For as far back as I can remember, the coolest things in the ocean have always been octopuses, sharks (of course sharks) and anglerfish.
If you don’t understand why, go google image search anglerfish. I’ll wait.
I’ve seen sharks at the aquarium and handled dogfish on the fishing boat, and we occasionally play with octopuses in our neighbourhood vegetable market. But I’d never seen a real angler fish until last night, when I was picking up take-out at one of our favourite local restaurants. They have a big display of live and nearly-alive seafood that changes every night, depending on what the boss finds at the seaside market. I wasn’t sure what these fish were at first, but the teeth got my attention:
The staff told me 安康鱼 ān kāng yú, which my dictionaries don’t have. But between Baidu and Pleco we found it: it’s a monkfish 鮟鱇 ān kāng, which is a kind of anglerfish (notice the real name is nearly the same as our initial search, except with a “fish” radical added to each character: 鱼 + 安 = 鮟 / 鱼 + 康 = 鱇).
Anglerfish! How cool is that? Their… bioluminescent things (I won’t even pretend to know what the actual word is) were plastered down on their heads and don’t show in the photos, but it was easy to lift them up for a look.
A google image search for monkfish turns up what looks like the exact same fish as in the restaurant — a particular kind of very ugly anglerfish.
A google search for anglerfish will give you nightmares.
A Chinese celebration is a special thing. We’re grateful that we occasionally get to take part in them. The way they’re done — the ‘family style’ dining, the toasting, etc. — really is fun when done well.
And, of course, there’s the food. Weddings will have special dishes, fancy dishes, expensive dishes — and for Euro-Americans that often means eyebrow-raising dishes.
There are two kinds of adventure eating in China. It’s one thing to deliberately go out of your way to seek out some crazy-to-your-home-culture dish — like dog or máodàn or cányǒng or starfish — and share the photos on social media, regardless of how common those are to locals (Canadians eat bull testicles — did you know?). Sure it’s cliche but whatever, have fun. You’re not hurting anybody.
The other kind of adventure eating is the the kind that seeks you out. You’re just going about your business, accepting a neighbour’s dinner invitation or attending a friend’s wedding feast, and you’re served “cicada monkeys” 知了猴:
Both of those were last weekend for us, at a friend’s wedding banquet, which was lots of fun.
So we’ve moved to Qingdao. And we’ve started using Instagram. Our actual Instagram feeds are private because they have lots of family pictures, but you can see all our public China Instagram fun at ChinaHopeLive.Tumblr.com. And here’s the RSS feed.