Monday, December 15, 2008

Can Anyone Identify This Thing??

Dumplings and some mysterious vegetable that looks like something else

Does anybody know what the heck those little brown things in the foreground are? This is the second time that I've come across them at a hotel breakfast in Beijing and the mere sight of it reminds me of something that one of our furry friends likes to deposit onto sheets of newspaper. But it's neither that nor a worm, which I initially suspected. I took a bite and it was basically some kind of vegetable pickled in soy sauce.

I have no idea what kind of vegetable grows in that kind of shape though. And was brown the natural color, or was that a result of the pickling? It didn't taste as bad as it looked, but it just happened to be sitting in the condiment tray next to some dumplings and chili oil that I grabbed at the hotel's breakfast buffet this morning. If only they offered some weasel coffee to go with it.


rachel said...

It's called "luo si cai" in Chinese. aka crosne, Chinese artichoke, Japanese artichoke, knotroot, etc. Scientific name: Stachys affinis. What you ate was the edible tuber, and the dark color is a result of the pickling process.

vakeraj said...

LOL! I studied in China the past two summers (Shanghai and Beijing), and came across that monstrosity numerous times. Needless to say, I never touched it- just wrapped it in my napkin and kept going.

Anonymous said...

Wow so weird! On a side note, how were the dumplings?