Another post from the days when almost none of you were around yet.

Ever been to China? Like, real China? I’m not talking about the one in the middle of San Fransisco, I’m talking about the place where you can get a room at a five-star hotel for $30/night and a block down the road you can pick up a nice dog roast (I’m being nice when I say roast; all I saw were dog legs to gnaw on), mostly hair free. Well, I have been there, twice now, and let me tell you that it is awesome. Most everything, that is, except for the food.

Thanks to some recent “experiences” in China, I don’t really like absolutely hate going out for Chinese food now. I used to love it. Problem is, I went to real China where they make real Chinese Food and eat it with real chopsticks and I’m pretty sure they always mix it with something disgusting. It was so bad that I can’t even stand the fake good stuff they make here in America anymore, just because they happen to claim it’s food from the same place.

First of all, it doesn’t help in a place like China that I am the adventurous type and I always try anything at least once. No matter how nasty it is. And China knows nasty when it comes to food.

There is no breakfast food. There is just China food. Every morning in the lobby of our 5-star hotel we ate breakfast and every morning it was the same grease soaked crap. And it’s the same crap you eat for lunch and dinner. I’d have given just about anything for some Reese’s Puffs. Or milk that came from an animal I’ve actually heard of. Or some type of meat that didn’t have course little curly hairs on it.

On the trip I last returned from, twice each day our supplier took us out to eat at some fancy restaurant. He never once asked us what we wanted; he or his assistant just loaded up the lazy susan (or maybe that’s lazy sieu san) full of different dishes. The menu photos certainly did live up to the plates they put in front of us.

Fried fish. And when I say fried fish, I mean little fish thrown in a frier, with their eyeballs and guts and heads and fins still very much part of the experience. Crab eggs. Mushrooms the size of eggplants that probably would have given me an awesome high if I had actually tried them. Turtle. Carp. Fish heads. Crocodile Legs. Frogs. Fried Entrails. You name it, it was probably on their menu. I think they’d even bring you out a plate of deep-fried sewage if you wanted it.

The first day or two of a trip to China, the experience of “getting the experience” makes it worth trying all the nasty nasty. It doesn’t take long though, before you just start skipping meals altogether and tackling the chauffeur when you pass a KFC. Causing a car crash wasn’t ever worth it though. I’m pretty sure it was just Kentucky Fried Chicken Feet.

The hot water they serve you to drink also gets really old really fast. The first words I learned to say in Chinese were Bin Shway (no that’s not spelled right, and no, nobody could ever understand me when I said it) which meant cold water. In China, they don’t serve cold water, they serve glasses of steaming hot water, sometimes hot enough to scald your tongue which is good because otherwise I’d have been teaching the waiters some of the not-so-good American expletives.

After about a week of the food in China you start losing track of time and space. Your mental and physical health quickly diminishes and you start eye-balling your own limbs as a better alternative to the food they’re forcing you to eat every day.

The day before the end of our journey, I looked at our supplier and I said, “tomorrow we want to buy you guys lunch.” He agreed. “But, we get to pick our own food off the menu”. He agreed. Quite honestly he didn’t know why we would have any sort of problem eating parrot beaks soaked in melted lard.

The next day arrived about a week later. We met for lunch and I snatched the menu up before anybody could say anything. There were a few words in English, though not many, but enough to figure out what the safe bets were. And I was going safe on this round. Italian. Yes, that sounds safe. Pizza. Yes, that sounds safe. Hawaiian Pizza. YES. SAFETY AT LAST! Seriously, can you go wrong with Hawaiian Pizza?

Yes. OMG yes, yes, yes, you can. Before I go on, you need to watch the video of the Hawaiian pizza. That’s right. You need to see this pizza at 30 frames per second. A still photograph just wouldn’t do.

I meant what I said in the last line of that video. There is no safe food in China.

I started to weep when we left lunch that day. I don’t know if I was crying because I had failed at finding something palatable when I had the chance, or because I ate three slices of the pizza while it was still moving. And guess what else. That wasn’t pineapple on top. I think it was buttapple. Was it coincidence that 30 minutes later I had to scream at the chauffeur to find a bathroom and quick? The diarrhea lasted three weeks. And that was enough to make me never want to eat Chinese Food again.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS, after extensive research, I’ve discovered that the moving stuff on top of the pizza is fish skin. I guess it reacts to heat somehow. They’re called Japanese Bonito Flakes. I just ordered me a bag and I think my next social gathering will be one that everybody remembers!

I am running rerun posts from August, 2010. This was shortly after I split from my wife, and shortly after I started this blog so I’m guessing almost none of you have ever read these. Hope you enjoy them. As for me, I am spending the week with my family. Today I’m hitting the slopes. And by hitting the slopes I mean that I’m probably tumbling head over heels down a black diamond. Happy Holidays everyone. I’ll see you with brand new posts after New Years.
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Dan Pearce is an American born writer, photographer, and artist. His books include "The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man" and "The Real Dad Rules." He is best known for his blog (and supporting Facebook page) "Single Dad Laughing," with 2 million followers as of 2018.