I am going to the airport to pick up a girl that a friend in Japan is sending over for a holiday. It should be a fun week. i get to practice my nihongo (hotondo wasurechotta) and show her around the place. And with all the Asians in the house, it should be a nutritionally brilliant week of kimchi, miso soup, tonkatsu, etc. I know that mot much about me looks Asian but I am pretty sure that my stomach is oriental.
I have never been in a place where the variety of food is so broad as when we were in Japan and Korea. My Asian friends love to serve you some strange mystery food, and then tell you what it is after you have eaten it. I regularly ate salty plums (oh it burns!), sea cucumber (looks like snot), and cow's tongue (who's tasting who here..). But the one that took the cake was at a bar-b-q. Of course I was supposed to eat it first (they said if they told me what it was, I wouldn't try it). Not one to back down from an adventure, I ground it on down. It was kind of a bony, intenstiny texture. What was it? Shikku, they told me. Quick check of the electronic dictionary: cow's uterus. Yeesh. Talk about nothing going to waste. I didn't eat that one twice.
So when we bring them here I try to do the same, shock them with something strange that we eat. But you know what? We don't really eat anything that they don't already have in some kind of similar form. One time I reached way back into my Mennonite heritage to find a food (that I love) that I thought would make them flinch. Cracklings, it's called. Pig fat basically. But they didn't even mind that. My family was more disgusted than my Japanese friends were.