Dogs are loyal. Dogs are cute. Dogs are human’s best companion. And in Yulin, China, dogs are also food during the Yulin Dog Festival, a long, ingrained tradition in the small city of Guangxi.
Said to ward off evil spirits and to mark the Summer Solstice, the annual festival draws global attention from animal lovers and activists alike. Dogs are abused, tortured and skinned alive as part of the “marinating” process before they are consumed with lychee wine. If you are revolted by this tradition, we look at 7 other dishes available in China that will make you squirm in fear. Images may be graphic to some.
1) Monkey’s Brain
The live monkey is kept in a cage with only the head popping out of the table. The monkey is hammered to death or unconsciousness, and the skull is split open to unveil the brains. The dish has been banned in China but they can still be found in some parts of Guang Dong, albeit at a very high price. The dish is often a status symbol; the rich orders it to show off their wealth.
2) Drunken Prawn
Literally “drunken” in every sense of the word – these poor prawns are soaked in wine while it is still alive, and served while it is still alive. You will have to ruthlessly twist the head of the prawn off while it is still alive, and enjoy the alcohol-soaked prawn in its twitchy state.
3) Tiger Penis Soup
A dish that requires a few months of reservation, the Tiger Penis Soup is said to boost the men’s sex drive and for treating all sorts of other ailments. This exotic dish contravenes with the wildlife conservation laws, hence the hefty price tag – $400 for a small bowl, large serving can go up to $5,700.
Said to taste like the beach at its low tide, the Starfish is another common street food in China. One is expected to break the legs of the starfish, split the leg open, and suck out the squishy, greenish mass that hides within (tutorial here). Some likened it to sea urchins and crab roe, we can’t say the same unless we try it…
5) Deep-fried Spiders
These massive arachnids are common street food – deep-fried and served crispy. Thank God these tarantulas weren’t eaten alive though.
6) Half-Alive Carp
Sounds harmless but the way the poor fish is prepared is unbearably painful. The head of the fish is wrapped with wet cloth to keep it alive, while the rest of the fish is deep-fried and finally, piping hot sauces are poured over the half-alive fish for flavor. Here’s a video of the dish in China – #foodporn anyone?
7) Baby Foetus Soup
We pray that this is just a terrible, awful hoax because it concerns human rights and cannibalism. Dead foetus soup is said to improve stamina, overall health and enhance sexual performance. Also a dish that requires weeks of reservation because of its nature – dead foetuses are not easy to come by. Priced at $400 a bowl, the cost varies with the type of foetus used – those aborted nine months or later costs more, male foetuses are generally more expensive too. With that said, the dish is not exactly popular, majority of Chinese do advocate against it.
Writer: Leong Chee Sheng
Image credits as linked