Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dried, flattened rats are food

There's a parking lot by the school that cuts off about 5 minutes walking if I cut through it. During the day, it's just a parking lot. But at night, street vendors set up shop. Most of the parking lot is full of fold up chairs and tables, with a portable tent set up above it. There's only a narrow alley you can walk through the street vendors on either side.

They're all stif-frying with enormous flames. Smoke is everywhere. There's so much oil in the air, it stings your eyes and burns your lungs as you walk by. In front of the stir-fryers are all of their ingredients, which are basically at your feet as you stumble through them. On the table next to them is all of the vegetables and sauces. There's a cutting board up there where they chop vegetables or huge bloody chunks of meat.

In the front of the table is many meat items. There's mounds of pork of course, but next to the pork is a pile of intestines, dried, flattened rats (oh yes), ox tails, whole chickens and ducks, snails, and more.

On the ground by your feet is the good stuff: The live stuff. There's a big tub of enormous fish in shallow water. (The first day I was there, one flipped out of the water 10 feet away from me, and came lunging towards me. It landed about a foot behind me. It was almost as if it had seen me coming and was yelling, 'Pick Me!' Another tub was full of live crawfish. A bucket of live snakes, a chicken with a basket over it, a mesh bag of toads jumping around...so much more that I can't recall at the moment. It's really quite a sight. All of these items are ready for you to point at, and they get thrown in the wok.

I'm sure the time will come when all previously mentioned animals and animal parts will make it into the wok that will feed me. I can't wait.

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