Does this make me gay?

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Green Gibbon!
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Does this make me gay?

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Early this year, like in January, I attended a kind of formal dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant. It had the strangest food I'd ever seen, much less attempted to eat. The normalest thing on the table was wakame soup, or at least it was the only thing I could positively identify. One thing in particular I remembered was a kind of brainy-looking off-white thing that was solid like pudding, but immediately became fluid and creamy as soon as you poked it with your chopsticks. It had a kind of dill mayonnaisey taste. It was actually not that bad. I asked a couple of people what it was, and they told me the Japanese name, but I didn't recognize it. I assumed it was a kind of roe - you can buy it at any supermarket - but I always meant to look it up and never got around to it.

Image

So just today I discovered that this is "shirako." Milt. Cod semen. Officially the strangest thing I've ever eaten, though if I'd known what it was beforehand, it would not have made it as far as my mouth.


There's some amazing things that pass for food in this country. Of course you can buy canned whale meat in any supermarket (totally illegal in the states) - I actually would like to try that, but not out of a can. Chicken hearts and livers can be bought in the form of cheap yakitori from vendors outside any supermarket. Beef tongue, a "delicacy" I once thought peculiar to south Louisiana, it turns out is very popular here - you can even buy beef tongue flavored Umaibou. Also in January I ate at a restaurant that had "basashi", horsemeat sashimi, on the menu. In old times bear meat was popular game in these parts and you can apparently still find it in some places (I've never seen it, but I know a guy who professes to like it when he can get it). By far and away my favorite delicacy is uni - sea urchin - though that's apparently an acquired taste.



So anyway, I'm wondering what exotic delicacies and nasty bits the GHZ community has collectively sampled. Surely there must be some (possibly unwitting) adventurous palates around here. I wonder if anyone can top fish jizz.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Popcorn »

I can't deal with uni. I don't even remember what it tastes like; it's the texture, like a ball of snot. But then I struggle with sushi generally. It feels like having someone's tongue in your mouth. It kind of sucks, because I like to consider myself to have a broad palette, but Japan proved otherwise.

You're super gay now btw. Fish gay.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Jingles »

Well, that depends.

Do you like fish sticks?

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Cod are kinda hot, I guess.

The texture of sushi is the hardest thing to get past. It just feels like something you shouldn't be eating. Once I learned to focus on the taste, I discovered it didn't really taste like anything at all... Yeah, I'm not crazy about sushi either, but I've conquered the gag factor, at least. If I'm hungry enough, I'll eat it (except tuna, I won't touch that crap cooked, raw, or otherwise).


Can you handle natto?

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Ritz »

So how exactly does one jerk off a fish, and how many loads does it take for one meal serving? Either that jizz constitutes ⅔ of a cod's body mass or someone very gay worked very hard to prepare that meal for you. Which is more frightening?

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Neo »

I'd just like to state that, for the first time ever, GG! posted something that managed to completely gross me out. Eeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Delphine »

Without bothering to read the post: Yes.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Popcorn »

I still haven't come across natto. I've heard many stories of its horror, though. I'd like to try it.

I'm kind of hooked on umeboshi, the super-sour pickled plum things. The waitress in the cafe next to my apartment used to give me free umeboshi. She ruled.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Popcorn »

I just realised "shirako" means "white children". Kawaii!

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Crisis »

I'm gay and I'd totally eat that. I think the evidence is mounting up, GG!.

I ate a stewed cow's hoof when I was on holiday in Italy. It was ok. You had to scrape the meat and jelly off of the bone and collagen. The meat just tasted like regular beef. The jelly was flavourful but not as exciting as I'd hoped. It was just a kind of gooey stew that you had to cut off the bone.

Beef tongue has fallen out of fashion, but I gather it used to be fairly common, in Europe at least.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Locit »

Delphine wrote:Without bothering to read the post: Yes.
Popcorn wrote:I just realised "shirako" means "white children". Kawaii!
Also: Uni's gross. It tastes like assholes. Tuna's great.

I think that seals the deal.

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Post by Isuka »

Popcorn wrote:I'm kind of hooked on umeboshi, the super-sour pickled plum things. The waitress in the cafe next to my apartment used to give me free umeboshi. She ruled.
My 2nd or 3rd year Japanese teacher gave me an umeboshi once. Maybe I just wasn't prepared for the taste and had a bite thinking it was going to be sweet, or just mildly sour or something, but the fact of the matter is that it was the absolutely grossest thing I've ever eaten so far.

And I had to eat it all up since I was still in the classroom.

I probably gobbled down a couple of these to get the taste off of my mouth afterwards.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Crowbar »

Man, I've never understood how people can find sashimi (I assume this is what people really mean when they say this about "sushi") hard to palate. I never had a problem with it, and would happily gobble down any amount of almost anything I was given. Never knew about shirako, but I'd try it given the chance.

Here's something neat: frog sashimi. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOUnjB6SPxE

I've heard alot about natto. Descriptions of its taste seem to range from cheese, to snot and vomit. I've even seen people swear it's some sick joke japanese people play on foreigners by claiming it's a delicacy in order to trick them into eating it. One of the japanese girls I house-shared with for a year often had the little packs of the stuff in the fridge, though, so I'm pretty sure that's baloney. What do those here who've actually eaten it think of it?

Sadly I've never actually tried anything more interesting than what's already been mentioned in this thread. I had horse steak once, it was kinda bland. I have vague memories of my parents having kangaroo and crocodile when I was a kid and letting me sample it, but I don't remember anything in particular about the flavour or texture.

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Post by Popcorn »

Isuka wrote:
Popcorn wrote:I'm kind of hooked on umeboshi, the super-sour pickled plum things. The waitress in the cafe next to my apartment used to give me free umeboshi. She ruled.
My 2nd or 3rd year Japanese teacher gave me an umeboshi once. Maybe I just wasn't prepared for the taste and had a bite thinking it was going to be sweet, or just mildly sour or something, but the fact of the matter is that it was the absolutely grossest thing I've ever eaten so far.
Yeah, Yuki seemed kind of impressed I like them so much, but I find them far less challenging than a lot of food I've seen in Japan. (What are those dried fish flakes things called again? They kind of dissolve and collapse into membrane-like goo... and the way they start dissolving on the plate makes them look so much like writhing maggots. Asia makes me a wuss.) But I love pickles in general and sour flavours so I'm predisposed to loving umeboshi. My sister gave me some kind of atomic ultra-sour gumball once that she and her friends were expecting to actually make my skull cave in and I didn't break a sweat. I've been chowing down on them ever since. If you eat too many they give you ulcers and make your tongue bleed. :chu: :chu: :chu: :chu:

I'm also a sucker for heat. It got a bit out of hand for a while. I started putting those tiny birdseye chilis in everything I ate, including sandwiches (raw). Then I just stopped kidding myself and would eat them straight with a beer or slices of cheddar. I had to cut it out when my colleagues observed that at 11am each morning I would disappear to the toilets to pay penance. I didn't even notice I was so regular until they pointed it out.

I've had to ban myself from buying this stuff because if I do I just eat it straight out of the jar in one sitting and then have to take a day off work:

Image

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Umeboshi's not weird, I devour that shit. But yeah, I also love sour things. I've become notorious at work for bringing strange snacks to share. The first response I get when I offer anything to anyone is usually "It's not spicy, is it?" or "Is it normal?"

I tried natto only once. It is the sort of thing I could imagine eventually cultivating a taste for, but the time and effort that would require don't seem worth the payoff.

I ate a stewed cow's hoof when I was on holiday in Italy.
I would love to see a picture of this.

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Post by Senbei »

My brother and my father both love natto. I'll ... eat it, but not happily. Umeboshi by itself is too much, but it's great in onigiri.

Tuna salad sushi is the best sushi, followed closely by kappamaki. The raw fish stuff is great so long as you've got the right condiments, basically just soy sauce and wasabi.

I'm generally able to weird people out by saying I've eaten tako, which isn't bad as long as you're okay with the texture. Takoyaki's actually pretty good.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by cjmcray »

In the words of Dr. Robotnik: "YOU FISH FONDLING FRUITCAKE."

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Tako's one of those things that's so incredibly normal here I forgot I ever considered it weird in the first place. Sweets nothwithstanding, takoyaki is my #1 favorite Japanese food.

I just remembered actually a couple years ago I joined a winter hike on Mt. Iwate and one of the old guys there cooked a soup with whole chicken feet. I didn't try it.


Where do they eat dog? Is that China or Korea?

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Crisis »

A Chinese buffet in Cardiff was closed down recently for serving Alsatian meat. I never went there, but my flatmate did. He said it was the best Chinese he'd ever had.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by gr4yJ4Y »

I've tried all kinds of crazy Japanese food over the years. I can't remember half their names because I usually only hear it the one time and never again. They always sound like randomly arranged syllables at the time (although I guess this is all a language is to an outsider). Often I'd let the dish enter my stomach without knowing exactly what it was and let it stay that way to prevent it from coming back up.
Green Gibbon! wrote:I just remembered actually a couple years ago I joined a winter hike on Mt. Iwate and one of the old guys there cooked a soup with whole chicken feet. I didn't try it.
Chicken feet isn't too bad. It tastes pretty similar to regular dark chicken meat, maybe a bit more rubbery. There's also not a lot of meat on the foot, making the amount of work to eat it not worth the payoff. The version of chicken feet I had was at dim sum and they were selling it as "phoenix talons".

Nattou has a very garbagey taste to it. It tastes like the smell after a hot summer garbage day. There's also a bit of nuttiness to it. I probably drank close to a gallon of water and a plethora of different kinds of food in the eight hours after trying it, but nothing would extinguish its awful aftertaste.

I think the alcoholic beverage called the "rob roy" is the worst thing I've ever tasted. Although someone said the sip I had wasn't made correctly.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Locit »

Green Gibbon! wrote:I just remembered actually a couple years ago I joined a winter hike on Mt. Iwate and one of the old guys there cooked a soup with whole chicken feet. I didn't try it.


Where do they eat dog? Is that China or Korea?
Just so we're clear here: chicken feet no, fish semen yes.

Just so we're clear.

People in both China and Korea eat dog, but I think it occupies a different culinary niche in each country. In China it's basically just something to eat, because dogs are animals and all animals exist for the use of humans. So, the thinking goes, if you can get dog meat cheap, go for it. (Government-supplied subtext: unless westerners will see it, then clean that shit up or call it beef or something, come on, guys don't make us send in the goon squad a-fucking-gain.) In South Korea it has a role a little more like horse meat does in Japan: it's sensitive, and probably looked at askance by a good number of people, but it's also got the shield of tradition protecting it along with a sizable chunk of people who just goddamn love eating dog meat. So it's probably not going anywhere. That's been my impression, anyway. If anyone knows more about South Korean dog-eating practices, speak up!

Re: chicken feet, they're pretty commonly eaten in China. I haven't had any offers yet, but I don't think I'd have any problem with it--I at least know they're rubbery already, which is the sort of thing I like to know beforehand.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Just so we're clear here: chicken feet no, fish semen yes. Just so we're clear.
Well yeah, I knew what the chicken feet were!

I have to admit, up until now, if I'd gone into a clean, legitimate restaurant, I would not have been apt to assume that anything on the menu was comprised of the reproductive fluid of a living creature. I should've known better than to overestimate Japan's sense of taste when it comes to seafood. If it comes from the ocean, they'll eat it. I don't doubt whale turds are on the menu somewhere.

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Locit »

Yeah, I'm just kind of needling you. And you like takoyaki, so obviously you have a refined palette. But now you've got me curious about how big milt is in Japan. And it can't just be cod semen, right?
wikipedia wrote:In Japanese cuisine, the milt (白子 shirako 'white children') of cod (tara), anglerfish (anko) and pufferfish (fugu) are a delicacy.
Huh. Somehow it's not hard for me to picture someone somewhere in Japan seeing a fish like this
Image
and thinking, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna have me some of that thing's semen."

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Delphine »

Locit wrote:Yeah, I'm just kind of needling you
gay

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Re: Does this make me gay?

Post by Popcorn »

I met a JET teacher today and we discussed weird Japanese food. I told her Gibbon's gay fish semen story. She then recounted a completely harrowing story that tops anything here by some distance. Her Japanese colleagues took her to a restaurant to eat turtle. The chef arrived, placed a live turtle on the table, cut it in half leaving it alive to drag itself around by its front legs and left the diners to pull entrails from its body and knock back glasses of fresh turtle blood. They apparently found this tremendously amusing. As a vegetarian and human being she found this challenging to witness.

It sounds like something anti-Japanese WW2 propaganda would report but I have every reason to trust this person is telling the truth. I've never heard anything so extreme before though.

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