Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tales from Shanghai trip - Never say never!

"I dare you to eat me. I DARE YOU!"

It was a fish head. Right in front of me at the restaurant dining table in Shanghai on my first night there. It was covered with vegetables, but I could still see the white eye of the fish staring me and challenging me...

I gulped! NO! NEVER!

My Bro-in-law travels frequently to China and has told me all sorts of anecdotes (food horror stories) where his Chinese colleagues ordered things like fish heads and chicken feet for him and he couldn't bring himself to eat them. I always got scared when I heard the kinds of things people ate in China (let's not mention the exact delicacies here. I don't want to disturb some of my readers!)

I am not a picky eater... generally speaking! In fact, I love trying out new things. The only thing I absolutely don't eat is beef (I am a Hindu). But since I was going to Shanghai, I did some research about Shanghai food to prepare myself. On top of the list of food recommendations, came the Fish (Carp) Head. And I told myself "I will not eat a fish head. NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!"

But there I was in the restaurant, eye to eye with a fish head (pun completely intended). Since I couldn't read Chinese, I just told my colleagues to order anything other than beef and they ordered the fish head. Ha Ha Ha... In engineering, I always say that the requirements should be clear otherwise you will get a product that you don't want... that's exactly what happened to me.

But then I told myself, "I am here to explore and try new things."
"How about a tiny bite. From the corner, far away from the head..."
"Wow! It's yummy. I can eat another bite, still away from the head"
"Delicious... what was I afraid of?"

Four days and four fish heads later, I can say that if you visit Shanghai, do not miss the "Fish head"... But that's not all that I conquered... Fish head, Chicken Feet, Gristle, Foie gras, Octopus, Oysters... the list goes on. The only thing I chickened out was Bull Frog. May be next time!

Oh before I forget, I completely rocked the chop sticks in Shanghai. I didn't use the fork even once. I even passed the chopstick test by eating soft Tofu with it. Heck, I got so used to it that after coming back home, when I sat down to eat lunch, I was looking for chopsticks... talk about adapting!

While in Shanghai, I even found a profession to fall back on in case I decide to change careers.... Running a stall of Chinese BBQ...

This calls for a celebration!

Cheers, or like they say in Shanghainese "Kaam be!"

But coming back to the main point, I leave you with one advice for life... "NEVER SAY NEVER".You never know when you may have to take it back!

Signing off,
P.S. Please take a moment and leave a comment telling me about one of your food adventures.

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