I have eaten some weird and wonderful dishes around the world but some of the more interesting concoctions have been served up to me in China.
A particularly interesting delicacy I ate some years ago consisted of Cow's bronchial tubes - the airways between the cow's lungs and windpipe (gruesome!) in a light white wine sauce.
The appearance of a plate full of macaroni, the taste of nothing but the white wine sauce and the consistency of over-cooked calamari, you could describe this dish as the original Chinese chew recipe!
Another time I was served with a plate of vermicelli with 20 or so delicately arranged deep-fried crispy scorpion complete with sting!
The trick to eating this particular delicacy was to convince myself it was nothing more than a prawn and all I had to do was to pick it up with my chopsticks and slip it into my mouth.
Actually once I had said to myself "it's a prawn, it's a prawn" 20 times this was not such an ordeal and basically the texture was, well, just crisp! and the only taste was of the oil it had been fried in, not so much of a Chinese chew, more of a Chinese crisp!
But Cow's bronchial tubes and deep fried crispy scorpion are not the most gruesome dish I am aware of.
I say aware of rather than ate because even me with my cast iron constitution couldn't stomach what I am about to describe to you. Anyway I am not sure if it's just a popular folklore or if people really did this. I am sure it must be illegal now, if its not it should be!
Legend has it that, particularly in the southern parts of China, people had a specially designed ritualistic table with a hole in the centre, just big enough to take the upper part of a Monkey's head.
Apparently the ritual consisted of capturing a live Monkey and securing it with it's head wedged up in to hole in the centre of the table. The next step in the ritual was to trepanne the top of the live monkeys' skull off and pour boiling water into the Monkey's brain.
People sitting around the table would then proceed to eat the braised Monkey brain with chopsticks directly out of the Monkey's skull.
I did warn you it was gruesome ? it can't possibly be true, can it?
Fortunately the dishes that we are more familiar with are not quite so outlandish and use much more traditional ingredients. There are many easy Chinese recipes on the Chinese food menu, just as well really because I don't know about you but I think I must be part Chinese as I love the food and all about the place.