Weird Chinese Eats or Nutritional Medicine?
The world eats a wide variety of food and sometimes they are strange to someone. The Chinese definitely have their share! When you have over 5,000 years in history, one can only imagine the variety of things the Chinese picked up along the way that are considered edible or delicacies. Even more so when the country has seen its episodic moments of famine in history and relied on non-traditional sources for protein and nutrients in order to survive. Sometimes a trip into a Chinese supermarket or even a traditional medicine store in the "Asian" parts of town is an experience to be remembered.
Here are a few of the examples of strange Chinese eats as featured in The Beijing Family book series:
What the heck is a grass jelly drink? Grass like in the green stuff that grows on lawns? And now it's in jelly form for a drink? Oh heck no! Actually grass jelly is made from boiling aged and slightly oxidized grass, but it's the stalks and leaves of Mesona Chinesis, a member of the mint family. It is rich in calcium and fiber. Grass jelly relieves heartburn, constipation, abdominal bleeding and diarrhea. After cooling the liquid to a jelly-like black consistency, this jelly can be cut into cubes or other forms and mixed with sugar or syrup to make drinks or dessert.
In Book 1 of The Beijing Family, the elderly Grandma Moh makes traditional Chinese medicinal tea made from ox penis!
Ox penis sold in a local street market
In traditional Chinese medicine, ox penis is believed to increase one's virility, energy and sexual prowess. Chinese athletes have been known to eat deer penis to heal injuries and other ailments. In Jamaica, cow cod soup stewed with vegetables is considered an aphrodisiac. In America, rocky mountain oysters are bull’s balls – battered and deep fried.
Is it strange to eat such things or is it nutritional medicine? Do the Chinese prevail in these bizarre eats and why?
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Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Gina!
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