Do you sometimes just want to try the weirdest food on the menu?
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose - and the other night, I did both
I realise there's those who may call it racist to label a country's cuisine as 'weird' but I'll pre-empt that by saying weird simply means unfamiliar. It's only pejorative in the mouths of boring people.
And often, all I want to do is try the weirdest items on any given menu. In Raku, my favourite - make that my only - Japanese restaurant, it was eel. In a little restaurant in Paris, one rainy night, it was snails. And this last week, in one of Canberra's central Chinese restaurants, it was chicken feet and jellyfish.
I hadn't actually realised jellyfish was edible before that night, but I'd long wanted to try chicken feet. People blanch at the concept - but I can guarantee there's nothing about a live chicken's daily routine that will want you make to eat it. But we do. We pluck it, we clean it, and we cook it for a very long time. Or not, if you're a bloody TikToker.
Point is, if I'm chewing down the leg, I don't really see why I should stop at the foot. Here's how that went:
LOSS - CHICKEN FEET
The trouble is, I had been expecting them to arrive piping hot and with some sort of sauce, or general seasoning at least. Instead they arrived cold, clammy, and unseasoned, and I don't like my chicken cold, clammy, and unseasoned - much less an unfamiliar part of it. Of course I tried. I couldn't stomach it.
I showed the above photo to an Asian friend, and once he got over the shock that I had ordered the least white boy thing on the menu, admitted he was just as surprised they were just served with flicks of carrot.
So I'm not writing them off yet.
THE WIN - JELLYFISH
The jellyfish was also cold and clammy - but also salty, rubbery, and irresistible. Like noodles, if noodles were interesting.