Blood on the Menu

This one is a big meal.
– main dish: beef and water spinach (kangkong), stir fried
– side dish: mix of seaweed, tea egg, and tofu
– soup: pig blood cubes

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Let’s start with the easiest palatable, stir fried beef and kangkong. This is delicious. There’s a definite contrast between the soft and tender beef slices and crunchy kangkong. There’s a tinge of light spice in the flavor of the sauce that I can’t describe, although fried shallots and raw, crushed garlic is quite obvious. That raw, crushed garlic maybe is not common taste to many. In the picture below, the white bits are raw garlic.

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The side dish is a typical cold dish, served colder than room temperature, like the century egg and tofu.

Tea eggs are boiled slow in a tea brew, the shells cracked slightly before dropping them to the hot tea. Notice the dark hue at the outer edges of the egg white, that is caused by tea. The tofu slices is not the common tofu in cudes, these are cylindrical like in hotdog’s shape, less air bubbles in it, and more chewy. They are called tougan (vocalize the g lightly, sort of k‘ish, not the very pronounced g in “goat”).

The sea weed sheets are reprocessed sea weeds- ground and rolled into sheets, then sliced. It tastes just like sea weed of course, nothing added.

The whole combination is topped with fine slices of yound ginger.

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Now for the last one: pig blood cubes soup. This one is understandably repugnant to many in so many levels.

The soup does not taste of blood at all (see Note). Apparently, the blood have congealed before being cooked, and it wasn’t cooked until the curds break down, so it does not lend any taste to the soup itself. The soup tastes of strong fried shallot, with hints of asparagus and fermented cruciferous vegetables (I found cabbage, and chinese cabbage or pechay, 2nd pic). The blood curds are tough enough to be picked by chopsticks, the taste is very mild.
Note: I know how a cooked blood taste because there’s a dish in the Philippines called dinuguan, pig blood stew.

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That’s many Taiwanese delights in one meal folks!


Update: I searched for blood use in the cuisine of different cultures, I came across these articles:

blood soup
black pudding

To be honest, I never thought blood is eaten in so many part of the world! I’ve been too proud declaring “I know how a cooked blood taste” not knowing so many people know too.

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