Saturday, April 12, 2008

Countryside Delicacies?

One of the unfortunate aspects of living in Taiwan is that whenever I go back to America, I don't have any crazy stories to tell about wild animals like international workers in Africa do. Nor do I usually eat anything all that unusual.

However, this morning one of my neighbors invited me to go out for breakfast this morning. We each had  a bowl of noodles ... and a small plate of dolphin meat on the side. I could only eat a few small pieces. Afterward, a few other acquaintances told me they find dolphin meat too "offensive" (new word for me in Taiwanese as well as Mandarin). I more or less agree with their assessment. Dolphin meat has a horrible aftertaste that sticks around long after the eating is done!

Tonight the same neighbor invited me over to his house for dinner, which I already ate, but I still joined them for a small bowl of beef tendon in soup. The soup was excellent, but it was hard for me to crunch away on the tendon, which you are supposed to eat all of. Then I was introduced to the speciality for the evening: rat meat from his family's farm! I only ate 3 or 4 tiny pieces. The way his wife prepared it, it was actually much more savory than the dolphin. If I hadn't known what it was, I could have eaten a lot.

I think my stomach is beginning to hurt. I hope I don't get sick tonight.

Next up: rabbit (which my neighbor raises back on his parents' farm) and venison, also available just down the street.

Neither my neighbor's wife, who is a Hakka from Northern Taiwan, nor their three daughters had anything to do with the rat meat. Nor do they eat the rabbit.

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