Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bite me: April Fools Chinese Food Gags

Forget the real sponge cake or rubber hot dogs. If you live in China, the best April Fools food gags are all around you. Let's get right to it!

English name: Chongqing Strange Tasting Balls
Chinese name: 重庆怪味胡豆
Main location: Chongqing
Description: The name is a big giveaway but some how no one reads the label until AFTER they eat it. With ingredients such as prickly ash pepper, chilli pepper, MSG, salt and sugar expect their face to contort to the recognition of every flavor. I even know locals who have spit this out.

English name: Red bean 
Chinese name: 红豆
Main location:  All over China
Description: This bean is popular in every part of Chinese cuisine. If you see it in a pastry or cake, you can easily mistaken for chocolate. Nothing is more disappointing than finding out you are not eating gooey chocolate  but a rather bland, fibrous bean. As a paste filling, it is even more disturbing.

English name: Stinky Tofu
Chinese name: 臭豆腐
Main location: South East and West China e.g. Changsha
Description: If you get someone to eat this unsuspectingly, kudos to you. White or black soya beans are used to make tofu which is further fermented for extra pungent flavour. It is then fried and served with parsley, scallions and pepper sauce. The smell, however, is a dead give away. You can smell yourself to a vendor's stall. So try serving this as far away from where you purchased it.

English name: Dried Chinese Date
Chinese name: 干红枣
Main location: All over China
Description: All berries are sweet or maybe there's even a bit of tang. And when dried, they make a super sweet treat. Well if this is your berriology, a dried Chinese date will blow all your faith out of the water. It's got ton of yeasty flavors with shadows, very faint shadows of sweetness. After that experience, I avoid every product in this flavor but I will admit that it makes a tasty and healthy tea when accompanied with Goji berries.

Now have some fun on April Fool's day with these local delicacies. There are really two outcomes here: leaving a temporary bad taste in your friend's mouth or introducing them to future addictions. Let me know if you have tasted any of these before in the comments below!