Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Provincial Province

Before I flew out of Shanghai, A asked me to do one thing for him. Please don't laugh at the Fujianese - everybody on my mission did. I smirked at his bizarre request and then took off.

My boss and I just landed in Fujian, a coastal province where people were known for being provincial, and breathed in the overwhelming humidity. The local taxi driver was playing the perennial favorite Chinese game of "Guess where the foreigner's from." Meanwhile, I was trying not to mimic his feminine quacking accent that was so stereotypical Fujian. As we drove away from the airport, the driver started tapping his steering wheel, perplexed that it was so hard to guess my boss' nationality.

My boss

Hmm. You don't look like us. 

Are you Japanese? But your Mandarin is so good. 

Oh wait, you're darker. Indian?

I know! You must be German. 

No, wait! You can't be - your arm hair is too long.

My boss was a standard six foot three American complete with five every day polos that he rotated.


Fujian is also known for its food.

A said that it was Fujian seafood that taught him to appreciate all other Chinese food.

After a late night dinner at a local stall, I finally gained more appreciation for Panda Express. Everything I was eating was just so . . . ugly.

These fish look like retired bull dogs who have given up on life.

 Worms writhing wearily in the water. 

Fish breathing thing.
 Surprising texture of chicken cartilage - crunchy yet chewy.

Durian. Gooey texture with pungent smell. 
A little like eating your own throw up. With chopsticks.
My colleague brought it back to our hotel room
 and I stayed up all night gagging.

Mini lobsters in chili oil. The messiest ever.
Definitely not a first date dish.