Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

This blog post title is credited to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith but if I had to tailor it to my most recent experience with food I would have to say "Let it be universally acknowledged that Brett having just eaten brains may not be in want of more brains". 

The most dangerous thing you can say to a Taiwanese friend is “yeah, I would probably give that a try” in relation to some casually mentioned culinary obscurity. Sure enough the next time you arrange to meet, your friend will have with them the very item that was mentioned off-hand, eager to assist you in your exploratory journey of sampling foods and flavours that are not so uncommon in Taiwan but would make the faint of heart back home turn pale (or paler by comparison!). 

Our friends have now had the pleasure (and amusement!) of introducing us to a variety of dishes that we possibly would never have sampled were it not for their guidance, assurance, and gentle nudging.

 I’ve now had the opportunity to sample: 

- Pigs ears
- Steamed pig skin
- Stinky tofu: fried, steamed and in spring rolls (see previous post)
- Chicken butts
- Century egg
- Fried bean curd skin
- Duck blood rice cakes
- And most recently... duck’s head and BRAIN!!! 

If you’re interested in how one eats a duck’s brain it is quite simple... you take a small skewer provided by the store where the duck’s head was purchased, you skewer the duck’s brain which is easily identifiable and accessible as the duck’s head has been chopped neatly in half, you raise the brain to your mouth, insert and eat. I would compare the texture to liver and there really wasn’t much taste to it. The feel and flavour of the duck’s brain really don’t warrant being squeamish, just the fact that it is a ducks brain, that’s all. 

None of the things I’ve eaten have been unpleasant experiences and I’m glad I’ve tried everything above. No doubt there will be many more opportunities to sample foods that, as of now, I don’t even know exist. I look forward to it!

Fried bean curd skin, fried tofu, chicken butts and duck heads.
Stanley holds up the duck's head for the camera. The little brown thing hanging out on the left is its brain.

 No need to see pictures of me actually eating the brain. My expression is somewhat less appealing!

Duck blood rice cake, fried of course. Tastes fine. We've had this a few times now.
Sliced pig's ears. Not bad either. It was recommended that we try this before we were told what it was.
Century egg with tofu. A very unique taste but I don't see why people are so freaked out about it.
Gelatinous steamed pig skin. Pretty tasty but something you can't eat too often.
Something a little easier for westerners to palate, rice dumpling with peanuts.
The shop that sells the rice dumplings is next to Stanley's Malaysian Hot Pot restaurant. The shop has been operating for 60 years!!!
One of our favourites, beef noodle soup!
Mango on crushed ice. I tried this just yesterday... delicious!!!!


    You just pass the FIRST CLASS!!
    Coming next..........

  2. Ewwwwwwww. No thanks! I'll stick with the blood rice please!

  3. Stanley! Head cheese is a western food, so I think that next time it is YOU that needs to try this and we will take pictures!!!