I had mentally prepared myself for odd foodstuffs long before I came to Asia. I knew in India that it was better not to ask questions if you didn't know what something was. But in China... well, let's just say they take it to the next level.
We walked past a street stand today that served up 3 kinds of ducks feet, chicken hearts, intestines, duck necks, squid, pork knuckles, and for the mild at heart, processed meat product and tofu. The best part of it all though, is that you can get anything on a stick. We Americans have corny dogs nailed, but the Chinese have run away with the concept of portable food. Lamb, chicken, pork, beef, - any my personal favorite - squid. You name it - it comes on a stick. There's nothing like seeing a well-dressed business woman walking down the street gnawing on a pinkish, tentacled squiggly thing proudly skewered and grilled to perfection. And the price for this delicacy - approximately 50 cents. A bargain!
Another amazing food process is the conveyor belt sushi restaurant. You sit at a counter in front of a conveyor belt full of small, colored plates with every kind of sushi imaginable. Different colored plates are different costs. You take what you want from the conveyor belt, one or two pieces of sushi at a time, then at the end of your meal, you take your empty plates tot the cash register and pay up. You're also given a cup with a tea bag in it. About every two seats is a spigot that spews boiling water for all you can drink tea. It's a fantastic twist on fast food dining. Here, the price per plate ranges from 50 cents to 2 dollars. You can stuff yourself on sushi for under $10. Heaven!
Aside from the oddities, I have found the food in China to be amazing. I am a certified dumpling addict (a plate of 24 - more than plenty for 2 people - costs you about $1.50), I'm quickly becoming a noodle-holic, and I've got chopstick skills I never knew I had.
So now that I have an apartment, and a kitchen (yay!), I plan to find a cooking class. Guess I should stock up on the wooden sticks for my first dinner party.