Thanks to the gruesome gourmand, Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods show, my upcoming trip to Beijing, China should be full of adventurous, if not perilous, dining experiences. As luck would have it, Mr. Zimmern recently featured the city of Beijing in one of his shows. For those unfamiliar with this show, let me provide a succinct description. Andrew Zimmern travels the globe in search of the most unique and, in the eyes of most Westerners, utterly disgusting foods one could imagine putting in their pie holes. With great gusto, Zimmern noshes on everything from sheep testicles to cow utters, all the while oohing and ahhing over the magnificent flavor and preparation of these bizarre delicacies. Never once have I seen this dude gag. I’ve even seen him eat penis with a smile and a smack of the lips. Dude’s crazy.
Being the quintessential world thirsty travelers we are, Angie and I watched the Beijing episode of Bizarre Foods with great interest. I’ve vowed for months now that I’m going to sample a wide variety of bizarre foods while in Asia. After all, why not? When in Rome…as they say. I’m up for scorpion on a stick, fried beetles, tree larvae, and the like; however, Zimmern has upped the ante on me with his visits to some of Beijing’s more unique dining establishments. Who knew that donkey was a delicacy? Turn’s out there’s an upscale joint over there that serves the finest of fare, all featuring donkey meat. That’s right, the meat of the dreaded and lowly ass. Their ass is served cold, braised, boiled, stir fried, baked, broiled and fricasseed. They even feature dishes made with thinly sliced and fried donkey skin! As most Westerners would be, I was initially a little repulsed at the idea of eating donkey. After all, donkeys are close relatives to horses and we don’t eat horse here in the states. But, after watching Andrew plow through a variety of elegantly prepared dishes of donk, Angie and I are looking forward to finding this four star ass establishment. The meat looked quite lean and is reportedly quite healthful and full of omega-3 fatty acid (like yak) so what the hell. I do hope we can find the same restaurant where he ate because I’m definitely not going to Donkey King or McDonkey’s to get my first donkey fix in China. I do have some standards.
Before writing me off as a complete nut, I must say that I do have limits. Andrew featured one restaurant in Beijing that I will not be visiting. Recently opened, Beijing is now home to one of the finest restaurants of its kind in the world. In a luxurious setting, bizarre food aficionados can now enjoy a wide selection of animal penises from around the globe. One can enjoy dog penis, deer penis, donkey penis, and every other kind of mammal appendage, all served in a variety of succulent ways. They feature penis hot pot, penis fondue, raw penis, pickled penis and, for the indecisive, a penis platter. In other words, this is a penis emporium, the likes of which, no penis lover has ever seen before. Furthermore, if one is wealthy enough and places an order months in advance of their visit, that lucky diner can even feast on tiger penis for a mere $5,700 a plate. Who cares if tiger penis is only obtained through illegal market trade and is threatening to endanger this noble species of cat? They sure do have some tasty genitals. In all seriousness, I will be avoiding the penis at all costs. It’s just not my thing. Call me squeamish. It ain't happening.
I go to visit my physician tomorrow and plan to discuss my intentions with him in hopes he will provide me with an variety of antidotes should my adventurous palette prove too much for my delicate American digestive system. I would truly hate to spend my time in the Middle Kingdom holed up in some infirmary ruing the day I got my first piece of ass in China. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Peace, and happy dining.