Friday, August 22, 2008

Bengali in Beijing - Eating out

One of the big incentives of the Beijing visit was the possibility that there would be snakes and other exotic animals to eat. And the place to go to, unless you have a lot of time and can really explore the options, is Wang Fu Jing (pronounced 'Ching'). The equivalent of Lahore's Food Street, it's a long line of thelas that have every conceivable edible animal. They say that if an animal doesn't find mention on the menu here, it has never been eaten. So there are snakes, scorpions, various kinds of worms, locusts, sea urchins, sea horses...the list is endless. The Dog Liver has been taken off the menu keeping in mind the sensibilities of the millions of tourists.

Momos being made at Wang Fu Jin. Choose your stuffing - this one's a pork and cabbage option.

Bengalis surveying. My old friend Gonchoo, whose scooter I wrecked back in 2000 along with part of my face, has been in Beijing for 8 years now. Studying first. Then working. Currently with Ogilvy PR. A pro as far as the Chinese language is concerned as well as the lanes and bylanes of Beijing. Also someone who has spent enough time eating most everything China serves up.

Me and the snake. Have been scared of them forever, but when skinned and ready to be grilled, they don't look as scary or creepy. Small snakes of course, not a cobra or a black mamba or something... This one will be chopped into pieces now, skewered, and grilled. Then it will be eaten. By me. Quite crunchy. A bit like fish, but the texture is totally different.

Random shot of the place. I ate a lot of other stuff, including a bit of the more mundane beef and stuff...couldn't quite bring myself to try the lizard, but tried almost everything else. And most everything was highly palatable. Except the swallows stuffed with pumpkin they served up. Yuck!