Pigs hearts.  At a large supermarket in Wuchang, Wuhan City, Hubei Province. 

I first saw these in a supermarket in Wuhan, and ever since wondered what people did with them, or if they really ate them at all. 

And frogs.  Even Waitrose can’t beat this for freshness.  I’m not sure a “Still breathing” counter would be much of a winner in the UK.  

Pigs ears.  I‘ve eaten it a few times since.  Like bacon rashers without the meat.  Or the fat.  Pretty much like the rind I guess...

And pig colon.  Just the colon.  Any other part just wouldn’t be the same.  Except the pooh perhaps…..

And lets not forget some smoked dried chicken.  Whole.  The neck comes in very handy for tying the labels on. 

Ahhhhh….   Cutey wutey little baby chicken wickens……    Roasted.       If that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s some good old fashioned chicken feet behind. 

The above three were taken in Jingzhou City, Hubei Province. 

Indoor market.  If you see this in China, you know you are going to need your camera.  People don’t like you taking pics much though…  had to be discreet and turn the flash off. 

This market was in Hankou, also in Wuhan City, Hubei Province. 

Pigeons, I think.  Again, they don’t come fresher than this... 

Don’t fancy some pigeon?   Don’t worry, there’s a whole lot more to choose from. This counter, and another one further down, also had live ducks and what seemed like several varieties of chickens, although I guess they were just different colours.  I didn’t have to wait very long before the woman behind the counter grabbed one of the chickens and put it out of it’s misery.  Another satisfied customer went on his way...

A crate of shellfish.  And these ones were running about all over the place, and they had massive claws.  A photo just isn’t the same...

This seems quite attractive doesn’t it?   If so, you’ve been mistaken by the veg, in reality they have completely overdone the garlic.  I think this is a bit strong by anyone’s standards.   A restaurant near Wudang Mountain, Hubei Province.

I love this picture.  A whole bucket of mini-crabs.  And they conveniently put a lettuce leaf there for scale.  And you could tell they were fresh, they were going mental.

More frogs.  Last time I wondered how they didn’t escape, but these are tied to a stone in the bottom.  This group of photos are all outside small restaurants in Dali, in Yunnan Province. 

Snails.  It’s getting a bit like France this...

Eel-type things. 

No idea what these little fish were.  You could have a whole bucket if you wanted though...

All these small buckets with disgusting things  were next to large areas of quite normal food, so it’s obviously quite normal for them...

Street stalls are surely the universities of weird food.  These are maggots. 

And some Colon.  This place was one we ate at actually, and what we chose was very nice.  We didn’t eat this though… 

A pot of birds.  I think they were pigeons, but I’m not sure.  The owner was happy to explain the Chinese names of all his food though…

I don’t know what they are…  I’ve stopped asking. 

Same for this lot.

Outside small restaurants in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. 

Live crabs seem a bit mundane now, but I just liked the way this one was trying to do a runner…   Supermarket in Hong Kong. 

The Korean guy I was with said he didn’t think this shellfish stuck to the side of a restaurant window looked disgusting at all.  Whatever…      Restaurant in Macau. 

Not that shocking anymore.   A restaurant in the Hong Kong Island Airport check-in.   Actually, I bet these were probably quite nice, don’t know why I put the picture up…  

Box of dried starfish.   OK, so it’s only medicinal, but they still eat the stuff. 

This place was obviously having a run on deer antlers. 

I thought these were tongues, but a nice guy who spoke English told me they were deer tails.  Here is a whole fridge of them.

I’ll have a bag of dried Sea-Horses please...

My favourite one, dried lizard.  They are on frames made of kebab sticks.  The same guy as before told me this is very good for the kidneys.

Lots of shops had them, this one had two tubs full of them outside. 

I first thought these were pigs trotters, but the legs seem a bit long, so maybe they were deer hoofs. 

Unidentified.  They were about the size and shape of crabs shells, but weren’t all symmetrical.  Who knows...

I neglected this page for a long time.  But don’t worry, I have been patiently collecting little snippets of disgusting Chinese food all this time, and here they are.    I now understand why some people can be vegetarians.   This page is dedicated to all those animals who suffered…   and to the ones I ate anyway. 

This was my first ever experience of a Sichuan hotpot.  These days I love hotpot, and it’s my favourite meal out, however, these pictures illustrate the problems of the difference between ‘Chinese food’ and ‘Chinese food’, if you know what I mean.  We only scratch the surface of real Chinese food in the UK.  Thank God.  No one would eat this stuff back in Old Blighty… 

Duck intestines.  Tastes a bit like a rubber band.  Except you wouldn’t have done a pooh through the rubber band beforehand, obviously…

Pig’s brains.  Well, if you could afford it, why wouldn’t you?


But the chef cuts it in an interesting way so that it comes out spikey.  This ones tastes like a car tyre. 

Oooh, this looks a bit more promising, is that a type of tofu?

Oh, it’s congealed duck’s blood.   Actually, you wouldn’t believe what a huge lunch I had today, really.  Darling, order me another beer will you, and get one for yourself, I’ll help if you can’t finish… 

Duck tongue.  More Michelin tyre tenderness, only on the bone this time. 

They’re not joking, they really like this stuff.  Brains.

Now what’s this delicate little morsel, so nicely presented…?

Oh dear…  

At least someone likes it.  Thanks darling… 

At a Beijing Roast Duck restaurant in Chengdu. 

The above were all taken at a mid-range Hotpot restaurant in Chengdu. 

Listen mate, I can get you as far as the ferry, then after that you’re on your own.   Shall we try for it?

The answers always come in the end.  The wedding of one of Rui’s cousins in Zigong. 

They were very happy to show me how good it all was, although they could see I wasn’t that fussed myself. 

Those white things were hard-boiled quails eggs however, which are a favourite of mine.  In order to show willing, I completely demolished them instead. 

If in doubt, stick to the more staple foods on offer.  There were plenty of chicken feet for anyone who was too fussy for anything else. 

The smaller the restaurant, the weirder the food… 

Actually these next few restaurants weren’t one’s I ate at. 

Well, if you can’t tell what’s going on in the restaurants, maybe it’s best to try a supermarket and go back to basics for a bit?

An indoor market near Mong Kok, Hong Kong. 

One chance, and I’ll make a run for it. 

One sight of me taking pictures and the owner quickly demonstrates her concern for animal welfare by dousing them with a few buckets of water and giving them a firm stir with her gloved hand. 

Crabs.  Presumably not tied up to make them look pretty, but to prevent them from running away. 

They’ve cracked a couple open so you can check the freshness. 

As Rolf Harris said, “Can you guess what it is yet?”

Some other little knick-knacks..  

Did you guess it, mate?

Indoor market near the Flower Market, Hong Kong. 

Duck heads, marinated and roasted to perfection. 

Do you want colon with that, sir?

But these were taken back in good-old Chengdu:

People say, including people back home, that cooking on the bone really brings out the flavour.  I think, however, whole roasted rabbit skulls is possibly overdoing it slightly. 

Stomachs.  I think she said they were pig, but I may be wrong. 

And surely nothing beats some traditional Chinese Medicine…  

All taken on Hong Kong Island.

Dried octopus. 

Not sure.     As is so often the case. 

But surely this is all just fancy stuff for rich business-types.  What about a quick bit of ‘food on the go’?

Service station.  Chicken feet.  So common, hardly worth bothering with. 

And then this service station, with what turned out to be a bit of a classic.  On the left is dog-meat, and on the right is donkey meat.  This was in Henan Province, on the way to Hua Shan from Luoyang. 

I decided to do it, and so away I came with a vacuum packed lump of dog meat. 

At our next meal stop, I decided to have a look.  One of the Chinese ladies in the group was checking to see if it was a good quality manufacturer.  

The thing which made me chuckle, was that the waitresses are obviously quite used to people bringing their own food.   So I hardly got the inner packet open, and she came trotting up, and whisked it away for the chef to cut it up and present it properly. 

HA!   So what would you have done if you’d seen all the other stuff at the dinner table and no-one else had told you what this was?    Doesn’t look so bad at a quick glance does it?   If it was between the turtle, pig brains, or this little bit of filleted meat, what would you have done?

If the next Western restaurant is a 10-hour drive away, are you going to stage an unofficial protest against globalization for the next 11-months?  

You only know when you’ve tried...

Kevin Munns


Disgusting Chinese Foods

Disgusting Food

Here’s what happened.  I went home during the summer for the passing of a friend, and when the rest of us got together in the end we started chatting about everything else, as you do.  When mentioning that I had gained weight, my best friend Simon said he couldn’t believe that I had gained weight, since all the food in China was terrible.  He said he knew it was, because I had put photographs of it all on my website.  Now this, clearly, needs to be sorted out. 

The problem is this: there is ‘Chinese food’  and then ‘Chinese food’, if you get my meaning.  OK, let’s put it another way:  I don’t eat any of the stuff I put on this page so far.  However, I got fat, as there’s loads of other stuff that you can eat, which costs less than 2 pounds British for more than you can possibly eat at that.  For this page to be a bit more balanced, therefore, I need a few photos of that stuff as well… 

Second Wind

September 2012,  Chengdu.

I used to think the issue was about culture.  We eat this, they don’t like it.  They eat that, we think it’s disgusting.  But, it turns out I was wrong. 

It turns out that they eat tons of great food, and it hardly costs a penny.  The problem is, without knowing the local lingo, you’ll never find it. 

Take the beef noodles in the photo above.  The restaurant looked like a poorly maintained shelter for the homeless.  It was in a not-so-clean backstreet.  The menu is in Chinese only.  Not only did the boss, obviously, not speak English, but, as is so often the case at these greasy spoon restaurants in Sichuan, the boss can’t even speak a word of Mandarin Chinese.   For the first two or three years when I was learning Chinese, therefore, I had to rely on a translator / friend;  first to sort out the good restaurants from the bad, then to translate to the boss in local dialect.   Over time, however, I built up a collection of places which I know do fantastic food, like these noodles, and all for only 7RMB, or about 70 British Pence.   The chances of stumbling across this as a tourist, sadly, is nearly zero.   Due to the low to moderate risk of severe gastroenteritis, by the way, any tour guide who took a Western tourist to a place like this would be fired by lunchtime the next day.  That would be a few minutes after your hotel phoned the tour company to enquire about insurance details.  After you’ve been here a while longer, however, you become immune, and the world is, well, your oyster, so to speak. 

With a freshly hardened stomach, the sky is the limit.  This is a long-established ‘jiaozi’ (a type of dumpling) restaurant which I go to every couple of weeks.  So far I’ve never spent more than 20 RMB, and each time I come away stuffed. 

The sauce, which you mix yourself, is important.  I prefer slightly more vinegar and slightly less soy-sauce,  and some spicy-oil.  The different sauces, however, are only labelled in Chinese, so could end up a bit random if you’re not careful. 

Tell me it doesn’t make you hungry…

The above picture is a different restaurant also selling ’jiaozi’.  This I have been to nearly every week for the last 2 or 3 years, so much so that last year the boss actually gave me a Christmas present to take back to the UK.  This one gets a lot of posts on travel websites for Chinese tourists, and is right in the centre of town, so a lot of the other customers are not from Sichuan.  The boss informs me however, that since an American regular left 2 years ago, I am the only foreign customer.  Shame. 

And these are Yibin noodles.  Yibin is a city in Sichuan, by the way.  This restaurant is right outside one of the schools I go to, and I got so hooked on eating these that I went there twice a week without fail for two years straight.  Sadly, I think I overdid it, as I started going to the jiaozi restaurant above sometimes for a break. 

These days, to try and wean myself off the noodles, I also have a bowl of, well, dumpling things.  ‘Chaoshou’.  There’s no English translation.  Fabulous, but yes, the soup is a bit spicy. 

Another interesting aside:  My sister and partner came this year for a visit, and he’s got Celiac Disease (no wheat allowed).  I thought this would be easy, since most Chinese people eat rice.  When I started chatting to the cooks in these places, however, I discovered that I had accidentally chosen the small handful of restaurants in each area which mainly do wheat-based food, which all of the food in this section above is.  Now, was that a co-incidence, or do Westerners just naturally prefer wheat?  Who knows.   He got a flare-up on day three and my sister got gastro-enteritis on day four so we never got anywhere near these places anyway. 

And the old classic - hotpot.  This nicely sums up the problem.  The first photo on this page is also hotpot.  It was terrible.  This hotpot place is near the apartment and is simply fantastic.  The difference is this - as soon as I see the menu I grab it, and make sure I order all the food.  Since there’s only one menu, that means no-one else gets a look-in. 

That sounds rude.  It is.  But there’s one saving grace:  the food that me, and most Westerners like, just happen to be the cheapest items on the whole menu.  Potato slices, lotus root slices, boiled quails eggs (cheap over here), etc, etc.  A couple of meat dishes and heaven arrives on a table-top.  When I brought Mum and Dad here two years ago Dad says it was one of the best meals he had ever had.  And you only have to look at him to know he’s eaten quite a few. 

Thinly sliced mutton, dipped in the boiling pot for about 60 seconds and you’re done.  Perfect.  This whole meal, admittedly, would be about 100 RMB per person.  That’s why I only go once a month.  But the price still didn't stop me gaining weight.  Amen.

Disgusting Food


So, I thought to myself, a few pictures of decent food, like the ones above, should redress the balance between fair-comment and an unfair rant.  In fact, I was wondering if I had originally just been a really miserable old bugger, so much so that I wasn’t even qualified to write anything on the internet for others to see in the first place.  I was just a bigoted big-nose who imposed my shallow Western standards on others without any thought.  Chinese people should hate people like me for being so biased against a poor developing country like China.  Stupid foreigners with their gunships and McDonald’s.  I even began to hate myself. 

Then I woke up and smelt the coffee (as if you can get any decent coffee round here, mind you).

Page 39 of the Chengdu Business Daily, in the ‘Health’ section (health for goodness sake, the cheek of it), a full article on ‘herbal caterpillars’.  Caterpillars, I ask you. 

The headline even has the gall to point out that caterpillars are even more expensive than gold these last few years, and compares some expensive varieties, some of which are more than 400 RMB for one caterpillar.  MORE THAN 400 FOR ONE! 

Being China, the article isn’t halfway through and all the analysis is of how to spot fake caterpillars and avoid being ripped off by people selling Tibetan caterpillars which are actually grown in Xinjiang Province.  Excuse me for saying so, but a caterpillar is a God-damned caterpillar.  The height of all scandals is to eat a caterpillar and then to discover it was actually made of bean-paste instead.  Oh yes, because, I’d be, you know, eating a caterpillar with my eyes closed, and, like, be so upset that it was made of red-bean-paste. 

Forget what I said before, anyone who eats this should die early and go to Hell.   There. 

I do, by the way, have some much more intellectually reflective pages on my website about China, not least a page about learning Chinese, which may actually assist in not stumbling across all this funny food in the first place.  Feel free to take a look. 

Text Box: Dancing      Dentistry      Travelling      Contact Me

I made it so that this page gets slightly worse as you go down…  don’t give up