Saturday, May 05, 2007
Margy's Beijing Journal: What Have We Here?
Tonight, as Margy was finishing up her workday, her friends/hosts asked a familiar question in a most unfamiliar way. Instead of the usual "What would you like to eat tonight?" or "What are you in the mood for now?" they asked, "Would you like to eat some donkey?"
"Sure..." Margy said, not a little timidly. "Is it good?"
Next thing she knew she was whisked off to what seemed like the outskirts of town, where she and her posse drove down a dirt road and arrived at a building that was hopping with activity and aglow from the neon sign out front (Margy says she saw lots of neon on her trip). The sign was translated for her: "Beijing's #1 Donkey Restaurant."
Now that I think of it, I neglected to ask how many other donkey restaurants there are in Beijing.
The place offered its signature ingredient in an array of preparations, and Margy's party chose donkey patties (top right). She said they were quite good, covered with sesame seeds and filled with juicy red meat. (The big pot holds a mountain of tofu, which was eaten with the sauces, presumably nondonkey all, in front of the pot.) I think she understood that her hang-ups -- if, in fact, she had any; I'm not quite sure -- were purely cultural and that hey, this is where you eat donkey, so gimme some. When I got her text message about this swashbuckling dinner, I said to myself, I married the right girl. Of course, then I said to myself, Wait, I've never eaten donkey.
So send me to China and bring me to Beijing's #1 Donkey Restaurant, and I'll do my part. But you know what they say about donkey: It goes straight to your ass!