Follow Me To The Deep End!!

May 2, 2006

2 Live Food or The Fresh and The Furious. Live Drunken Shrimp & Live Lobster Sashimi. Seafood Village RH. Rowland Heights, CA.

drunk shrimp
From the fish tank to the drunk tank.


A lot of people know about fast food. Not so many know about live food. Let me briefly explain their differences.

Fast food is about portioning and consistency. It’s about delivering the same product over and over again to as many customers as possible no matter where the customer is experiencing the food. Give the customer what they have been trained to expect every time. Fast food means control. Full stop.

Live food, on the other hand, is variable in portion and inconsistent experientially. Nobody can promise the customer how her food will act and react or if it will act in any way at all. The live food dining experience may be a culinary Cirque du Soleil. Then again, it may be nothing to write home about. Or it may be a total horror show. The only thing certain about live food is uncertainty. In other words, expect the unexpected.

To illustrate, last year at the Prince Restaurant when I rassled with my infamous live octopus tentacles plate for the first time, they proved to be formidable prey and put up respectable resistance. Even before my chopsticks hovered anywhere near the plate, the short lively limbs, in hair-raising unison, wriggled wildly without pause for several minutes. Call it defiance or death with dignity. It was quite unnerving and completely unexpected.

The next time I was deranged enough to snack on live and dismembered octopus arms again, I noticed that the activity level was much less. These particular tentacles seemed to be lifeless, apathetic. Then I poked the pile of them and that was the defibrillating they needed to come back to life. But their actions didn’t reflect the esprit de corp mosh pit of the first bunch. These were sad and lackadaisical expressions of individual appendages. The octopus tentacles version of groovy and gloomy goth kids dancing to The Cure. Long and deliberate, their movements were almost lyrical. But once in my mouth they attacked me with the same ferocity of my cherry popping plate.

Drunken shrimp is yet another example of live food not giving a damn about consistency in your dining experience.

Drunken shrimp in the United States is represented in all sorts of styles from Chinese to Cajun and even Caribbean-style, each version using its own special booze to flavor the shrimp. In the U.S. all of these styles showcase cooked shrimp that is very much dead. And even though Chinese cuisine does offer a cooked drunken shrimp, the most famous version by far is the one that uses live shrimp.

My first adventure with drunken shrimp was three years ago in Shanghai, China. My brother eagerly treated me to this delicacy since it was one of his favorites and he knew it would soon be mine as well. Warren explained to me that drunken shrimp was a bowl of live shrimp “swimming” in very strong rice wine. The point of the rice wine was manifold: it would sanitize the shrimp, mellow out the shrimp, eventually kill the shrimp and flavor the shrimp. This dish is extremely simple. Get shrimp, add alcohol. It's a bachelor's dream recipe. This 30 second meal calls for many live shrimp in a bowl, next douse shrimp with rice wine then serve. You are advised to begin eating once the shrimp appear to be very relaxed, the idea being they will be less resistant. However some enthusiasts say the taste is better the more active the shrimp is. The flavor is in the fight. The difference between dead food and live food, they say, is that you can taste the animal’s soul. What that taste could be, I haven’t the freaking foggiest.

The shrimp normally used for drunken shrimp are small Asian white shrimp and appear to be gray-blue rather than white. At about a couple of inches or less, these shrimp don’t have much meat and are difficult to peel and eat. And since it was my first foray into drunken shrimpdom, I didn’t know how much movement to anticipate from these hammered decapods. The morsels in our bowl just sort of wriggled a little here and there. Not a single shrimp tried to make a bold get-away. They all seemed to be quite happy in their little wading pool of wine. Eventually, any and all motion in the bowl ceased and that’s when we began plucking out the shrimp. I took mine and held its head in my right hand and the tail in my left, gave it a twist and a tug, separated the head from the tail, sucked out the briny contents of the head, peeled the shell off of the tail and nibbled on the thimble full of flesh. The shrimp I picked was motionless but that didn’t mean it was dead. It could’ve just been passed out like a temp at the office Christmas party. Just a warning: if you try this dish, prepare to kill your food before you eat it. The flavor of the shrimp was dominated by the robust rice wine. The meat itself tasted faintly sweet. The entire experience was slightly amusing although unsatisfying. My drunken shrimp adventure soon became a distant memory as distant as Shanghai herself.

Only recently, I learned that live drunken shrimp actually existed outside of mainland China and could even be found in the United States. So with that bit of info, my search for live drunken shrimp in Los Angeles began which ultimately led me to the city of Rowland Heights, a vibrant Asian suburb about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. The restaurant is Seafood Village R.H. It’s your standard issue Chinese seafood banquet establishment. And it’s the kind of place that can set up a Chinese wedding banquet with a few hours notice - the karaoke machine slash d.j. kit sitting in a corner ready to party. I also discovered that drunken shrimp isn’t the only live dish available at the Seafood Village R.H. As a huge bonus, they also serve up live lobster sashimi, a delicacy I’ve only heard fanciful tales about.

Stories involving live lobster sashimi sounded so outrageous to me that I summarily discounted them and categorized them among the lucky fuck tales found in the Penthouse Forum and the grotesque descriptions of bat boy in the Weekly World News. Exaggerations, I thought, even urban legends. Both the live drunken shrimp and the live lobster sashimi are not on the menu. These are secret items. Somehow you have to already know.

It was my first trip to Seafood Village R.H. and I had already promised a feast like no other to my family, friends and guests. I carefully gave my order to the waiter in the best Mandarin Chinese I could conjure up. My worst fear was that I’d mutilate my Chinese and the waiter would bring me sweet and sour shrimp and a platter of steamed lobster. My other concern was that these live dishes were only occasional specials and wouldn’t be available that day. Thankfully, the waiter acknowledged my order and brought it to the kitchen.

The first dish out was the live drunken shrimp. But there was so little movement coming from the shrimp that I started to wonder if maybe these guys just didn’t know when to say when. Ideally, the drunken shrimp should be docile before consuming. This, however, was a little too docile. Like some of my past overly drunken dates, it’s not as fun when they’re just lying there. Technically, these drunken shrimp weren’t really shrimp either. They were prawns and only minutes before were scooped out from one of the many fish tanks lining the wall next to the kitchen’s entrance. In the tank these prawns were large and mighty. They dwarfed the drunken shrimp in Shanghai which were each the size of a child’s pinky while these prawns were more at the dimensions of Rocco Siffredi’s middle finger. The prawns averaged six-inches and looked very aggressive with their spiny appendages but were rendered harmless by the rice wine. What little fight was still left in these prawns was quickly fading away. These live "drunken" shrimp were fast becoming "dead by alcohol poisoning" shrimp. Still, they were tasty - a firm and sweet meat with a potent rice wine kick.

Not long after the shrimp arrived, the live lobster sashimi was presented. Immediately I noticed something queer about this so called live lobster sashimi. For starters, it was completely motionless. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me give you a quick explainer on live lobster sashimi before I start my rant.

lobster appoved
Dead lobster walking.


Typically, live lobster sashimi is prepared with a lobster that is still living. You tell the waiter how many pounds of lobster you would like, he brings a live lobster to you for approval. Let’s say you approve, then things start to get interesting. Once you okay the lobster it goes into the kitchen for the chef to transform into live lobster sashimi. In Japan this is all done in front of you, sort of like Benihana’s but more morbid. The chef proceeds to sever the lobster in half – the tail end and the front end. The head or cephalothorax is kept intact and immediately mounted onto a bed of crushed ice so as to preserve whatever motor functions remain. Next, all of the meat is then removed from the tail and sliced thinly into sashimi portions. The tail’s empty shell is then put onto the bed of crushed ice where it will serve as the foundation for plating its own flesh. After the tail meat has been artistically displayed, the entire monstrosity is prettily garnished with lemons, red and green chili slices, sometimes maraschino cherries. Imagine Frankenstein’s monster with a tutu. What not to wear or, in this case, not to garnish.

Now back to the live lobster sashimi that just arrived to the table. As I mentioned before, it appeared listless. It didn’t seem to live up to the wild stories of live lobster sashimi that I heard from my brother around the campfire, maniacal yarns of lobster meals wounding the gourmand with their savagely thrashing legs. My lunch companions helped me scrutinize our lobster for any sign of life. Ben thought he saw an antenna quiver, but it was only my baby Chloe bumping the table. We were looking so hard at those parts that were supposed to move - the antennae, legs, claws - that we missed a big clue. Nobody bothered to point out the fact that the cephalothorax had been hallowed out clean. Unless this lobster was a ghost, it was not going to move a muscle…because it had no muscles! It was brainless too. It was as much an empty shell as its tail was. My trip was a waste, I thought. My promise of a unique dining experience was a complete dud. I spent the rest of the meal explaining to my guests what was supposed to have happened, sounding a lot like the insane tales of live lobster sashimi I used to hear and not really believe.

hallow
Hollow be thy name.


The waiter sheepishly returned to ask us how we wanted the rest of the lobster that was back in the kitchen to be cooked. This was the rest of the lobster that was supposed to be part of the cephalothorax, you know, the innards, claws and legs! Further, this was the rest of the lobster that was supposed to be part of our original dish. So now our options given by our waiter were either to fry the remainder of the lobster with a tempura batter or to turn it into a soup. I chose the soup to drown my disappointment.

lobster cooked
There's a tear in my lobster soup.


I now was a man obsessed. Call me Ahab. And the shrimp and lobster are my Moby Dicks. I had to go back to the Seafood Village RH and this time I had to get the order right.

It was miserable, wet and rainy for my second trip to Seafood Village RH. The heavens were an ominous deep gray. The 60 east bound resembled a clogged artery thanks to the six car pile-up. All the omens were there - it was a perfect day for live seafood. Armed with video of live lobster sashimi and more accurate Mandarin Chinese, I ordered my live drunken shrimp and live lobster sashimi directly from the restaurant’s manager. For the drunken shrimp, I very clearly asked him to have the dish brought out as soon as the prawns were splashed with rice wine. For the live lobster sashimi, I played a Quicktime video of my brother’s live lobster sashimi from my camera. I also instructed him to bring it out ASAP. The manager was a straight-forward kind of guy. He seemed to understand and promised to deliver the goods as requested. But I wasn’t going to relax until I saw the food on my plate moving.

Be careful what you wish for.

The live drunken shrimp was again the first to come out since it is the easiest to make. The manager carried out a clear bowl brimming with live prawns and rice wine. Covering the bowl was a plate which we assumed would be used for placing the drunken shrimp upon. The manager set the bowl down and removed the plate. He then promptly walked away from the table.

Then it began.

With no warning, one prawn blasted out of the bowl and landed on to the industrial grade carpet. We all gasped and laughed. I went over to pick it up. The prawn bounced around in a spasm making it difficult to grab, but as soon as I did another would shoot out of the bowl and land on the floor. I’ve heard of popcorn shrimp but this was most definitely not the kind found on an Applebee’s menu. Our table’s amusement turned into trepidation when the bowl of prawns seemed to be hellbent on escaping back to the sea or at least to the fish tank. Returning them to the bowl was no easy task either. This batch happened to be a bunch of angry drunks. The prawns curled up and stretched out in my hand, flicking their spiny appendages at me. By now the prawns had completely drenched the tablecloth with rice wine and splattered us with a decent amount of the alcohol. They also began hurling themselves on to our table and practically on to our plates.

The tables around us began to notice the commotion. Our immediate neighbors laughed out loud. Another table was clearly disturbed. Some others wondered, “ Where was that on the menu?”

Taking back the reins, I was determined to make an example out of one of the prawns and grabbed the feistiest one. With its head in my left hand and its tail in my right, I twisted in opposite directions. The prawn resisted. I kept twisting until I felt a sickening tear and then pulled it apart until it became two. Quickly I peeled the shell away from the tail. Peeling a live prawn takes more effort than peeling a cooked one because its flesh and nerves are still fused to the shell and haven’t yet been cooked away from it. I popped the meat into my mouth. I felt a momentary twitch but after that it was sheer bliss. Live prawn is the sweetest flesh I’ve ever had (ahem, almost). Its flavor is buttery and sweet but in a refreshing natural way. The rice wine is precisely paired with the live meat making it that much sweeter and intoxicating. Sneaking in as a fleeting flavor is a metallic taste. Could this be the prawn's soul that I’m tasting as it dances on my tongue before it evaporates and flies away?

The last few prawns in the bowl are the fortunate ones. They've been soaking in booze long enough to the point of being oblivious to their circumstances. Although a few of them already have hangovers and vow never to swim in alcohol again, the rest of them tell each other how much they love each other. One prawn looks around and sees blurry faces and washed-out watercolor everywhere. The warm, fuzzy feelings remain, but then slowly, inevitably and mercifully the sweet prawns fade into the sweet hereafter.

At last it came time for the main event. Our four-pound live lobster sashimi was paraded out on an ornate wooden vessel shaped like an ancient Chinese boat. Don’t the Vikings have some kind of ritual involving a boat and their dead warriors? I don’t doubt that at one time our lobster was warrior-like battling predators such as wolf fish. But not today. At present its head is mounted on to a bed of crushed ice with the tail and its meat following. The head is propped up. The reunited lobster looks like it’s on its hind legs and poised to attack. But all the king’s horses and all the king’s men and all the king’s chefs could not put this lobster back together again. There was going to be no attack from this lobster. It could only lazily wave its right claw and generate slight movement from one of the antennae and maybe a random appendage.

The lobster’s eyes, glossy black with some sign of life, seemed to watch us snatch pieces of itself off of its back. That, however, is unlikely since the lobster has very poor vision. But why the cruel display? Was this sadism? Actually this display is a two thousand year-old Japanese tradition which has a more practical and less demented rationale. Essentially this presentation is the ultimate proof of freshness - the freshness date stamp from a time when the only proof of freshness was a twitching head. And, yes, it is worth all the histrionics.

Live lobster sashimi has a disarmingly crunchy texture that segues into a pleasant chewiness. Crunchewy, to steal a term. The flavor of the flesh is not as sweet as the prawns but still a noticeable flavor like a slight ocean nectar or a stolen Mermaid’s kiss. And when a wasabi-soy sauce slurry joins in with this fresh lobster meat, the sweet-salty plus the wasabi sting combination is so completely rewarding that any guilt inspired plans to join PETA suddenly vanish.

lobster sashimi
Seefood. Get it? See. Food. Nevermind.


The reality is live lobster sashimi is not live when it gets to the table. It was made dead as soon as it was cut into two. The remaining nerve or muscle reflexes give us the appearance that perhaps there is still something going on in there somewhere. "Maybe it sees us eating it," is a common observation. Maybe its last thoughts are of the happy giants who seem to be enjoying its flesh so much. They eat, smile and eat some more. They even make a toast in its honor. The lobster possibly thinks to itself that it has never made anyone so happy in its life, and now it finally has done so with the only life it had to give. And maybe it says to itself, “At least in my dying moments I brought joy to a table full of strangers.”

With the last of its consciousness drifting, its final thought may be, “Next time I’d like to come back as a man-eating shark.”

The lobster now lifeless with its eyes still black and glistening.

46 comments:

Juliet said...

As tasty as the live drunken shrimp (the mental image of a drunken shrimp cracks me up, by the way) and lobster sashimi sounds, it also sounds like too much work for my taste. I don't even like peeling the shell off a dead shrimp to eat it. I may be an adventurous eater, but I am also a lazy one.

Colleen Cuisine said...

Fantastic article - the popcorn shrimp story sounds almost too far-fetched to be true... but I believe it. Hopefully you were all drunk, making the catching and eating that much more difficult.

elmomonster said...

Of all your exploits, this might be one that I wouldn't mind trying out for myself. Although I think I'd prefer them closer on the side of "dead", so that I don't chicken out and leave starving.

Liked this part the best: "Imagine Frankenstein’s monster with a tutu..."

I did, and I think the writing lobster half-body with marachino cherry is much more humiliating -- ten times more silly.

Eddie Lin said...

juliet,

you will be rewarded by all that shelling with the sweetest, most succulent flesh you've ever tasted in your life. i highly recommend it, at least the version i had.


colleen cuisine,

believe it! in fact, another video will soon be on the way. stay tuned!


elmo,

try it. roland heights is so near the O.C. it practically is in the O.C. it's worth the drive. i'd love to read a story on your blog about it.

Anonymous said...

Astoundingly well written! Have you see this video (frog sashimi):
http://theync.com/r050106frog.shtml

- Carl
theWAREHOUSE
http://warehouse.carlh.com

Eddie Lin said...

Carl,

Thanks for the generous compliment. Glad you like the article.

Yes, I've seen that segment. I actually have the entire show Tivo'd. The show is a Travel Channel show called "Bizarre Foods: Asia". A Deep End Dining show was pitched to the Travel Channel by a production company I have been working closely with. Travel Channel passed. The reason is "Bizarre Foods". They already had something similar "cooking". Oh well.

Yasmin said...

You are a true food warrior...I'm not sure I'd be up to the task, but it sound amazing and I'm sure it helped to know that the shrimp went out nice and drunk! What was that place that Jonathan Gold reviewed in K-Town a few years back? Living Food Center? That seems like child's play now..!

Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

"Stories involving live lobster sashimi sounded so outrageous to me that I summarily discounted them and categorized them among the lucky fuck tales found in the Penthouse Forum and the grotesque descriptions of bat boy in the Weekly World News."
Brilliant.

I came because I have a mad crush on Megan, but I stayed because I'm paralyzed with fear by my food staring me down.

Mulk said...

awesome! a well written journey

Eddie Lin said...

yasmin,

"a true food warrior". that makes me sound sort of tough. even a bad ass. i like it. although master yoda might retort and say that "food does not a warrior make" or something to that effect.


jerk of all trades,

thank you for the nice comment. also, i'll let megan know there's someone out there with a mad crush on her. get in line.


the incredible mulk,

i'm glad you appreciated it.

Bill Belew said...

Ugh, you've just reminded me of my first encounter with drunken shrimp. Not one of my finest hours. I'm afraid they went down, but didn't stay down.

X said...

Uh... That's Rowland Heights, not Roland. And it's a good 20 miles by freeway to Anaheim, so that's not exactly close for those who live in Irvine or further south (The Real OC).

Eddie Lin said...

bill belew,

maybe the drunken shrimp were losing their lunch too with all that booze making their heads spin.


x,

thanks for the heads up. it's been corrected.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Loved this post!!! The photos (and captions) are awesome too.

Eddie Lin said...

thanks, tokyoastrogirl,

that's really nice of you! really appreciate the comment.

T Monster said...

Great article Eddie. Love the pics and the blow by blow account. Mucho Kudos.

I've had both before and you're right about the prawns having sweet flesh.

For the most hardcore of seafood sashimi fans, Mantis Shrimp is top followed by squid.

I recommend both if you ever get the chance to go onto the pacific waters. I had both whilst in Indonesia- great experience.

Eddie Lin said...

t-monster,

thanks, i'm happy that you enjoyed the article. mmmm-mmm, mantis shrimp sounds big and good. i'll keep an eye out for them.

T Monster said...

Hi Eddie,

I forgot to mention that the reason both are for the hardcore, is that they both spurt bodily fluids when about to be sashimi'd. Beware!

Gourmetish said...

Ok, best post ever. I've been wondering about drunken shrimp forever and didn't even know about eating the lobster "live". My favorite food is the shrimp so I'm very intriged. You make eating a live shrimp sound so romantic and poetic that I nearly weeped! Ahhh,it was an ode to the shrimp (and lobster).

quirkypandacub said...

i remember my mother telling us stories about eating drunken shrimp when she was still single. i would laugh in delight and envy as my sister recoiled and yelled "EWWW! that's so mean!"

but then, even today, she's a carnivore in denial

Eddie Lin said...

t monster,

i need to experience the full-on japanese version in japan where the chef preps the lobster right before you. that way i REALLY know it's fresh.


gourmetish,

thanks for such a nice comment. either i'm getting soft with my writing or your hormones are working you good. ; )


quirkypandacub,

there's something satisfying about making one's sister squirm. i used lizards.

T Monster said...

Hi Eddie,

you can get the same version in Indonesia for about 1/3 the price, so if you are ever in Jakarta,head to a sushi Tei and wear a big napkin.

I've had it there, but it's nothing super special.

What's intriguing however, are the persistent rumours that there is an underground place where you can partake in Nyotaimori. Beware.

Eddie Lin said...

T-Monster,

"Nyotaimori." You're a bad boy. I hope that place is all-you-can-eat.

Oh, behave!

Anonymous said...

the act of eating and torturing living things like that is grotesque. i hope those who try these cuisine get "eaten live" one day too...probably by sharks while surfing or something like that. These eaters are just generating bad karma for themselves. period.

Eddie Lin said...

anonymous,

at which point in this story did you read torture? and the part about eating the food live, you realize most creatures on this earth are eaten alive, very few animals can prep, cook and plate their meals. fyi.

also, using your logic, if someone goes to the store and buys any kind of meat, then that person should pay "karmically" by being herded up, slaughtered, butchered and ground up for meatballs.

T Monster said...

anonymous>>

veg ain't holy and wholesome either... root vegetables contribute to thousands of dead worms each day, farmed veg have cause mass murders of insects- slow suffocating deaths no less due to pesticides.

Go back to the purgatory from whence you came.

Anonymous said...

You're a horrible monster. I wish I could peel off parts of your body while you're alive.

Eddie Lin said...

t monster,

stir it up!


anony,

i'm going to assume that you are an extreme animal activist. you and your kind's statements are becoming tiresome and cliche. you get offended by something i write and then you threaten me or curse me by wishing that i would get the same treatment or better yet come back as the animal i ate and be consumed in the same way it was consumed by me. odd logic, don't you think. that's just stinkin' thinkin'.

Anonymous said...

If you wish to eat an animal do it with respect to the animal's life.. keeping it alive is nothing but cruelty. I dont understand how it improves the taste or the experience unless you're especially sadistic.

Spiced Hammer (not registered) said...

I was presented as a child with live cuttlefish to show me what it means to eat a fellow animal. As we stared at each other and I at its violently flashing skin I chewed on the fact that this is what happens to beef. I imagine it's agony was just less than that of the animals we usually eat and a lot more than that of the drunken shrimp. Slaughtering involves NO anesthetic of any kind because we don't want certain drugs in our food. They're hung by hooks and cut open while still alive so their hearts can pump out the blood. My squid was lucky to be served on numbing ice, and the shrimp luckier still to die of alchohol poisoning instead.

Eddie Lin said...

anony,

explain that "respect" bit to the rest of the animal kingdom. the fact is, and there is no disputing this, most animals on this planet are eaten ALIVE. is a lion not respecting a wildebeest when he takes it down and tears it apart while the rest of the pride gathers around and feeds on the still alert prey? or should the lion demonstrate some courtesy and respect by sending the wildebeest off to a nice slaughter house while he unfurls his knife roll and greases up his fry pan? you think an animal knows the difference or even cares if it's a lion or a human eating it? respect is the last thing on its mind.

respect is something humans project on the rest of the food chain to make themselves feel less guilty about being at the top of it.


spiced hammer,

thank you for the examples. at least you speak from experience. i appreciate it. now THAT is respect for your food.

Jemma said...

I have no problem with one creature eating another -- such is the way of nature. I prefer to kill my own food than buy it in a supermarket, as I want to take responsibility for it's death than exist in a state of ignorance regarding meat's origins.

However, I find the idea that this is poetic, distasteful. Tasting it's soul? Laughing as it tries to escape? There is an element of waste and wanton luxury to these dishes that I find unpleasant.

Still, an interesting article. It leaves me wanting a stiff drink.

W. said...

In Japan, I was served still twitching fish of some sort (it's been long enough that I don't recall the type) and since as a child I didn't even eat sashimi at the time, I took a pass on the whole experience. Still, the image has stuck with me and slowly changed from a sort of existential horror to mere activation of the salivary glands.

More recently, in Beijing, I recall eating stacks of cooked prawns, but what struck me then was we ate them whole and unpeeled. Is it not feasible to do this with the live shrimp? I suppose the grilling process might make the shells more palatable...

Sounds fascinating, all around.

Anonymous said...

completely and totally disgusting. a true commentary on the arrogant self-entitlement of humankind. there is an incredibly obvious difference between eating an animal after it has been slaughtered (no matter how cruel the slaughter was) and violently slaughtering and eating the animal while it is still living. totally disrepectful towards animal-derived food. what are these creatures to you? i mean, not only do you take their life to sustain yours, you disrespect them by creating some unnecessarily sick show out of their death?

and, no, i'm not a member of PETA nor am i a vegetarian. but i do respect nature and recognize the true blessing and responsibility of being at the top of the food chain. i hope that all of you develop some sense of humility towards earth and nature.

Betsy said...

So, yeah, this was posted more than 1/2 a year ago, but I had to comment. The drunken shrimp and the lobster sashimi sound fantastic! My favorite sashimi of all time is amaebi - sweet, raw shrimp. There was a place in Tokyo that I used to go to that would serve the shrimp peeled, but with the head still attached. Twist of the head and suck down the mmmmm mmmmm sweet flesh. God, that was good. I wonder if my predisposition to just the shrimp would make me not like the rice wine flavoring of drunken shrimp as much... I, too, recall being served fish sashimi in Tokyo the same way w. was, but unlike w., I partook and loved it all. =) Nothing like knowing your sashimi is 100% fresh!

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Disturbing. Unnecessary. Something's terribly wrong with you people.

Anonymous said...

what a ridiculous obsession you fools have. If you want to eat somethign that is alive, imagine the power & energy that a seed has , it explodes into an oak tree, a living or dying creature is just rotting until you excrete it. vegetables, fruits and grain are still alive not in a state of decay.No wonder meat including fish makes people stink and taste bad. All the great flavors come from vegetables, fruits, grains,nuts,fungi and herbs.

yehadut said...

Wow, you are a depraved sadist. Perhaps you tell yourself, such cruelty happens all the time in nature, but since when do we take our ethical cues from the law of the jungle -- murder and infanticide happen all the time in nature, and yet for what killer would that present a compelling defense? Or perhaps you tell yourself that slaughterhouses are no less cruel. Cows and pigs are required to be rendered unconscious before slaughter -- a recognition of the moral repugnance of what you're doing here -- but even if they weren't, that's a reason to ensure slaughter is more humane, not a justification for inflicting gratuitous suffering. This kind of torture-for-entertainment is like dogfighting, utterly abhorrent, what Senator Byrd recently called the kind of activity for which the hottest parts of hell are reserved.

I'm not trying to insult you, just sharing some thoughts to consider. None of us are perfect, but all of us are perfectible, if we're open to hearing other points of view.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely disgusting and, frankly, evil. Surely we humans can do better than this?

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the animal rights activists and vegans. Reality check: we humans are omnivores and are on the top of the food chain. Our body's physiology is designed to process protien. Plus, if you want to get technical, isn't harvesting of fruits and vegetables cruel too? They are, in fact living things right? You can eat them when they are freshly plucked and eaten raw, right? Just something to think about......

Anonymous said...

People who say that make me laugh. Plants are biologically functioning organisms, not living beings. They incapable of thought, self-awareness, and other things. They wouldn't be able to grow any other way. I think what truly separates the monstrosity from the necessity is the fact that we would turn to an intelligent and brilliantly designed creature as a source of good food. Just appalling.

Anonymous said...

How would you know if plants are incapable of thought? My cousin the bean-sprout is gonna kick your vegan ass.

Anonymous said...

it says a lot about you as a person that you can eat (and laugh) while you are eating a sentient creature alive....none of it good by the way.

Im no preachy veggie, but the comments on here about the killing of plants and vegetable are moronic in the extreme and worth no further comment.

Andrea said...

Ever heard of live fried fish? It's a Chinese delicacy - a fish whose whole body, except the head, has been fried in oil while it is alive. Some poor Chinese sous chef gets the job of putting on a glove and holding the head while the rest of the body sizzles. When it is brought to your plate, it is often still wriggling and opening and closing its mouth. Doesn't get much fresher than that.

Anonymous said...

On the topic of drunken shrimp. Does anyone know what kind of 'rice wine' was used for the dish?

Easier still, what color was it? Clear or more of a brown sherry-like wine?

'Chinese rice wine' is such a broad category, I'm just trying to narrow it down.

Imagine following a recipe for a Guinness braised lamb shank where the recipe doesn't say 'stout beer' but simply 'beer'.

Further compound the issue by pretending that you lived in an imaginary country where no one drank beer. Since you have only anecdotally heard of beer and you are quite ignorant of the wide range of flavors that beer has to offer, you assume that all beer is the same.

You go to your local beer import store and buy a few PBR tallboys instead of a Guinness (or nice oatmeal stout). Your lamb shanks now taste different than the original recipe was shooting for.

Thanks for the story, I'll be trying both the shrimp and lobster at home.

Eddie Lin said...

The wine was a shao hsing cooking wine. The dark one.