Cock-a-doodle-doo!


This week some friends and  I went on a jaunt to a town called Jingbian which is in the north east of Shaanxi Province.  It was a fascinating trip for lots of reasons two of which were ‘firsts’ for me.  Shaanxi map

To get to Jingbian I  flew from NanYuan Airport in south Beijing – it is BJ’s major military airport, and I flew with China United Airlines which was established by the People’s Liberation Army, and although since 2003 it is mostly owned by civilian companies it is still permitted to use military airports.  The flight took me to Yulin and from there it was a two hour drive west through the edge of the great desert area towards Inner Mongolia.

In Jingbian we were treated most hospitably and at one of the lavish meals there was a dish of something that looked strange but yet familiar.

Cocks' combsI asked if it was sliced liver (goat and pig are the predominant meats eaten in the Shanbei region) and was told that it was a dish of braised cockscombs – specially chosen for us as Rooster comb 1honoured guests.   Of course that meant I had to put a smile on my face, pick up a cockscomb with my chopsticks and eat it with a big smile of pleasure – otherwise both I and my hosts would have lost face.

Actually it wasn’t too bad, soft texture, a bit like calves liver, without any particularly strong flavour  – it was just the idea of it that I found distasteful.  It was all about my head rather than my taste buds.  I have subsequently learned that the Italians are also partial to eating cockscombs.  They are fiddly to prepare as you have to remove the tough outer skin of the comb before cooking them, this is usually done by the poulterer and so they are not particularly cheap.

Rooster combs rawThe Chinese are famed for not wasting any part of an animal and really that is admirable, if you are going to kill a living creature in order to eat it, you should really respect it by eating everything possible. We in the west are horribly wasteful with food, but cultural conditioning when it comes to eating is very deeply ingrained and hard to overcome.

About herschelian

Recently moved to Beijing from London - its all new to me! Trying to learn Chinese, and what makes this city tick.
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2 Responses to Cock-a-doodle-doo!

  1. Sheila Taylor says:

    You are braver than me – I think I would have heaved! Bravo!

  2. camparigirl says:

    I never heard of Italians eating them. Now I have to do some research!

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