Posts tagged ‘food’

There Goes Bambi…

As I left the house this morning to get food at the supermarket, a frightful sight greeted me.

Just outside my door was a decapitated deer hung-up on a hook. Its attendants must have been busy selling parts of it early in the morning, as there was not much left of this poor deer aside from its bloodied head and hoofs.

As my kids and I looked on, I thought to myself…”Wow! This is not something I’d see too often back home…” It also reminded me of the time a few months ago when I had to dispose of our rabbit that had unfortunately died at home. Minutes after placing the dead rabbit in the garbage bin outside, I had witnessed in horror someone getting it out in triumph and running back home undoubtedly to cook it for that night’s dinner.

I am wondering, was that deer road-kill? Was it one of the deer from the local zoo that may have died from disease or an accident? It may have been raised for meat too but if it were, I would see deer meat for sale more regularly around here.

Anyway, one thing is for sure, nothing goes to waste in this country. There are no recycling programs here as you would find in the western world, as there is no real need for it. The poor pick every bit of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, etc., out of garbage bins as it all has some sort of value, either for their own use or for resale.

As I walked on to the supermarket to buy overly packaged food, another thought came to my mind…one man’s trash is certainly another man’s treasure…

August 12, 2006 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

Chicks on Sticks

Look at this picture closely….real close…yes, you guessed it right! These are embryonic chickens on sticks, bbq’ed and ready to eat…yum!

With the nice weather out, people like to eat outside at the countless side street bbq stands all over the city. It is a great way to eat interesting foods downed with refreshing cold beer. But the question that begs to be asked is…why? Why succumb to eating chicken embryos?

Yes, in China there is a lot of strange food available by Western standards, but chicken embryos? Is there really enough meat on those to be worthwhile eating? Maybe it is the pleasure of picking chicken feathers or beaks from your teeth that is the thrill…

Call me fussy, but I prefer my meat full-term!

July 9, 2006 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Schwartz’s Smoked Meat…Yummy!

Just before leaving Montreal, I had lunch at one of Montreal’s most famous landmarks. A Jewish friend of mine introduced me to one of the “must dos” while in Montreal. This place is Schwartz’s Smoked Meat.

Imagine walking through the door and taking a step back 75 years into Montreal history. Not much has changed in this restaurant since it opened and has welcomed common folk and celebrities from all over the world.

Schwartz’s was founded in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, and the restaurant has been in the same location ever since, on boulevard Saint-Laurent, where it is now tucked in around funky storefronts and trendy boutiques. The restaurant is a single white-tiled room containing several rows of long narrow tables.

This restaurant prepares smoked meat the old-fashioned way using a secret blend of herbs and spices marinated for at least 10 days.

Actually, the restaurant is a hole in the wall, crowded, very simple and old. There are line-ups outside this restaurant for most of the day. It actually reminds me of the “cheap” restaurants I see in Asia everyday but there is something about the smoked meat there. The best you can ever have…and the smell of the place! A real culinary experience that I will not soon forget.

July 3, 2006 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Yummm…Silworm Pupae!

From a Westerner’s view point; Chinese people eat a lot of strange food. There is even a saying in Northern China that goes like this: “Don’t stoop too low when in South China, or else you risk the chance of getting eaten”.

I’ve eaten a lot of “delicacies” such as frog, dog, snake, swan, pigeons, turtle, eel, conch, sheep eyeballs, and pig rectums among other foul things. A lot of it was downed with as much alcohol as possible (in order to make things taste better or to dull my good senses) but I draw the line at insects, I am sorry, I just can’t go there. Something I refuse to even try is silkworm pupae.

The thought of a cute little moth larva all snug in its cocoon thinking to himself “tomorrow I get my wings!” then getting abruptly crunched and chewed and destined to float down someone’s intestines just doesn’t appeal to me.

Well, it appealed to most of my family who gave me a hard time all through dinner for not wanting to try “just one”.

The eating of silkworm pupas in this part of China is quite popular and they are available in most vegetable markets. Most of the time they are still alive at time of purchase, so always very “fresh”… According to my wife who loves them, they taste a bit like liver…well, that just makes me want to rush out and eat some right now! They are also supposed to be very high in protein. This fact will not succeed in changing my mind as I can easily find other protein alternatives to silkworm pupas, such as: meat, fish or peanuts, even those weightlifting protein shakes look more appealing than those dead, turd-like moths.

Anyway, I am sad to report that these little buggers are part of my family’s diet. So be it, I suppose I’ll never know what I am missing…

April 29, 2006 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Silence of the Lambs

I have had an interesting week, very busy at work, my sister left for Canada and the kids are progressing at school (finally). I would say that my week has been a bit more interesting than the sheep on this picture.

Every morning on my way to work, I get to witness a very gruesome sight. At 7:50AM sharp which is when I drive by this restaurant, I see a sheep being butchered on the sidewalk and hung up on a hook outside the front door. I guess this is a good way to advertise that the restaurant has sheep meat on the menu! The remains on the morning ritual (the head) stays on the hook all day until another sheep goes through this ordeal. I wonder what the live sheep thinks all day, after having witnessed its brother or sister being killed and cut up into tiny pieces and then have to stare at its severed head until it gets to have its turn at the knife…. Well, probably not much.

Anyway, I decided to try this restaurant at lunch and I must say that it was very busy and the food was excellent. My only advice is to try to not get a table by the front window. It’s a hell of a view!

October 21, 2005 at 6:25 am Leave a comment

Meat Sales in a Chinese Market…

For people concerned about overpackaging in supermarkets…I think this is the way to go.

October 5, 2005 at 6:11 am Leave a comment

Dog, man’s best meat?

I walked by an outdoor meat market the other day and many exotic meats were on display and sales were brisk. Live chickens, large chunks of beek, pork and lamb hanging on hooks, lots of “mystery meat” on display everywhere, organs, blood sausages, pig rectums, sheep eyeballs, etc, etc – a real vegetarian’s nightmare!

What seems to be in “season” these days are frogs, turtles and small river crabs, I must try to get a recipe for that (maybe later)!

However, what seems to be the main delicacy and had the most people clambering for a part of the inventory was dog meat. Very popular in this part of China. Entire streets are devoted to restaurants specializing in dog meat cuisine…yumm.

Well in a country like China, food is a very important part of life and the chinese have developed a rich food culture over the last 5000 years. There is even a story about a Chinese Emperor and his love for the canine meat.

It started with Liu Bang, first emperor of the Han dynasty, who liked the taste of dog meat. Before becoming emperor he was an official and frequented a local dog restaurant run by a man named Fan Kuai.

But Liu Bang never paid for his meals, so Fan Kuai moved his restaurant to the far side of a nearby lake, taking all of the boats with him to prevent Liu Bang from crossing the water.

When Liu Bang arrived at the lakeside, though, legend has it that a giant turtle emerged and carried him across, infuriating Fan, who killed the turtle, chopped it up and threw it into his dog meat stew. As punishment, Liu Bang confiscated Fan’s knives, and the restaurateur was forced to use his hands to carve cooked dogs after that.

Anyway, love it or hate it, it doesn’t matter. This will not stop the large amount of people from happily cueing up for their portion of man’s best friend…

October 4, 2005 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

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