Chinese people eat silkworms

Chinese Cuisine: These dishes are not for the faint of heart

Forget everything you know about Chinese cuisine: it's much more intense. There are plenty of famous dishes made from beef, lamb, pork or duck. But for some foods you need steel stomach nerves.

Rule number one in China: Everything that cannot escape is boiled, grilled or cooked. You already know swallow nests: The Chinese are enthusiastic about saliva, which is said to have a medicinal healing effect. Here you have to pay 30 yuan per gram in the pharmacy, that's around four euros.

Almost everything is eaten in China

But there is more: only the toughest China tourists dare to visit cooked silkworms, turtles and sea worms, the inside of a camel's hoof or roasted scorpions - although the latter should still be tolerable and taste like crispy shrimp. The poisonous insects are offered as a small snack on a skewer in the hutongs, the alleyways of Beijing's old town. The sea cucumber is a delicacy for the Chinese: The slimy sea creatures actually taste like nothing.

But it has a special peculiarity: in the event of an attack, the animal spits out part of its innards, which the predatory fish swallows. The sea cucumber then immediately produces new organs.

This characteristic of the animal, also known as the sea roller, seems wonderful to the Chinese - it promises regeneration and health. The inhabitants of the sea floor are offered for around ten euros each in the restaurant. Dried sea cucumber can quickly cost 8,000 yuan, that's 1,000 euros.

Otherwise, the Chinese really eat everything: the head is often considered the finest piece of fish or duck, as are the feet of most animals. And meat on the bone is much more expensive than a fillet. But no Chinese would drink sparkling mineral water. Soup is drunk in the Chinese language, tea is eaten - so there is a hearty smack when a tea leaf is with them. >>

The boss is at the head of the room

In restaurants, meals are usually served in a single room with a round table. The most important person who is served first is always seated at the head of the room - and to the left of the patriarch is his adjutant. A heavy, rotatable glass plate rests on the round table - which is only rotated clockwise, otherwise there is a risk of misfortune. Everything that the cook has just finished is served on the plate. That means: a sweet starter is placed cheerfully next to the main course. But if fruit is served on the platter - plus tomatoes, which are not considered vegetables - then the last course is served.

By the way, the Chinese don't eat from their own plate - everything goes straight to their mouths from the plate. There are small plates in the area, but they are intended for spitting out bones or bones. The Peking duck is served like this in the capital: pieces of duck are wrapped in rice pancakes with leek and cucumber and a bean sauce. It is then eaten by hand.

Hell schnapps Maotai as a test of confidence

Of course there is also a lot of mugs - with Maotai. The clear one brings up to 70 revolutions into the glass, the standard strengths are 53 or 63 percent. Why this national drink made from grain and millet costs several hundred euros per bottle is a mystery to us: After opening, a musty smell of GDR laminate and old socks makes escape impossible. In the first few seconds, a sweet, heavy aroma of rotten mirabelle plums spreads out in the mouth - and then it's over because all the taste buds have been killed. Nevertheless, as a foreigner you will have to drink heavily: Just like in Russia, a business partner is only considered trustworthy if his tongue has been loosened by the hellfire.

Prepare yourself for the fact that your host's adjutants toast you constantly - you will be tested for taker qualities. If you try to cheat with water, you will be lost forever. Your Chinese hosts will of course ask you all the details without hesitation: what job you have, what you earn, how old you are - this also applies to women.

Just don't lose face

Even when toasting, secret rules apply in the People's Republic: Everyone wants to hold the glass lower when toasting to demonstrate modesty, so both sides go down. So that the drinking fellows do not end up on the ground, the lower rank stops the hustle and bustle at some point by holding on to the glass of the person opposite and bumping into it. Often a toast is thrown around: Then the glass table top serves as a bush drum, everyone toasts each other with clinking glasses.

If you are still in your head after the Maotai battle, haggling over the bill begins. Everyone tries to convince the other that he and no one else has to foot the bill. There is never any sharing, especially not when a man and woman go out - then someone would lose face. Exactly the same applies if everything has been eaten empty: Then the host will order more so that it does not mean that he was stingy. Incidentally, most westerners are considered stingy in China.
A final remark: Of course, Chinese food is by no means just made up of absurdities - on the contrary: there are plenty of great dishes made from beef, lamb, pork or duck. By eating in small bites, you don't even notice how much you're feasting. Expect to gain about five kilograms in a week. You can find pictures of the unusual dishes from the Middle Kingdom in our photo show.