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Food

Strange Chinese Supermarket Foods

The good thing about living in China for several months is that I actually lost a lot of weight. It wasn’t so much because I was dieting, than because I could never find much worth eating.

There were whole supermarket aisles that had nothing worth eating. Chief amongst these was the aisle selling various types of tree fungus and bark.

Here then were a few other things I never got round to buying in a Chinese supermarket.

Meat

The Chinese like meat. Indeed it’s hard to find a vegetarian dish in China that doesn’t contain any meat!

Sadly for me the Chinese are great fans of the less delicious looking parts of an animal. Like the feet.

Chicken feet are wildly popular. Oddly enough though, I’ve never met any Chinese person who actually likes eating them!

Chicken feet come vacuum packed:

Packets of vacuum packed chicken feet in a Chinese supermarket

Packets of vacuum packed chicken feet in a Chinese supermarket

Or if you’re having a party and having a few chums round, then why not buy a whole kilo of them:

Buy chicken feet in bulk at this Chinese supermarket

Buy chicken feet in bulk at this Chinese supermarket

No thanks – we Brits really only eat chicken breast. Some more adventurous souls might eat legs or even wings. But in British supermarkets most pre-packed chicken meat sold is breast meat. Which begs the question… what happens to the rest of the chicken?

I must point out at this point that some Chinese supermarket meat was really good indeed. I was a big fan of the Mother’s beef jerky products. It came in both Thai and Korean BBQ flavours:

Mother's beef jerky - one of my favourite snacks when I lived in China. How I miss this delicious man food.

Mother’s beef jerky – one of my favourite snacks when I lived in China. How I miss this delicious man food.

Wow, I miss that stuff – but I’ve only ever seen these little packets on sale in China.

The jerky was a rare highlight in a sea of mystery though. I mean, what the heck is Pork Floss, and why would you want to feed it to your kids…

Pork Floss for children. Are you feeding your kids this? If not then why not!!!

Pork Floss for children. Are you feeding your kids this? If not then why not!!!

Actually, after some Googling, I found that this stuff is useful for sprinkling into kids soups and other meals, so you can get some meat into their diet without them noticing it. Well evidently it’s good stuff, because Chinese kids are pretty darned smart!

Fish

Which brings me to fish…

Now the Chinese are great fans of fish, especially the Cantonese. Chinese people like their fish to be fresh. Consequently, restaurants and supermarkets often have tanks that allow customers to choose their fish supper, while it’s still alive.

While many Western people might get squeamish about this, at least you know what you’re eating. While I was in China, back in the UK the scandal over horse meat tainted beef products was raging. I’m sure this wouldn’t happen in China!

Anyway, while it’s good to be able to find fresh fish in a supermarket, I never did get round to cooking fish in my apartment. Partly this was due to not knowing what to do with a live fish, or even how to get it back home on the bus:

Chinese supermarkets - buy your leviathan from the deep here...

Chinese supermarkets – buy your leviathan from the deep here…

And if that looks crazy, well periodically fish jump out of these tanks. A catfish once did just this and scared the hell out of me when it landed at my feet.

Uncategorised

Go in any Chinese supermarket and there will always be some, well, lots of stuff that will be simply beyond understanding.

Well I’ve asked a few of my Chinese friends, but nobody seems to even know what these are:

Mysterious item in the frozen foods section of a Chinese supermarket.

Mysterious items in the frozen foods section of a Chinese supermarket. If you know what they are, leave your suggestions in the comments section below…

Bon appetit!

Discussion

3 Responses to “Strange Chinese Supermarket Foods”

  1. My guess is that they’re some kind of frozen sea cucumber.

    Posted by Wookie | July 22, 2013, 4:33 pm
  2. Chicken feet are pretty good if they’re in a nice sauce. Duck feet on the other hand, hell no. But chicken feet are basically pure chicken fat, like eating chicken skin. Don’t eat the bones, but they’re good to eat basically like a snack or appetizer or whatever. Someone suggested eating them like pretzels and beer. I dunno, a Vietnamese place near me sold them and I liked them quite a bit the way they made them, however I don’t know if I’d like them without a good sauce. Also a messy food to eat, too.

    Live fish is easy. I don’t think they’ll give you a live fish in a bag or whatever. Usually they just kill it in front of you. At least that’s how my Asian market does it. Then they’ll clean it up for free, ie, scale it, gut it, etc, it’s nice to give them a tip, though. Sometimes they miss scales, well almost all the time they do, so I recommend going over the fish again when you get home.

    Yay I’m more prepped than apparently everyone on the HA messageboards.

    Posted by onethousandknives | September 12, 2013, 7:29 pm

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