tasty bytes from China

September 2013
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Foods from the Flipside
Filed under: Culture, Food
Posted by: @ 6:01 pm

If you’re hungry in Kunming, there is never a shortage of edibles. Downtown, you’ll see a gridlock of food vendors including spicy lotus slices, pineapple pops, and stir fried squid. My favorite has to be the fruit.


Yes, this is real fruit and not an excerpt from a Dr. Seuss book. You might recognize the permissions, grapes, and tangerines, but what are the other things? Are they GMO rejects?


This gigantic spiky looking thing is a jack fruit. It’s bigger than most watermelons. The fruit guy shreds the insides looking for the slippery “jacks”. They are sunshine yellow, taste like marshmallow and have the texture of a banana peel.


Inside each jack is a slippery pit about the size of an almond.

Here are some pomegranates. Yum! They are big in Kunming and come in several juicy colors.


This spiky citrus things are called buddha fingers.  I have no idea how they taste. They look like too much work to remove the rind.  Behind the finger fruit is a red spiky thing. This is dragon fruit. Inside the fushcia shell is a white kiwi like fruit.

And this one? These reptilian  looking balls are a mystery to me. Are they alien eggs or edibles?

These are deep purple mystery to me. If I knew how to eat one, I think I’d try it.


Here’s durian. I can’t resist it. It it pungent in the same way fine French cheese is stinky.  Durian is a bit mushier than an avocado but firmer than a banana. The taste? Tutti Fruitti.  A little papaya, little marshmallow, little overly ripe banana. Jeff won’t let it in the house so every time I see a cart, I indulge.
In front of the jack fruit are pomeloes, They resemble grapefruit on steroids. The skin is spongy and thick like fat on a good steak. When you purchase one, the vendors will skin it for you. If not, you’ll have a tough time reaching the orangy-grapefruity sections.

But as hard as I try, I can’t find any Michigan blueberries or Flamin’ Fury peaches.

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Filed under: Culture, Fashion
Posted by: @ 3:44 am


Just how drunk to you have to be to get a tattoo in China?

There are easier ways to die.

Hepatitis was probably birthed at this tattootery, a hole in the wall  located in the windy little
streets of Kunming, near the HUMP hostel.

The good news is, is if you need a liver transplant, you
probably can buy one somewhere in this maze, right next to the guy who sells
pig faces.


It looks like you can get a little acupuncture done at this ink shop as well.Check out the poster of the pin cushion lady on the wall.

I know several young westerners who got the Chinese version
of the tramp stamp, otherwise known at the Expat tat. Usually, they get their Chinese name placed around
their ankle to be different like everyone else.

This guy is getting his ink done in a place where he can’t see it. So
that begs for the question: why get the tat in the first place?


The only time I’ve been to an ink shop was in Chicago and
that was because a kid stole my wallet. He used my credit card to buy a nipple


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Taboo Topics
Filed under: Chenglish, Culture
Posted by: @ 4:05 pm


OK. We’re all
grown ups. We know in China there are a few things you don’t talk about.
Politics. Religion. Security guards smoking bongs.

But in this
land of strict rules, there is one off color topic that’s given the green light
every time.


Talking about
la du zi (diarrhea)
拉肚子 is  as acceptable as talking about bootleg DVDs. You compare
crampy symptons and exchange remedies,  like
digesting local honey,  eating your weight in bananas to
the last resort, Tinidazole, which is a nuclear bomb to your intestines.


Let’s back trak—or
butt track. If cleanliness is next to godliness, China is definitely an atheist
country. The entire country smells like that old refrigerator in your garage
that needs to be cleaned. According to chacha (the most reliable news source on
the internet), there’s over ten billion germs for each person. Times that by
the billion plus people in China and you have over one trillion bugs floating around.
So even if I slather myself with Watson’s hand
 sanitizer (which claims to kill 99% of all bacteria)
there’s still one million bugs left to cause havoc on my system.

So I’m doomed to get it and so is every other expat who doesn’t have an immune system of a cock roach.

We openly discuss what to do when la du zi strikes, each with our country’s unique remedy.
A Korean swears on rice porridge. A Texan pushes Gatorade.
 An Irish swears off dairy.

Then I open my


Admit it.
Those dots and wings come in handy in when you have a fifty-fifty chance that
the fart is more than a fart. And I’m not just talking about the ladies.
 A few women I know admit that the men in their
lives have worn pads on those anal leaky days.

And it’s not a taboo idea. It’s a big one. Procter & Gamble can replace the girly logo and flowery scent with skulls and crossbones then rename them Shart Skins.

You could introduce another product, too, called the Schmitten. You guessed it. It’s a disposable Ove Glove for the back door.

Or maybe not.

Below are a few other phrases of pin yin pooh talk, used mostly for insults.

Pool of pig
droppings Joo fuen chse

Niou-Se Cow

Ri shao gou
shi bing Pile of sun-baked dog poo

Shi’ung Zhu
Pi Yi Yung Like a pig’s fart


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Hamburger Heaven Continued
Filed under: Culture, Food
Posted by: @ 1:40 am

Here are pictures from this morning. I think if I would have been there an hour earlier, it would have been real ugly.


This young lady was cleaning the meat. And i thought cleaning a few perch left a big mess.


Hey! You left your feet on the ground!


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Hamburger Heaven
Filed under: Culture, Food
Posted by: @ 5:06 pm



In China, you really can’t complain about not getting fresh meat.
Sometimes, it ’s too fresh.
Take for instance this Muslim eatery on the back way to our health club. (The street looks like a page ripped out of National Geographic magazine, with bicycles, vendors and taxis all competing for the skinny road space).
But this bovine is shaking, knowing that he will soon listed as the Daily Special.
Sure enough, a few days later, I saw my hoofed friend again. But this time, he was on the menu board.
American beef is usually aged. Chinese beef, while fresh, might leave a bit to be desired to the American palate.



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