Wednesday, June 15, 2011

✈Worldwide Wednesdays: Foods Prepared and Eaten Alive!

Where shall we travel to today?....

Prepared and Eaten Alive - JAPAN, CHINA,  TAIWAN, KOREA
A great deal of you may already know about the customs of eating live food but for the rest of you:

I must warn you that if you have a weak stomach, or you are a vegetarian or just plain disgusted of even the thought of eating anything alive - I suggest you stop reading and go find something else on this blog to read because I for one could barely make this post, lol, since I'm so used to the western way of eating, you know, making sure it's good and dead before cooking and eating it.  But as usual, since I'm so darn curious and is always interested in all aspects of cultures from around the world, I just had to add this!
Now, scientists claim the live fishes served feel no pain, but I've always wondered how they tested that theory... were they a fish once and lived to tell about it?  Or was it because the fish didn't squeal like a banshee as they were being eaten alive?   Anyways...
Us westerners 'distance' ourselves from our food sources a great deal.  So much so that most of us don't even have a clue as to how the meats that eventually end up on the shelves of our local supermarkets came to be. 
In all fairness, Japanese tradition holds that we should be grateful to the animals who gives us sustenance, and to acknowledge our relationship to them.  Whether I agree with this ideology or not is really irrelevant (even though I'm still not sure how eating them alive acknowleges this), but showing respect to the way certain cultures do certain things is what it's all about.  After all, I'm sure some of them are just as grossed out about our 'Big Macs' and 'Whopper' burgers and mcnuggets and God only knows what else.
I don't know if I can really eat food that stares right back at me, or twitches or flaps around..  I don't know.  Maybe if I try not to make eye contact or something...   As long as they don't start with cows or pigs.... I think I'll be ok...

Ikizukuri (Live sashimi), JAPAN
In Japanese cuisine, ikizukuri or ikezukuri (生き作り/活け造り, “prepared alive”) is the preparation of sashimi from a living sea animal such as fish, shrimp, lobster and octopus.
Ikizukuri usually begins with the customer selecting from a tank in the restaurant, the animal they wish to eat. The chef, who is often a sashimi chef takes the animal out of the tank and filets it, but without killing the animal, which is served on a plate, sliced, with the heart still beating. Other variants of ikizukuri involve temporarily returning a filleted fish to an aquarium, to swim around until recovered for a second course of soup.
Ikizukuri of fish consists of thin, sheet-like slices or finger-sized pieces sometimes garnished with lemon wedges, a decoration of ginger, or nori (seaweed). Squid and small octopus are usually wrapped around a chopstick and eaten whole.

Ikizukuri is a controversial method of preparing food, both in Japan and elsewhere.

Typically ikizukuri style is used with fish like carp or snapper, octopus, squid, lobster or shrimp. This is a very old technique, at least 2000 years old, first brought to the West a decade ago by Nobu Matsuhisa.

When restaurants in the West started serving it, ikezukuri experienced an inevitable backlash from animal rights groups. After a Japanese chef demonstrated the technique on a Los Angeles television station, he received hundreds of angry calls, including death threats.

Lobster Ikizukuri

Live Squid Sashimi

Drunken Shrimp and Ying Yang Fish, CHINA and TAIWAN
Drunken shrimp is a popular dish in portions of China based on fresh-water shrimp that are often eaten alive, but stunned in a strong liquor—baijiu (白酒)—to make consumption easier. Different parts of China have different recipes for it. For example, the shrimp are sometimes made drunk and then cooked in boiling water rather than served live, and in other recipes cooked shrimp are marinated in alcohol after they are boiled.
However, in some parts of China, for example, Shanghai, drunken shrimp is not only served raw -- it's alive.   A bowl of live shrimp is served “swimming” in very strong rice wine.
The point of the rice wine serves many purposes apparently: it would sanitize the shrimp, mellow out the shrimp, eventually kill the shrimp and flavor the shrimp. This dish seems simple enough:  Get shrimp, add alcohol. Wait a few minutes.. then eat.  
The alcohol/rice wine is suppose to relax them.  I've also read that it is best to start devouring your drunken shrimps once they seem a bit.. you know, drunk.   The idea being they will be less resistant (even though I don't see why WE need anymore advantage over these things). However some enthusiasts say the taste is better the more active the shrimp is. The flavor is in the fight and so on and so on.
Ying Yang fish or Yin Yang fish (also called dead-and-alive fish) is a dish (mostly Ying Yang Fish and Carps) where the fish's body is deep-fried but still has a fresh and moving head. It is popular in China, but it originated in Taiwan where chefs use it to show customers how fresh the food is. Cooking of this dish is now prohibited in Taiwan.

Drunken Shrimp in Shangahi

Drunken Shrimp in Guilin

It involves serving LIVE shrimp doused in that strong Chinese liquor, baijiu.

Annual Chinese Competition

Demonstrates how to 'semi' cook and prepare a live fish (Ying Yang Fish) and snake....  The mouth of the fish has to still be moving when you eat it or the chef fails.

Sannakji, KOREA

Sannakji or sannakji hoe is a variety of hoe, or raw dish, in Korean cuisine. It consists of live nakji (hangul: 낙지, a small octopus) that has been cut into small pieces and served immediately, usually lightly seasoned with sesame and sesame oil. The nakji pieces are usually still squirming on the plate. It can also be served whole.

Because the suction cups on the arm pieces are still active when the dish is served, special care should be taken when eating sannakji. The active suction cups can cause swallowed pieces of arm to stick to the mouth or throat. This can also present a choking hazard for some people, particularly if they are intoxicated. One must thoroughly chew so that no piece is big enough to stick to one's throat. Some people like the feel of the pieces wriggling as swallowed, and so will not completely chew up the particles. Those who are new to eating sannakji should completely chew it up into tiny particles before swallowing.

Sannakji (live octopus) in Seoul, Korea

Try Eating a WHOLE Octopus all at once

Ok, I think I've seen enough 'live' food squirming around on a plate for one day.  It's fascinating these different ways of eating... fascinating.
If any of you ever watched that show FEAR FACTOR, I'm sure you've seen episodes of westerners eating live worms.... uh, to win money of course but it shows maybe we can all do this "eating it raw and still moving" thing.   Some of us also eat live oysters.  So, I guess in a way, we are not so different from these cultures.

How To Eat Fresh Oysters From the Ocean

Finding, Opening and Eating Fresh Oysters outside Coburg Penninsula, Northern Territory, Australia.

I think I'll go get me a BIG MAC now...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey! Thanks for leaving your comment!