Bowl o' Snails - Food Court on The Bund in Shanghai, China.

snails_remix.jpgFood Court. The Bund. Shanghai, China.

Every major city has its place of congregation and regeneration. New York has the sanctuary that is Central Park. Venice has the grand Piazza San Marco. Bloomington, Minnesota has the Mall of America. And Shanghai, China proudly offers The Bund, a lively esplanade that spans about a mile and runs along the Huangpu River.

At the crack of dawn the Bund comes to life as tai chi practitioners get their chi flowing. Later on a magical scene materializes as scores of ballroom dancers waltz gaily to the tinny music eeking out of a haggard boombox. And in no time, the tourists start flocking here to see what all the commotion is about. All this flowing chi, waltzing and picture snapping can make guts grumble with hunger. No worries here. A platoon of sidewalk vendors and the food court are at your service.

The offerings at most of the sidewalk food carts are handy, portable edibles. Many of these carts hawk colorful skewered fruit encased in a translucent, sugary shellac. If you're seeking more substantive sustenance, then head on over to the food court.

The food court on The Bund is in appearance and concept pretty much like any food court in any mall you've been to in the US. The big difference is that you probably won't hear any Valley slang and you most definitely won't find any Orange Julius or Hot Dog on a Sticks. However, you will find just about everything else, whether you like it or not. Actually, it's not that extreme. It's not as bold as many Chinese wet markets where you can find all kinds of "beast" meats, dead or alive. The kinkiest the food court fare gets are the strange shell fish and snails.

It had been a while since I indulged in escargot so I ordered it, but when it was served up I wish I hadn't. The contents of my bowl looked like a snail genocide was just perpetrated. There were at least a hundred snails piled up and out from the greasy, brown sauce. How did they get so many snails into a bowl? Easy. They were midget snails. It was quite difficult for me to extract the snails out of their shells even with a toothpick because they were so tiny. I'm guessing that after around thirty snails I just got tired of poking at them.

Snails are generally bland and, unfortunately, the brown sauce didn't do much to punch them up. The texture of snails are uniquely wacky because they have an initial crunch then the rest of the way it's chewy...chewy...chewy...chewy. C'mon, now, I've been chewing on this damn thing for the last fifteen minutes and it ain't goin' nowheres. I give up. Lil' dragon buns here I come!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Well, they look great in the photo.
Adrian
Buffy said…
Little tiny circles scare me.

Especially when they're snails.
Eddie Lin said…
adrian,

yes, i only consume photogenic food. thank you very much.

joel,

ditto.

buffy,

do little tiny rectangles scare you??? nice blog. keep on writing!
Anonymous said…
Eddie, here is a tip before your next adventure with these chinese snails: you are not supposed to eat the very tailend of the meat (the bit that comes out last from the shell) as it is usually full of tiny snail babies and other unsavory crunchy substances. One is supposed to only consume the "chewy" part. *drool*
Eddie Lin said…
anony,

thanks for the tip. i wish i would've known that in shanghai. next time.
Thanks Guys, I think it's important that we don't forget some of the best things in life, food, drink and toilets!

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