Three of China’s MOST Disgusting Foods

In the past, we have introduced two of China’s most disgusting foods, stinky tofu “臭豆腐” and preserved eggs “皮蛋”. In case you have forgotten, stinky tofu, or “臭豆腐(chòudòufu),” is a dish that smells awful but is actually quite savory. This fried tofu, crispy on the outside but tender inside, is always served with delicious, thick chili sauce which makes it a wonderful delicacy! The “皮蛋(pídàn)” or preserved egg, is something considered even stinker than stinky tofu, and is an egg that has been preserved so long it has turned black. It is quite repulsive on first sight, but is actually very delicious and is used in dietary therapy. If these two dishes don’t have your stomach rolling yet, we have three more frightful dishes to introduce to you!

1. 蚕蛹(cányǒng) Silkworm Pupa

The first on our list is a many-legged insect. Four days after making its cocoon, the silkworm becomes a pupa and is ready for consumption. Although this may sound like a weird thing to eat, silkworms actually have a high nutritional value, and are rich in protein, vitamins and amino acids. They are even considered to have the extraordinary efficacy of holding off the clutches of old age and prolonging life! Fried silkworm pupa is a comparatively precious dish for Chinese people to have on the table, not to mention they are very crisp and delicious. That is, if you are willing to pop one of the crunchy, cockroach-like shells into your mouth!

2. 肥肠(féicháng) Pig’s Intestines

This slimy dish that looks like brains is comprised of a pig’s large intestine. That’s right, the very organ that a pig uses to digest food becomes food. This unusual dish, although rarely eaten in the rest of the world, is very popular in China. This is mostly due to large famines that occurred in Chinese history, forcing the poor peasants to eat any food they had available. It may look disgusting, but after being boiled, the intestine can be transformed into a colorful, delicious dish. It is also a surprisingly nutritious food, and can help with blood clotting and blood flow.

3. 凤爪(fèngzhuǎ) Chicken Feet

The sole component in this dish is, you guessed it, chicken feet. Some might find this dish barf-worthy when they see the cooked chicken feet still look like they do when connected to the chicken. The boney dish that is mainly skin looks practically inedible to someone expecting a big steak, but because of its unique taste, it has become one of Chinese people’s favorite snacks.

If you already know some Chinese, you might be wondering why it is called “凤爪(fèngzhuǎ)” instead of “鸡爪(jīzhuǎ).” This is because, in Guangdong during palace rituals, they would use “凤(fèng),” which means phoenix, to refer to chickens. It is considered to be a more refined name.

In China, you will find that many foods are made using parts of the animal other than just the meat. A very repulsive idea to people who visit China, but the food itself is quite good for you. Do you dare try these dishes?

HSK 3 quiz

1.Which of these dishes is actually just the meat of the animal?
A. 猪肉(zhūròu)
B. 凤爪(fèngzhuǎ)
C. 肥肠(féicháng)
D. 蚕蛹(cányǒng)
2. What is “凤爪(fèngzhuǎ)” made from?
A. The meat of the pig
B. The feet of the pig
C. The meat of the chicken
D. The feet of the chicken

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