I’m pretty wussy when it comes to meat- I lean heavily towards vegetarian and would label myself a lacto-ovo-bacon vegetarian if it were an option. In Istanbul I was able to veer into shallow omnivore waters because butchers would happily do all the cutting and de-boning and trimming for you. We had a lot of curries and soups featuring kuşbaşı (bird-head) mini cubes of checken breast. China, however, has reminded me of my squeamishness. Meat is sold bony, fatty, tendon’y, rife with cartilage and skin, and in cuts that I simply can’t understand. I run off to hide in the vegetable section, trying to avoid having to pick up a wet, untrimmed chunk of…something for dinner. I really like the vegetable section. If I really must grab some meat for dinner, I tend to go to the gringo-friendly shop near the metro that sells organic and free range products. They label their meats in English, which saves me from accidentally buying ground pork by accident (it looked like beef…just paler). Their chicken bits aren’t swimming in their own juices. They do, however, still offer a different perspective on meat.
Take this poor chicken, for example. Imagine a whole chicken presented as such in an American supermarket. I get a neck ache just looking at it.
Or fish, and what are considered the nice bits of a fish.
This fish head costs more than twice as much as steak.
Salmon fin. A cross section at the fin. Really. And this is even pricier than the head, which was pricier than a similarly sized hunk of steak.
This one is up only because his name is apparently Richardson. I may take to naming all my meats. This chicken breast is called Harold.
Unrelated to unexpected meat perspectives, here is a new theme popping up in Shanghai. First there was Obama nightclub; now there is Obama Supermarket. Bush never had a supermarket or a club.
And finally, as a response to all of this, this is what I’ve been having for lunch lately: hand pulled noodles with lots of green veggies and a lovely bright egg on top. Lovely.