With my willingness to eat foods outside of my Western comfort zone.
Tonight, at school dinner, I ate two things from the list of the ten deadliest foods in the world. One of them, I didn't even know was dangerous.
Yes, that's right, that means I knowingly ate ONE deadly food.
But, it's a Korean delicacy: live octopus.
Why is it deadly?
It's still squirming around on the plate after they cut it up. You're supposed to chew it really well before swallowing, or it could potentially sucker itself to your throat and kill you. Really, though, it's just incredibly tough and chewy, and has a weird texture.
Just like the live sea cucumber I also ingested tonight--which is like chewing on leather--and the raw mystery animal--which was also chewy. Both were still alive and still squirming.
The hardest part about eating these foods? The fact that they're really hard to pick up with chopsticks. You try using two metal sticks to pick up a slimy piece of food that is wriggling around... also, resisting the urge to just take the whole plate and poke at the wiggly bits all night.
The "deadly" food that I was not aware was deadly was the blood clam I ate tonight:
Follow this link for a picture of the blood clams (There is also a little blurb about the live octopus)
That link also has a description of why the blood clams are so dangerous. Apparently, despite my co-teacher's inability to translate what we were eating, and my insistently asking her over and over again if it was blood that was all over the plate, and her insistence that it wasn't... it was.
And, I ate it.
No one thought I would, and I was actually one of the few who did...
Probably because I was unaware that the food we were eating was blamed for a hepatitis outbreak in Shanghai, and resultantly made illegal.
That's enough to make me not want to eat it. Oh, and the fact that that wasn't sauce... IT WAS BLOOD.
It was slimy, and chewy... slightly crunchy in a chewing on cartilage kind of way, and it tasted like blood and salt. Why is this a delicacy?
So much blood...
We also had sashimi for dinner, which was not alive, just raw.
After dinner, the vice principal came around and talked to each table, when she got to our table, she looked at me sadly and said something about "Tara" and "raw fishee." My co-teacher retorted by saying something about the blood clams, to which the VP looked incredibly shocked, and went to fetch the principal.
My co-teacher explained to me that the VP thought I hadn't eaten anything because I can't eat raw fish, which my co-teacher refuted by telling her that I did eat dinner and that I even ate a blood clam.
The VP had gone to find the principal so that she could tell him that I ate one of the blood clams.
They both returned and praised me and even applauded.
It's weird when people are impressed with your willingness to eat things that you have no idea what they are. It's also weird when someone assumes you won't eat sashimi, because you're a foreigner, and, OBVIOUSLY, foreigners can't eat sashimi, because it's raw fish.
Anyways, here's hoping I live to blog again.
If not... typhoid or dysentery is not a fun disease, learn from my mistakes, don't eat the blood clams... it was nice getting to know you all.