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Stuttering Shell: bizarre food? yes. good eats? hell no.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

bizarre food? yes. good eats? hell no.

last month we took a trip out to california {i know i owe y'all a recap plus day, i promise}.  my cousin was getting married.  

so, what does any chinese family do when they get together for any type of 
celebration or for just no reason at all?  
they eat.  

and eat is what we did.  the welcome/rehearsal dinner the night before my cousin's big day was nothing short of amazing {never mind the fact that it was served just a few hours after the crazy, fabulous buffet-style welcome lunch}.  the dinner was ten courses {or was it twelve??} of quintessential chinese cuisine including this:

the dish we ate looked very similar to the one pictured above except the veg served with ours was a 
different type of chinese green.

that, my friends, is abalone with...wait for it...sea cucumber.  can you guess which is what?  the abalone is the stuff along the outside of the plate.  the sea cucumber is the slimy looking black crap in the middle of the dish.    

yes, you read right.  i said sea cucumber.  i also call it slimy looking black crap.  some may love it.  i sure as hell don't.  have you seen what a sea cucumber looks like? {think diseased sex organ...yeah, i went there}

coincidentally, the article i took this pic from was about two people dying from sea cucumber 
poisoning. oh, my. 

so, if you're still wondering, YES, i ate it.  well, not all of it, but a piece of it.  my sister & i decided to man up together and try a piece.  i've seen my mother eat it before & we've been to quite a few family functions where it was served but we have never, and i repeat NEVER, wanted to try it.  until last month. what in the eff were we thinking?  don't get me wrong, we've eaten some crazy stuff, but chowing on sea cucumber is not our thing.  andrew zimmern, we're not.


fast forward to the day after the wedding.  we find ourselves in san francisco at fisherman's wharf. after walking around snapping up pictures of the sea lions & alcatraz, the kids asked to go to the aquarium.  i'm pretty sure my parents & my sister wanted a break from us*, so adam & i took them. aquarium of the bay is a neat little aquarium tucked into one side of fisherman's wharf.  i saw it the last time i was in san francisco, but i never thought to check it out.  i'm glad we did this time.  the kids had a blast.  

of course, no family vacay is ever complete until one child calls you out on someone. 
preferably a complete stranger.

while riding in the elevator in the aquarium, the tour guide was telling the kids about the touch tanks.  she said there were stingrays, a leopard shark, starfish, anemones, and even a couple of sea cucumbers.  cue my seven year old son, aidan...

"um, so we went to a wedding this weekend & we ate 
chinese food.  
did you know that my mom and dad ATE sea cucumber the other day?  
they did.  it was gross."

{sorry for the crummy pic quality...i was using my not so fancy point & shoot.}

the people in the elevator with us were mortified.  the tour guide looked at me.  she looked at adam.  then, she politely asked us to remember to touch, and not eat, the sea cucumbers in the touch tank.   

um, no problem, lady.  trust me.  there is a reason the sea cucumber looks the way it does because i honestly don't know what in the eff would possess someone or something to want to eat it.  unless you're at a fancy chinese dinner**.  i'm just sayin'...

* how did i know they wanted a break from us?  my dad was at the ticket counter with cash in hand buying the tickets for us before we even got up there.  yep.
** i can say that because i'm chinese.  well, only half chinese, but still.

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OpenID fightingwithfood said...

Those look far more gross than anything I had imagined when I hear "sea cucumber." I'll stick with the abalone alone..
My husband & I are leaving next week for his cousin's wedding in Cali. I'm sure we'll be hitting an aquarium along with the San Diego Zoo. I'll be sure to avoid the sea cucumber..

Jun 9, 2011, 1:21:00 PM  
Blogger Chelle said...

I have three sisters who are adopted from China (and a brother who they will be flying to get this summer)--I'm going to have to ask my parents if they were ever served that on one of their previous trips, ha!

And I give you major props for trying it, girl :)


Jun 9, 2011, 5:23:00 PM  

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