Here are pictures of 10 foods/dishes/food customs that I have never seen in the US and probably will never see again. There is no English translation for these bad boys, so I have included the direct translations. Enjoy!
1. Name: 拐枣 “To kidnap Dates (the fruit)”
Flavor: Sweet, nutty fruit that is dried out. I would eat it all the time if I could. I ate these at a local teacher’s home along with rice wine the had been soaking in bees.
2. Name: 香椿 “Chinese Toon/Fragrant Toon”–I have no idea what a “toon” is
Flavor: Mustard meets wasabi meets mustard green. This is a local specialty in Liu He. They have been adding it to a lot of chilled cucumber dishes, and it is the bomb.
3. Name: “蛋黄鱿鱼”Yellow Egg (aka Yolk) Squid”
Description: WOWSAAA! The orange bits are actually leftover rice from the bottom of the rice cooker, cooked with dried red peppers, squid, and peanuts. I will probably never see squid and peanuts together again.
4. Name: 鸡爪 “Chicken Claw”
Description: BBQ a chicken foot until it is that black. Then, dip it into a glass of rice wine. Make sure that thing sizzles. Drink up! Result: long life and healthy joints.
5. Name: “纳西烤鱼”–Naxi Baked Fish
Description: Salty, spicy awesomeness from Lijiang. Yes, those are fermented beans on top. It is a Naxi Minority speciality.
6. Name: ”绿茶饼” “Green Tea Cake”
Description: I ate this in Hangzhou with my c0-fellows. It is made with rice, green tea, and sesame seeds. Thank God we each only got one, because I would have eaten the whole plate of these things. Nutty, sweet, and wholesome.
7. Name: 菌子-“Fungus”
Description: A lot of people in Liu He go foraging for these specific type of mushrooms. They usually stir fry them with pork, or if we are lucky, they will kill a chicken and cook it in a stew as pictured below.
8. Name: “生皮” “Raw Hide”
Description: This dish that appears to be vegan is actually mixed with pig face. Pig face, cilantro, white carrot, and vinegar, and lots and lots of salt. It appears at nearly every pig killing. It is actually amazing.
9. Name: “血蛤 ” “Bloody Clams”
Description: I ate this in RuiAn, a place that is known for it’s seafood. They are raw, and you just drink the blood straight out of them. Cold and refreshing—if you can get past the whole blood thing.
10. Name :“魔芋” “Devil Taro”
Description: A mix of different root vegetables. It has a jelly-like consistency. They often put it in soup or stir-fry.