You’ve heard a million times that everything from snake to turtle tastes like chicken. Trust me, after living in Asia for ten years, the only thing that tastes like chicken is chicken. Even chicken feet—a popular snack, tastes more like a doggy chewy toy than a McNugget. Pig Organ Soup doesn’t translate into a Campbells Chunky Style Anything.
Monkey—while I have never indulged—does not taste anything like our feathered friend. According to my uncle who was a missionary in Africa, the taste of monkey meat is so repulsive, he would trade twenty-five primates for one bucket of KFC.
But I don’t live in Africa, but a quaint village of six million in Yunnan China, where every day is an adventure for the nose and taste buds. So, if you are interested in what these Asian food items taste like but do not want to sit on a plane for 15 hours to tease your taste-buds, just view the chart below. It’s for entertainment purposes only. Don’t eat a stick of Renuzit.
Or, if you are interested in a taste of civet coffee, AKA crappuccino, I recommend getting a taste of my new book.
|ASIAN FOOD ITEM||DESCRIPTION||THE EQUIVALENT TASTE|
|Durian||A spiky football shaped fruit filled with slippery yellow pods of flesh. Know for its pungent smell, this fruit is often banned from flights and hotels in Thailand.||Mix one ripe avocado with a ¼ cup marshmallow fluff and a pinch of onion salt. Duacaomole!|
|Chicken Feet||A common snack in China sometimes BBQed or pickled.||Dip your doggy’s chewy toy into Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. Hide under your couch.|
|Congealed Blood Soup||This popular ethnic dish is often found floating in soup. It resembles rusty chunks of yogurt.||Try making a packet of plain gelatin using dill pickle juice instead of water.|
|Jack Fruit||Often thought of as baby Durian, jack fruit are tiny pods of bright yellow fruit with almond size seeds plucked out of a water-melon sized pod that resembles a spiked dinosaur egg. I know, it’s not a dinosaur egg but that’s what it looks like.||Jack fruit has the slippery texture of a banana peel topped with the taste of laffy taffy, so it’s easy to recreate the taste sensation by eating the combo together. Yummy!|
|Pig Ear||If you go a Pig Part Cart or street deli, Pig Ear is a popular item. It is often slicked noodle thin.||Tastes like the chewy rind of Boars Head Salami, smells like it, too.|
|Bug Larva||These golden larva are a popular treat in Yunnan. Crunchy on the outside and spongy in the middle, you’ll want to pluck out the vein before you eat them (just like a shrimp).||Make a mini-sandwich of overly roasted pumpkin seeds on a communion size portion of wonder bread.|
|Meal Worms||These deep fried worms look like French’s Roasted Onions on your Thanksgiving Green Been Casserole.||Not a big fan. Just eat what you find in a grease trap.|
|Turtle Soup||A popular ingredient for a soup at weddings as turtles are good luck (that is for everyone but the turtle)||Chewy. A lot like a can of mushrooms that are close to the expiration date.|
|Rose Pedal Mooncakes||Mooncakes (imagine a hockey puck made out of pie crust) are often filled with local specialties. Yunnan fills them a sweet rose leaf filing.||Imagine replacing the strawberry innards of plain pop tart with the mystery jell from the Renuzit air freshener cone in your Grandma’s bathroom. Don’t try it, just imagine it.
|Baijiu (Chinese rice alcohol)||This potent libation is popular at weddings and other celebratory events. Served in thimble sized glasses. May cause watering of the eyes or hangover of epic proportions.||Fill a thimble with a bit of paint thinner. Don’t try it.|
|Goose Egg pancakes||OK. I thought one big goose egg would be the same as three eggs in my waffle/pancake recipes. Wrongo!||Replace the Log Cabin Syrup for a cup of chicken fat on your next short stack|
|Chengdu Duck Intestine Hot Pot
|Hot Pot in Chinese Fondue where you play “I Double Dog Dare You” with food by dipping oddities into bubbly peppered oil. Duck intestines (among other innards) is a popular hot pop item.||Buy an extra-long piece of calamari. Infuse it with enough pepper to singe your nostril hairs. Overcook it until rubbery.
Duck intestines are a popular ingredient in a Chengdu style hot pot. Looks like a shoe string, doesn’t it?
Bug Larva are a popular snack item with kids. Just remember to devein them.