Friday, March 6, 2009

Blood: It's what's for dinner!

Tonight Nick and I went out to dinner with Angel and Eric for what is becoming our regular Friday night get-together / language exchange.

Since the weather has been absolutely MISERABLE (cold and rainy) we went out to a hot-pot restaurant to warm us up. Although we used to really dislike hot pots - they were very foreign and unpredictable to us - Nick and I have come to enjoy them and we even order them intentionally now!

Ahhhh Hot-pots: a bowl of mystery. Typically you get a bowl or pot of broth over a fire (which may or may not already have some food in it), then you get a bowl of random food that you put into the pot to cook. Usually there are some vegetables, tofu, tofu skin, cabbage, lettuce, corn, meat (or seafood, depending on what you order), fish cakes, noodles, mushrooms.... and other random things.

When Hot Pots (火鍋 or huo guo) come out, they typically look like this:

Down in the bottom left, we have a raw egg and some spices and sauce. You are supposed to separate the egg and mix the yolk in with this brown stuff to make a tasty dipping sauce for the food. It's quite good! You save the egg white for later and put in the hot pot once you've eaten everything else.

You never know what you're gonna get and typically Nick and I have no idea what we're eating or how to eat it - who knew there were rules about how to eat this stuff!? In the US, it comes out, you eat it... here this is not always the case. Tonight we encountered two new gems.

The first was a bloody rice cake. It was a small, black rectangular block of rice; rice mixed with pigs' blood. It was actually really good. The consistency was that of sticky rice, it was chewy and a bit grainy. The taste was mild and I really liked the texture of it. I ate mine and then took Nick's and ate his as well!

I have to say that after this encounter, I feel ready to try out the bloody rice cake stand at the night market!
The second treasure we found tonight was basically a blood clot. There was nothing mixed in with it, it was just a gob of ducks' blood that was the consistency of a cooked blood clot. It kind of tasted like tofu and if our friends hadn't told us it was blood, we would have thought it was just dark tofu. This is a picture of it in my rice bowl with a piece of cooked cabbage. (Don't be alarmed! That is not a vein running through it, that is a rice noodle on top of the blood)

One way you can tell you are becoming acculturated is when someone tells you there is duck blood in your soup and you don't really think its a big deal! At this point, we are no longer surprised or frightened by this. Ahhh c'est la vie.


  1. Hey Rach and Nick,

    Looks like you guys are having a blast! All is well on the home front, but we sure do miss you!