Unusual But Delicious Chinese Foods: Do You Dare Try Them?

Unusual But Delicious Chinese Foods: Do You Dare Try Them?

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

China is famous for a variety of foods and unique ways of cooking them. We wanted to introduce you to a few unique, but delicious Chinese foods that we have eaten personally and that are considered to be delicacies in China. They are expensive and are usually eaten in authentic Chinese restaurants and/or just on special occasions.

Century Eggs (Chinese: 皮蛋; Pinyin: pídàn): These eggs are made by preserving chicken eggs, duck eggs, or other eggs with clay, salt, ash quicklime (a calcium-containing mineral), and rice hulls stored in a cool environment for several months. Through this process, the eggs become a dark greenish-grey color. People like to eat these eggs because they have a unique flavor. Century eggs are not just eaten by themselves; they are also used to add flavor to other dishes. For example, century eggs are used in a porridge called Congee that also contains rice and lean meat. 

Century eggs with pickled ginger. (Photo from flickr.com.)

Daniel Y: “I was four years old when I tried century eggs for the first time. At first, they tasted way too flavorful, and I wasn’t used to that. Then I took another bite and thought it tasted delicious. I love century eggs because their special taste is unforgettable.”

Pipi Shrimp: Pipi shrimp (皮皮虾) is one of the oldest animals that existed since the Jurassic time period. Pipi shrimp has a strange body structure that does not look like a regular shrimp; it looks like a shrimp that has giant armor. It’s a really strong predator that will eat anything. They were used as bait until someone discovered how to bake them so that they would taste really good. At first, not many people were aware of this kind of food. However, as time passed and this shrimp became popular in markets, more and more people started eating it. People started to think that it was a lobster because of its color and the shell around it. Chinese cooks added delicious sauces to be served with Pipi shrimp, some were spicy, others were sweet and sour. Thus, this shrimp was soon in high demand in China because of the sauces and the belief that it was a cheap version of lobster. It was discovered that some of the sellers painted their Pipi shrimp a redder color so that people would believe it was better than the other ones. In sum, Pipi shrimp tastes good and is a great food source in China and all around the world.

Pipi shrimp (Photo from needpix.com.)

Jerry D: “I have eaten Pipi shrimp before in several restaurants; they all taste different because of the different spices in the sauces. I like it when it tastes salty; it is so delicious and has a unique texture. I thought that it was a special version of lobster, but it isn’t. Also, the sauce combined with it makes it so tasty. Pipi shrimp is one of the most memorable meals for the Chinese people, even though it just became popular a few years ago.”

Edible Birds’ Nests: Edible birds’ nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, with nests being sold at prices up to $3,000 per pound ($6,600/kg), depending on the quality. Edible birds’ nests have been eaten for over four hundred years, usually for bird’s nest soup. The nests are rich in nutrients, especially protein, and are believed to be good for your health. Indonesian birds’ nests account for 85% – 90% of the global edible bird’s nest production. Malaysia produces 5% – 10%; Thailand 3%; Vietnam, the Philippines, and some other countries combined produce about 2%. The Chinese believe that if a swallow builds a bird nest in your home or yard, you will have good luck for the whole year.

Edible Birds’ Nests (Photo by Jason Goh, Pixabay.com.)

Jerry D.: “I first tried the edible bird’s nest when I was about 11 years old. At first, I thought it was tasteless, so I wasn’t very fond of it that much. Then I put some sugar in it, and it tasted better and sweeter. Then I thought that eating an edible bird’s nest was not that interesting, so I put some wolfberries in it. When I ate the bird’s nest with the wolfberries, I could taste the acidity of the wolfberries and the sweetness of the edible bird’s nest together, and I really liked it.”

Some people are afraid to eat these Chinese delicacies, but we believe that once you try them, you will like them just as much as we do. You won’t know unless you try them. Do you dare?