Food Blunder Vietnam - Sparrows :
but crunchy, like a pork rind.
This unpleasant and completely self inflicted meal
took place at the same restaurant that I ordered the fried
scorpion, so you may understand the mood I was in, if not the
motivation behind it.
Most of the fuel in my 'try something different' tank had been expended
on the scorpion affair and so I ordered the roast sparrows as a
'safety meal' - something I could actually eat after I nibbled good-sportingly
at the bug. Knowing how small
sparrows are and having seen them at the market
in Guangzhou, I know not why I was expecting some succulent
roasted breast of fowl in a rich brown sauce. All I know is that
what arrived appalled
me. Appalled us. Really appalled the sparrows involved.
These poor things must have been fledglings before they were plucked
from the nest and plucked(how long did that take? Were tweezers
necessary?) and thrown in the deep fryer. Their tiny scalded bald
heads twisted into contortions that, no matter which way the plate
was turned, had one of them staring at me with empty accusing eye-sockets.
Like the snake in China though, I had made the bed and I was determined
to lie in it. These babies had not died for naught.
I flagged down a waiter in a last ditch effort to make the task
easier but to no avail.
"How do I get the meat off?" Stupid question as it is
plain as day there is no meat. One simply eats the entire bird -
spine, beak, brains and all.
After all was said and done I have to admit that the crunchy little
things are mighty tasty - particularly with salt and a little lime
juice (like blocking out the taste of low grade Tequila) and the
only reason they are under the 'food blunders' section is my mistaken
notion that sparrow, like so much else, would taste and look like
chicken. For baby sparrows' sake, that is probably a good thing.