August 24, 2008

Scorpion on a Stick? No Thank You

I used to say, and believe, that I would eat anything -- meaning I wasn't a picky eater. Then I moved to France.

My friend Ursula started to keep a running list of things I wouldn't eat, pointing out that I was much pickier than I admitted. But I think by American standards, I pretty much will eat anything. In France the list of things I will eat -- and like -- is longer than things I won't and don't. I do like snails and whelks and foie gras and gesiers (gizzards) and all kinds of stinky cheese. I do not care for tripe or kidney or pig's feet.

The phrase I'll eat anything takes on new meaning in a place like China, however. Popular items in the Beijing night snack food market Donghuamen are things like scorpion on a stick and fried cicadas. I can say in all confidence: Not gonna happen.

But I was reading an article in the English-language China Daily listing all the less-exotic treats available in the snack district, and I don't think I'll be eating them either. Some popular snacks are glutinous rice cakes, cheese juice, flour tea, pouch-shaped baked wheaten cake, water-boiled sheep head mutton and jellied bean curd. Pass, pass and pass.

I know that a lot of this is cultural; my French friend Isabelle thinks Jell-O and pumpkin pie are disgusting. But I've never really cared for Chinese sweets, and when they're translated like above, I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the tried and true.

Maybe Chinese people think deep-fried Twinkies on a stick are unpalatable, too.

1 comment:

ursula said...

Leah on food:

Nov. 24, 2001: “I’m not particular about food. I’ll eat anything.”

On bourbon balls, Dec. 10, 2001: “They’re too strong for me.”

Jan. 29, 2002 “I don’t drink vodka.”

Jan. 29, 2002 “I don’t drink bourbon either.”

Feb. 25, 2002, at Il Maestro: “I don’t like the texture of yogurt.”

March 28, 2002: “I don’t eat mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is disgusting! I can’t stand the texture.”

On the foods of childhood, March 28, 2002: “I used to gag on jello. It was like I was suffocating.”

Nov. 19, 2002: “I don’t like iced tea.”

Dec. 2, 2002: “I don’t like sweet potatoes.”

May 14, 2003: “Want my sundried tomatoes? It’s not the flavor. It’s not the texture. I just don’t like them.’’

May 26, 2003: Refuses to drink her fresh-peach & Champagne Bellini at Emporio Armani CafĂ© because “it tastes like vomit.”

October 10, 2003: “I don’t eat rabbit. It would be like eating my cat.”

October 11, 2003: “I don’t order scallops. They’re too rich.”

And you probably thought I wasn't still keeping this list. :)