Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What exactly are you serving?!

Growing up in mid century America, everyday fare was mundane at best. At Ethel's house, adventuresome dining involved a plate of Spaghetti or Chop Suey. As I matured so did my palate. Today as many of our friends know, Frank and I will eat almost anything. That's because over the years we've learned that looks and smells can often be deceiving. My experience is that delicious can often be initially unappetizing. In order to be blown away, your palate must be brave!
The first time I dined on Petai beans, I struggled. You see... they truly smell like vomit.
A dietary delicacy in Malaysia
or Sri Lanka, they are an
acquired taste. Scent aside,
I adore these sweet, savory,
and slightly addictive legumes.
Nothing is as delicious as a bowl of Chicken Feet Soup. These tender morsels create a broth that is so rich that you can't help but want more. While nibbling around teeny tiny bones can initially be challenging, their sweet flesh is beyond amazing.
In Chicago we frequented a Korean diner where they dished out "Hangover Soup". It's fragrance reminds one of the oft result of a drunken night. Aroma aside, this tasty concoction soothes this savage beast.
Nobody ever seems to know that Sweetbreads are actually a calf's thymus or pancreas. Whenever I crave this culinary delight I rush down to "PO", Mario Battaglia's original cafe in the West Village. There they serve up a piquant pasta laced with perfectly prepared sweetbreads. Who knew that heaven was awaiting us all on Cornelia Street?!
Our love for Fu Gua is well known. This bitter gourd is more than a delicacy, it's a compulsion! Over the years we've acclimated to their taste and the thrill is no longer the same. That said, it's fun to watch a "virgin" take their first bite...
Most Americans assume Shrimp are curly white morsels that reside atop crushed ice but they're missing the best part. Honestly, deep fried Shrimp Heads are beyond delicious. Close your eyes (and theirs)
and go ahead, dig in!