For seasoned travellers who may feel the world is their oyster & ‘have seen it all’, it is good when places manage to confuse you and force you to accept that you can’t always be in control or predict what you’ll get
In my case, I fancied some sashimi for lunch but, I have ended up with a gigantic bowl of boiling soup, cooking on my table, and filled with intestines and a whole other range of squelchy stuff I prefer not to know the provenance of.
No matter how many waiters have come to try to engage with my questions (like, ‘why can’t I get the sashimi, as it shows in this picture?’ – the reason I came in, in the first place) I am getting nowhere. So gallons of soup with innards & Co. it is.
The broth is actually quite tasty – once you learn to ignore the relentless chili & stronger-spice hellish burning all over your mouth.
But wait! The waitress has realised I am only pouring the broth. So she diligently proceeds to come over and personally fill in my plate with what looks like tripe, tongue and the other stuff I prefer not to think about! Will I manage to get away without biting into it?? (It’s early and I am the only customer here, so the eyes of the full serviceable waiting team are on me… My chances of escape look slim!!)
So here I am, feeling embarrassed that I left Wulai without trying their local delicacy, fried bees – abejas fritas, si!!. Right now, the sound of bees sounds infinitely appetizing compared with what is concocting in front of me… Give me crispy insects over gelatinous entrails any time!!!!
What’s cooking? I prefer not to know…
But the experience keeps getting more & more interesting. I think the waiters are taking pity on me. They are now bringing what looks like a lab test tube set, and they tell me this is complimentary for me, a drink of ginger and lemon & strawberry ( if I have understood it right) Why the testing lab look, so out of line in this very stylish but traditional Asian looking place? Who knows. They may be playing an experiment on me
Whatever is going on, there is no chance to take anything for granted in these parts!
Now, turning back to the witch cauldron soup, as I advance on the broth consumption, I keep seeing more kinds of stuff coming up to the surface… Has something winked at me? I better stop looking. It is scaring the hell out of me!!!
… I am taking refuge sipping the red liquid in test tubes for comfort…
What do the test tubes have in common with the rest? Nothing. They may simply contain the antidote to the magic potion I keep digging into…
PS: for the record, I was at Shih An Farm, and I was served (well, forced into!) a Phoenix Reunion pot. It did not look too scary in the picture. But this is because the ‘best bits’ were hidden in the sacred urn, topped by animal skin.
On closer examination, it looked a bit like a pharaoh funerary pot – the ones used to keep the stuff that could spoil the embalming process… And this Phoenix reference… Are the cooking bits supposed to come back to life after going through the flames??
I am going mad. I better get back to the streets, let’s see what I get into next!