Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taste Buds Change Over Time

You know you have been living in China for a long time when you start buying little packages of pickled veggies like radishes to try something new because you are tired of all the things you have already tried like potato noodles, seaweed flavored chips, mung bean crackers, rice porridge with an assortment of beans, strange flavors that are all now old news.

On an airplane, I remember watching a man open one of the provided lunch packets of a pickled veggie and pushing out the contents into his mouth like a push up Popsicle. I was like okay so that is how you eat these veggies out of the package. You don't dump them onto the tray and pick them up with chopsticks. You just eat them directly out of the package. I was like cool. I opened it up, pushed the veggies to the package edge, popped them into my mouth and blah.... gross...completely foreign spices combined in a way that stung my tongue and burned their way down to my stomach.

I am extremely experienced at eating and enjoying strange foods. Popping in ram eyeballs and goat teeth from a stewed head was easy. Eating insects off a stick, piece of cake. Crunching on frogs heads and bellies, yummy. Slurping up kidney beans, strawberries, blueberries, and peas all mixed together with shaved ice covered with sweetened condensed milk, delicious. Pickled vegetables out of a package umm... not so easy.

But here I am sitting with a bowl of rice covered with canned fried dace with salted black beans and pickled radish out of a package. It is my dinner.

The fried fish with its edible bones is nothing new. I learned how to eat that from my roommate back in Seattle, never thought it was something you could actually buy in China. Sometimes Asian products in American Asian stores I think, umm.... maybe that is an American Chinese food. Nope canned dace is actually Chinese food found in Chinese supermarkets.

The packaged pickled radish is surprisingly yummy. I wonder if is healthy.

I do believe my taste buds have changed, have changed into Chinese taste buds leaving my desire for American flavors forgotten. What does cheese taste like? Real ice cream made out of cream? Hamburgers? Lasagna? Macaroni and cheese? A beef steak?

No thank you. I'll take rice covered with pickled vegetables.


M said...

hahahah I'll leave you the ice cream, the burgers, lasagna, mac and cheese and other beef steak. But I'll definitively keep the cheese!
When I first came my challenge was to buy one weird packaged thing a week (like, packaged chicken feet and all those strange looking ones). Well, I turned out to be a chiken.... oh well.

Lien said...

That canned fried dace stuff is awesome! I can only find it intermittently here, which sucks. Also, it's crazy expensive.

Dr. Jen said...

It is expensive here too. In a place where you can get a meal for 4 RMB, buying a 10 RMB ($1.50) can of fried fish is a luxury item.