China Dispatch: You Dim Sum, You Lose Some

Every animal and insect must live in total fear here because they could be on the menu at any given moment. Sautéed bee larvae, donkey meat and bamboo worms are a few of the menu items that left an impression. The very popular “bird’s nest” is not a euphemism. It’s a bird’s nest. Aren’t bird’s nests made from twigs? you ask. Most, sure, but this bird makes his nest from saliva. Then a Chinese guy comes and steals it, tells ladies it’s good for them, and they eat it. For the love of God, who thought of eating a spit-constructed avian domicile in the first place?
I can deal with goose head, duck tongue, chicken stomach and pig’s ears – but the typical Chinese menu is like an episode of Fear Factor without the chance to win anything other than irritable bowel syndrome.
China’s “One Child” policy is extremely unpopular with people I’ve talked to who want more than one child. According to a friend here, the penalty for having more spawn is three times your annual income. That explains the availability of condoms everywhere. But China’s “One Menu” policy is inexplicable. Two people, one menu. Almost every time, except for the fancy-pants restaurant and the place that wanted me to eat donkey meat.
China does not encourage the use of any safety devices. This is part of the “Please Die, We’re Full” policy. If you have a bike, simply have your one child sit on the back and cling to something while you navigate the chaotic traffic. Do not wear a helmet as it might protect you when you’re struck by the side-view mirror of a bus.
Someone tell Marx it didn’t work out. It’s capitalism here. The only communist remnants are the gigantic bureaucracy, the one party, and the totalitarian nonsense that comes with communism. But as far as the classless society? Deader than Mao.
There are none. Any PETA foot soldier would burst into tears at the double-decker donkey hauler, or the stuff-twenty-pigs-in-the-back-mobile. I’ve seen small crates with more chickens in them than a coked-out Colonel Sanders could strangle in three hours.
In fact, some of these animals have such miserable lives you’re actually doing them a favor by wokking them. Basically, there are two types of animal here: beasts of burden or dinner. Or in the case of donkeys, both.