Some people have a sweet tooth. Some can’t live without chilli. Some like it plain.
And then there’re those with somewhat different tastes . . .
Chongming, Shanghai, China
Mud mixed with salt, lime, and baking soda.
Wrap it around duck eggs.
Century egg, also knowns as hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and black egg.
Kept in the shade.
The proteins inside the egg undergo drastic changes.
30 days later, the eggs’ physical and chemical transformation is complete.
皮蛋 century egg
If you’ve never tried century egg before, it’s hard to describe to you the taste.
It’s nothing like boiled or fried eggs.
The egg white turns into a translucent layer that tastes a bit like Jell-O. It sticks to your teeth as you bite into it, a bit like sticky rice.
The egg yolk is soft, dense, and has the consistency of paste. It smells pungent, a bit like rotten food, but different. As you bite into the egg yolk, the pungent smell travels straight up your nostrils.
I can’t finish one century egg on its own. I have to add either vinegar or chilli oil, or some kind of sauce, anything to cover up the uniquely pungent, and to some people, off-putting smell.
If it smells so bad, why do you still eat it?
Well, why do people still eat durians?
Fuhai, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China
Residents harvest these plants as tall as an adult.
The leaves are removed.
The thick stems are cut into short segments,
washed, then sprinkled with salt.
They are kept in an earthen jar in the shade.
Two weeks later.
霉苋菜梗 preserved edible amaranth stems
It has a strong, pungent smell.
I’ve never tried this before, so I can’t tell you if it’s the same as century eggs.
But I know it’s nothing like Sichuan preserved vegetables.
Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China
The water used in making preserved edible amaranth stems is recycled to make other foods with equally “interesting” tastes, like tofu.
臭豆腐 stinky tofu
The smell of stinky tofu can cause some people to cross to the other side of the street, but it has its fans.
蒸双臭 steamed “double stinky” (edible amaranth and stinky tofu)
The dish on the right is
霉千张 “mouldy” tofu slices
The dish of “meatballs” on the left is
霉毛豆芋艿 “mouldy” edamame and taro
Eating food with special flavours (translate: stinky) is not a specialty of the Chinese.
Siw, a resident of Sweden, has to give her neighbours advance notice when she wants to have a dinner party with her friends.
Brine squirts out even before the can is opened (god I can smell it through the screen)
Some can’t wait to taste it.
Some can’t stand it.
LOL, DIY defence against the smell.
The Baltic herring looks just like any other normal fish.
How can they stink up an entire building?
Every April to June, factories in this town get busy.
The Swedish have been preserving the Baltic herring with salt in wooden barrels since the Middle Ages.
The invention of modern canning methods made the food available year round.
They’re soaked in concentrated salt water for 24 hours.
The blood water that’s squeezed out of the fish is used in the production of the canned fish.
The most famous product made here bears the name of the commune—Roquefort.
is used to cultivate penicillium roqueforti, a fungus named after the blue cheese it helps to produce.
A basement full of cheese. Maybe this is what Monica’s dream house looks like.
The milk needed to produce such cheese comes from the Lacaune, a breed of sheep in southern France.
Whey is separated from the cheese.
Cheese cut into tens of thousands of small pieces.
Sprinkle some penicillium roqueforti.
Once they come out of the mould,
They are rubbed in coarse salt.
The entire wheel of cheese is pierced by long stainless steel needles to make holes.
霍克福蓝纹奶酪 Roquefort blue cheese
Phú Quốc, Vietnam
What stinky treats can be found in the Gulf of Thailand?
Fishermen are looking for a type of fish less than 10 cm long.
They are immediately cured with sea salt.
There are over 80 giant wooden buckets here.
Each one of these holds 14.5 tonnes of anchovies.
Layers upon layers of anchovies and salt.
It takes at least a year of fermentation.
鱼露 fish sauce
Made with the juice from fermented fish and shrimp.
You can dip anything in it: tofu, vegetables, meat.
The first bottle of fish sauce collected upon completion of fermentation is tested with palm sugar and green mango.
Fish sauce to Southeast Asian cooking is like soy sauce to Chinese cooking.
It’s used in
椰青炖猪肉 coconut braised pork
香煎军曹鱼 fried cobia
烧烤黑虎虾 grilled giant tiger prawn
Mangshi, Yunnan Province, China
People here also like to make sauces.
柠檬蘸水 lemon dipping sauce
Made with freshly squeezed lemon, diced garlic, coriander, chives, xiaomila chilli pepper, salt, and MSG.
油辣子蘸水 chilli oil dipping sauce
Made with chilli oil, peanuts, sesame, sesame oil, garlic, and coriander.
腌菜膏蘸水 fish mint dipping sauce
Made with xiaomila chilli pepper, fish mint, culantro, garlic, ginger, salt, and MSG.
荆芥蘸水 jingjie dipping sauce
Made with jingjie (a type of plant that’s a relative of catnip), xiaomila chilli pepper, and garlic.
煳辣子干蘸水 dried chilli dipping sauce
Made with ground dried chilli pepper, salt, and chives.
百香果蘸水 passionfruit dipping sauce
Made with passion fruit and cilantro.
番茄喃撇 tomato dipping sauce
Made with tomatoes, onions, xiaomila chilli pepper, and spring onion.
树番茄蘸水 tree tomato dipping sauce
Made with peeled tree tomato, xiaomila chilli pepper, coriander, and garlic.
干豆豉蘸水 black soybean dipping sauce
Made with dried, fermented, salted black soybeans, with coriander, garlic, xiaomila chilli pepper, salt, and MSG.
Looks like the people there have invented a different dipping sauce for each type of food.
To be continued . . .
Yunnan residents are crazy about their sauces. They use it in everything.
Someone went to Yunnan, ordered French fries, and instead of ketchup . . .