The same caution note applies.

Guangzhou, Guangdong Province

No discussion of dark cuisine can be complete without mentioning the Cantonese people.

There’s an (exaggerated) saying that the Cantonese eat everything in the sky, except an airplane; they eat everything on the ground, except a train; they eat everything in the water, except a ship.

Last year a joke was going around online, saying that the Cantonese also eat people from Fujian.

Image source

It’s a joke, of course, but it’s widely acknowledged that the Cantonese may very well be standing at the top of the food chain.

Their dominance extends into the area of barbecue.

While the rest of the country are trying to grill “fresh” ingredients, the Cantonese have moved on to grilling “live” ingredients.

This young barbecue chef knows what the customers want.

It squirts, it moves, it shrinks.

烤象拔蚌 grilled Pacific geoduck

But not everyone is used to watching live seafood dance on your plate.

This customer watches a crab, hesitant. To eat, or not to eat, that is the question.

While the customer hesitates, the crabs duke it out. Neither of them wants to be the first to go.

烤活鲍鱼 grilled live abalone

2 am, the market here is busy as freshly caught seafood arrives.

The barbecue chef looks for 九头鲍, which refers to a size of abalone. Nine of such abalones weigh 500 grams.

Add sake while grilling.


This city supposedly has the largest number of restaurants and diners.

Signature hot chilli oil.

The dish is pork brain. (Chongqing is probably the best place to live for a zombie.)

Pork brain is cooked in a bowl, with another upside-down bowl as the cover.

The owner of the shop, Mr Liu, named the shop after his childhood nickname—Little Brain.

He’s the first one in Chongqing to grill pork brain.

Pre-dawn, the market is already busy.

Frozen pork brains cannot be used, as they have a foul stench and fall apart easily.

Liu has to be there to watch the process of the brain being taken out by the butcher to ensure its freshness.

Caution: graphic images ahead.


















Pork brains are washed individually.

Add onions and spring onions to the bowl. Then lotus roots.

Place the pork brain on top of the lotus roots. Then another twenty ingredients.

烤脑花 grilled pork brain

Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province

A barbecue store owned by Mr Wang is still busy late at night.

Other than the usual items on the menu, customers come here for a special treat.



Lamb fries are a euphemism for lamb testicles.

The tips are the best parts.

Only a few skewers are sold each day.

Lamb fries are grilled over strong flames.

The top of the fries are cut open to let out steam and to allow spices to soak into the meat.

烤羊球 grilled lamb fries

Those who’ve tried it say that lamb fries are as soft as tofu, and they don’t have the foul gamy smell of mutton.

Salt, cumin and chilli powders are the only condiments needed.

Some customers drive for half an hour to eat here.

Goat kidney surrounded by a thick layer of fat.

They are grilled over a small flame.

烤羊腰子 grilled goat kidney

Wrapped in a piece of naan.


Rabbit: I should probably leave before they finish discussing the 108 ways to eat me.

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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