- BIRD'S NEST SOUP:
There are such interesting shops in Chinatown. Some stores actually sell ginseng exclusively and this isn't the little crappy stuff you buy up at the counter of a health food store. This is the real deal ginseng root which can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars per pound. Other specialty shops have dead dried sea creatures and shark fins stuffed into large glass jars. Most of these items are quite expensive. The shark fin is a delicacy from what I understand and is generally prepared as a soup.
The strangest thing I've seen yet is the selling of birds nests. I asked a woman about it one time while she was inspecting an entire box of them. She asked the clerk how much the box was. $2000 bucks! I was like WHAT?! The woman wasn't as shocked as me but she handed it back to the store owner. I was told you can use the nests to make soup and it's supposed to offer some great health benefits. There were maybe 20-30 nests in the box and I suppose you can make a lot of soup out of that many nests but I mean come on. Campells should really drop their whole tomato soup crusade and sell some creamed dead sea animals instead, or a nice broth of twigs stuck together with bird spit.
While writing this in my notebook I just dropped a huge shrimp off my chopsticks and it landed SPLAT right in the middle of my table. So much for the 2004 Mr. Chopstick championship tournament next week. God I'm totally going to embarrass myself. I did just save face by snatching up a few single peanuts one by one and tossing them in the air and catching them in my mouth. I received a few applause as I was escorted out by 3 busboys.
After reading the comment on this post I did some internet research and found this article on the shark fin soup thing which is quite disturbing. Click HERE to read it.