Thursday, March 22, 2012

that squid tentacle marinated in fish roe



Every culture has certain weird dishes that is a delicacy to natives, but completely off-putting to others. To the Chinese palate, cheeses are the gustatory equivalent of smelling someone else's feet - everything else that the Europeans throw at us, we can more or less manage. As much as I appreciate how special Roquefort is, just thinking of its distinctive stink turns my stomach.

Conversely, Asian cuisines have no shortage of trippy flavours. The Shanghainese love to eat fermented tofu. There are many ways to prepare it, but in my opinion, the most delicious is deep fried, with a drizzle of chili sauce. To the uninitiated, it smells, quite literally, of fresh turd. This is another one, a delicacy my mother picked up from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Squid tentacles, marinated in fish roe and chili, eaten raw with breakfast porridge. The most amazing pungent, fishy, marine flavours, with the firm, crunchy texture of the raw squid . . . divine. The spice and grainy, firm texture of the fish roe sent my head spinning. Delicious, but flavours (and textures) that you have to grow up with. The things that will never be an acquired taste.

It's been ridiculously warm in Toronto this past week. An average of about 20 degrees all week, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous outside. Only the end of March, although things should be getting back to normal next week. No complaints. Out for a haircut today, in what seems like the first time in an age.


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