Eating Native Foods Is One Of The Pleasures Of Foreign Travel-- Being Careful With Your Restaurant Choices Might Keep You Alive
As far as I know there wasn't a menu. Rather, the family worked at their convenience, with whatever was handy or in season. There was a rooster parading around the backyard and then there just wasn't. After the cook had slit its throat, he used it as the base for five separate dishes, one of which was a dreary soup with two feet, like inverted salad tongs, sticking out of it. Nothing else was nearly as recognisable.Many Americans think they can avoid that kind of collision with alien reality by sticking to a now ubiquitous McDonald's or KFC. Bad news on that front as well. Note: I have no trouble fasting for a few days or even a week when I have to-- and I would certainly resort to that than ever consider eating in a McDonald's or any facsimile abroad. There's one on the ground floor of the apartment we always rent in Bangkok. Just walking through it-- a shortcut to the elevator-- makes me want to throw up, although it's always filled with happy middle class Thais and relieved American tourists. Is the food they serve filthy and unhealthy? I always assumed so-- and that has been borne out this week by another food scandal in good ole China, a virtual cesspool to begin with. McDonald's and the other fast food companies have been buying meat from a typical food supplier-- typical because in the unregulated universe of Ayn Rand capitalism that holds sway there-- even serving human bits and pieces is within the realm of possibility-- as long as it's profitable.
I'm used to standard butchering: here's the leg, the breast, etc. At the Farming Family Happiness, rather than being carved, the rooster was senselessly hacked, as if by a blind person, a really angry one with a thing against birds. Portions were reduced to shards, mostly bone, with maybe a scrap of meat attached. These were then combined with cabbage and some kind of hot sauce.
Another dish was made entirely of organs, which again had been hacked beyond recognition. The heart was there, the lungs, probably the comb and intestines as well. I don't know why this so disgusted me. If I was a vegetarian, OK, but if you're a meat eater, why draw these arbitrary lines? "I'll eat the thing that filters out toxins but not the thing that sits on top of the head, doing nothing?" And why agree to eat this animal and not that one?
I remember reading a few years ago about a restaurant in the Guangdong province that was picketed and shut down because it served cat. The place was called The Fangji Cat Meatball Restaurant, which isn't exactly hiding anything. Go to Fangji and you pretty much know what you're getting. My objection to cat meatballs is not that I have owned several cats, and loved them, but that I try not to eat things that eat meat. Like most westerners I tend towards herbivores, and things that like grain: cows, chickens, sheep, etc. Pigs eat meat-- a pig would happily eat a human-- but most of the pork we're privy to was raised on corn or horrible chemicals rather than other pigs and dead people.
There are distinctions among the grazing animal eaters as well. People who like lamb and beef, at least in north America, tend to draw the line at horse, which in my opinion is delicious. The best I've had was served at a restaurant in Antwerp, a former stable called, cleverly enough, The Stable. Hugh was right there with me, and though he ate the same thing I did, he practically wept when someone in China mentioned eating sea horses. "Oh, those poor things," he said. "How could you?"
I went, "Huh?"
It's like eating poultry but taking a moral stand against those chocolate chicks they sell at Easter. "A sea horse is not related to an actual horse," I said. "They're fish, and you eat fish all the time. Are you objecting to this one because of its shape?"
He said he couldn't eat sea horses because they were friendly and never did anyone any harm, this as opposed to those devious, bloodthirsty lambs whose legs we so regularly roast with rosemary and new potatoes.
The dishes we had at the Farming Family Happiness were meant to be shared, and as the pretty woman with the broad face brought them to the table, the man across from me beamed and reached for his chopsticks. "You know," he said, "this country might have its ups and downs but it is virtually impossible to get a bad meal here."
I didn't say anything.
[A]n undercover local TV reporter found workers repackaging and selling expired and spoiled meat at Shanghai Husi Food Co., owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration has halted Husi’s operations.Tourists and the Chinese middle class expect foreign restaurants to be more reliable and less likely to kill them or make them sick. But we're talking about McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell so... I wouldn't eat in one down the road from where I live let alone in China or anywhere else. They serve garbage and their food and business culture is garbage. So what else could anyone possibly you expect? Starbucks? The Husi Food Co scandal has moved across the Sea of Japan.
The latest food safety scandal could be a blow to McDonald’s and Yum [KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell] as both hopes to expand in the Chinese market. The pair has already vowed in 2012 to ensure the safety of food they serve after China Central Television reported the companies may have sold chicken fed with unapproved antibiotic drugs and growth hormones.
The Husi investigation shows that the culture of food safety still hasn’t taken root in China, where infants have been killed and sickened after consuming milk powder tainted by industrial chemical melamine. Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, once told me that the problem lies in the country’s porous and outdated supply chain, where every link could go awry.
The scandal surrounding Husi Food, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has added to a string of safety scares in China over milk, medicines and other goods that have left the public wary of dairies, restaurants and other suppliers.Let's hope the "severe punishment" will include extraditing American ex-bankster, billionaire Sheldon Lavin, OSI's sole owner (most of whose political donations go through the Desert Caucus).
Food safety violations will be “severely punished,” the food agency said on its website.
Starbucks Corp. on Tuesday said it removed from its shelves sandwiches made with chicken that originated at Husi. Burger King Corp. said it stopped using hamburger it received from a supplier that used product from Husi. Pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s International Inc. announced it stopped using meat from Husi.
In Japan, McDonald’s Corp. said it stopped selling McNuggets at more than 1,300 outlets that used chicken supplied by Husi. It said the Shanghai company had been supplying chicken to it since 2002.