A Chinese wedding banquet (is always a small adventure)

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:

Cicada nymphs, a standard restaurant menu item in Shandong province.

Or this:
#somepig #terrific #radiant #humble

Both of those were last weekend for us, at a friend’s wedding banquet, which was lots of fun.

Welcome to Qingdao (please mind the squid)

Next time you’re in the woods and accidentally walk face-first into a spider web, remember:
watchoutChinesesquidQingdao …it could have been a huge dried squid.

Qingdao loves squid. FYI.

On the live seafood menu: “Fat innkeeper worms” a.k.a….

Urechis unicinctus, a.k.a. exactly what you think of when you see them, are a standard feature of Shandong cuisine. We see these marine spoonworms on display routintely:
Many if not most of Qingdao’s larger restaurants feature a live seafood menu, like this one from lunch the other day.
But if you find that unappetizing, don’t worry. They’re so full of water that after they’re barbecued, they look incredibly similar to earthworms (on-a-stick):
BBQ penis fish on a stick
In Chinese they’re called 海肠, literally: “sea intestine”.