Saturday, November 22, 2008

Well, I Did It

When we first arrived in China, Xiusha asked us about our eating habits. This is a kind of sport for Chinese people. There's a familiar pattern to the game...

China person asks...Ni chi la de ma? (Do you eat spicy food?)

More often than not, the answer is "no," and the China person is satisfied with their culinary superiority.

For us, the game often goes on for a while (yes, I eat spicy food...yes, I eat pig ear...). That first day, Xiusha had to keep digging deeper and deeper into the China person bag of tricks...until she finally had no choice but to pull out the ace in the hole...

Ni chi gou rou ma?

Do you eat dog?

Normally, game over...except that I responded..."Sure, I would like to try dog."

For three months now, that has been an idle promise. Then the game was played once again when I arrived in Wuhan. This time, though, my hosts followed through. We pulled up to this restaurant, a window was rolled down, and the question was asked...

Ni you gou rou ma? (Do you serve dog meat?) When you put the question that way, it doesn't sound so bad. Just another kind of rou.

All eyes on me, I wasted no time digging in. Is this about to be another one of those "tastes like chicken" moments?

Nope...actually it was more of a beef stew kind of thing, complete with carrots and other veggies swimming in the gravy.

The meal ended (about two hours later), I headed to the back of the restaurant, where the xishoujian ("wash hands room"...you get the idea...) was located. (It was pretty heinous, by the way.)

There, from somewhere outside, beyond the kitchen area, I could hear the sound of a lone dog barking...

~Steve

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