Dogs off the menu in China, but not animal organs.
Couple questions of mine have been answered through this article. Few weeks back, I posted on the banning of dog meat in China. I was unsure about whether this was a permanent ban or a temporary ban, but after reading through this article, dogs will only be off the menu for 2 months. The previous article can be read here.
Dog may be off the menu for the Olympic Games, but adventurous gourmands can still choose from a dazzling array of culinary delights in Beijing — from seal penis to cow stomach, deep-fried scorpions or sea urchins, turtle (really best done as a broth) and brains in hot pot.
The banning of dog from official Olympic eateries, most of which seem to be in the 112 designated Olympic hotels, is just one example of the lengths the authorities are going to make foreigners welcome and safe.
Not only have standard English translations been introduced for hundreds of the most popular Chinese dishes in Beijing, a sophisticated food monitoring system is promising that if a food-borne illness occurs at an Olympic site, the source can be tracked within 10 minutes.
The ban on serving dog, by the Beijing Catering Trade Association, is not binding on the rest of the city's thousands of restaurants, but they too have been urged to take canine off the menu in the interests of not upsetting too many foreigners.
Locals may be grumbling after some of the city's favourite eateries were forced to close for two months because they are considered too close to venues, but others such as Beijing's first specialty penis restaurant is still taking bookings.
The other question I had (not really a question, but a moment of ponder ) was what they are going to do if there was a disease epidemic in China when the Olympics is occurring. The system they have setup to track food through GPS is quite impressive. Nice to see the lengths they are going through to protect the tourists and visitors
To allay fears of a food-induced disease outbreak, organisers have developed an Olympic food monitoring system using GPS and barcodes to track produce from the farm to Olympic canteens. The system, which is meant to ensure any disease outbreak can be tracked within 10 minutes of someone falling ill, was developed with the help of the NSW Food Authority, which was responsible for food safety at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Farms supplying Olympic food are also strictly monitored for use of fertiliser and pesticides — in many cases, organic pesticides and physical insect traps.
For all of those people who are a little squeamish and a bit skeptical about the different types of food offered in China, you need not to worry.
For those wanting something a little less challenging than reproductive organs, Beijing also has some of the world's best Chinese cuisine, from restaurants specialising in Beijing roast duck and Beijing hot pot (which you can order without brains or stomach or other internal organs), to Imperial-style restaurants serving the menus of emperors and revolutionary restaurants where waitresses, dressed in Mao suits, serve the favourite food of Mao Zedong and other revolutionary leaders.
For Westerners pining for something more familiar, Beijing also has many good European restaurants. If it all gets too much, there is always McDonald's, the official fast food supplier to the Games, plus the Chinese favourite, KFC.
Some information about animal reproductive organs on the menu:
The Guolizhuang penis restaurant, which has now expanded to five franchises after opening in the capital three years ago, offers such delights as lobster with donkey penis, horse penis and testicles with chilli dip, and the speciality: "Head Crowned with Jade Bracelet". A dietitian is available to explain the many health benefits and which dishes are best avoided by female diners.
Seal penis costs 3288 yuan and banquets can cost from 2000 yuan to 100,000 yuan for tables of 10-12 diners, but set menus featuring penis hotpot and several other dishes start from just 200 yuan per person.
I am personally open to a lot of weird food (weird to the Western society). However, there are still some foods that are off-limits to me. The advice I have for anyone who is in the realm of Chinese restaurants and want to try some of the local favourites but a little suspicious, just eat the food without knowing what it actually is. When people start telling you what that brown goo and blob is, you would not want to put that in your mouth.