Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Starfish for Lunch

I will soon have some some follow-up pieces for my posts "Google Maps and Baidu Map in China" and "Facebook in China: A Chance to Connect and Understand".  I'd like to point out that I made some updates for purposes of clarification in the Facebook post to the section now titled "Censorship and Public Opinion Elsewhere".  It's worth checking out the section if you read the post (here) this past weekend (June 25/26) or earlier.

In the meantime, I've received some requests for food photos (seems some readers are foodies) so I'll take a break of sorts and share a scene I encountered in Qingdao, Shandong province:

cart with food to grill and starfishes
Food cart in Qingdao

At the cart in the photo you could get all sorts of grilled goodies, including the featured item which was squid.  But your eyes may have been drawn to a more conspicuous item available for eating -- starfish.

Later, after some deliberation I found this in my hand:

holding a starfish
A dead starfish ready for eating.

After getting some instruction on how to eat it I dug in.  Basically, the underside of the arms easily open up and there is a orangish clumpy material you can suck or scoop out.  I don't know how to describe the taste other than it is very "sea-ish".

For one who has grown up in the US, China offers many new eating adventures.  One trick I sometimes use when I require some extra fortitude is to just not think too much about what I'm eating.  In this case, when I could no longer resist thinking I recalled some highschool biology from long ago and wondered if I was eating starfish gonads.

According to some online sources, including this one, I now believe I was mainly eating digestive glands.  I think that's an improvement, no?

Regardless, digestive glands weren't my thing.  After giving it a solid try with a couple of arms I decided to call it quits -- too salty for my tastes.  I then gave it a proper burial in the nearby Qingdao Bay.  If you want to try some yourself just go to Qingdao.  I saw them for sale in quite a few locations.

OK foodies, I hope that appeases you for a bit.

Back to other topics soon.

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