Yantai, Shandong Province
A’Song Barbecue is tucked in corner in the old districts in town.
Time seems to stand still here, as the wall is plastered with photos from ten, twenty years ago, and the TV overhead plays 80s and 90s classics.
The bestseller in the store comes from this seafood market.
Only two or three stalls have what A’Song is looking for.
海肠 urechis unicinctus
It’s also known as the fat innkeeper worm, or penis fish. (maybe that’s why most of the customers here are guys . . . )
They are skewered in an S-shape instead of straight through, to prevent the juice inside from leaking out.
A tipsy customer gives a thumbs-up for the grilled worm.
Yueyang, Hunan Province
烤牛油 grilled beef “butter”
The cubes of fat are actually beef brisket, from a steer.
There’re only about 200 to 300 grams of such brisket fat from each steer.
Winter is the best time to try grilled beef brisket fat.
You are literally eating skewers of fat.
There can’t be open flames in the grill. Such high temperature will cause the fat to melt.
Barbecue is the biggest enemy of women on a diet. Before you know it, twenty, thirty skewers are gone.
Xi’an, Shaanxi Province
烤板筋 grilled beef tendon
The best tendon comes from the chuck, a cut of beef that comes mainly from the shoulder section of a steer.
It’s often sold out early. Customers have to call in early to book the grilled tendon.
White vinegar, sugar, tomato sauce, sesame seeds and other ingredients form the basis of the secret recipe grille sauce.
Sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time.
The love for good food is not unique to the human species . . .