that other people say that pisses me off to no end: its easier to pretend it wasn’t alive when I can’t see it’s head. Most people I’ve encountered say this about bones or tendons and I don’t like hearing it because it’s like denying the truth. So I feel like such a hypocrite admitting that this gets me squeamish and yet I continue eating meat like a champ when I am not confronted with it’s life. Except for fish and seafood. I am desensitized to fish and seafood heads.
Spot the head!