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Friday, December 01, 2006

Chiang Mai: Foods I Don't Eat

Chiang Mai has no shortage of unusual foods. An innocent sounding dish, such asherbed chicken (well, it was 'herbed with chicken' on the menu) is full of a sharp, thin, straw-like herb. Edible, but just barely. The flavor was great, but straw just isn't a desirable texture.

Sometimes the color is a bit off-putting. Bright green dough for a dumpling-like thing is not really appetizing to my western eye. Green is a vegetable color. It's only other use is in icing, usually for St. Patrick's Day. And green beer is OK then, too. But dumplings?

Chicken feet are popular. I've approached several carts because I thought I had spotted satay. But instead of chicken on a skewer, I found chicken feet on a skewer, along with some other things I don't ever, ever want to identify.

Street vendors roll along the streets with their charcoal burners smoking, offering various roasted insects. Scorpion anyone? Preceded by a grasshopper appetizer, perhaps?

I'm not totally sqeamish. I love escargot. I like, for instance, octopus sashimi, and sea urchin. I've even eaten takoyaki, which are tiny grilled octopus on a stick, though I only get that brave when drunk. I have eaten soup with various strange things floating around in them: Chicken feet, pieces of cow stomach linings, unrecognizable things.

But bright green dumplings? I'm not sure. That's just wrong. Maybe I'll try them out though, and let you know.

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