The great donkey meat – tiger piss – media whore axis

Trust me, it all connects.

Americans just don’t understand the reality of Chinese food. Mu shu pork, general’s chicken, all that Chinese restaurant crap you get in the US, has almost no relation to anything you can get in China. The defining highlights of Chinese cuisine, with the possible exception of dim sum, which followed the Cantonese diaspora, are conspicuously absent from American menus.

This is probably because the Chinese eat, not to put too fine a point on it, a lot of nasty shit. (Civit cat?) Don’t get me wrong, the Chinese have some fabulous food as well. But this is country of extremes, and as lofty as the culinary highs are, the lows are scraped straight from the floor of Hell’s own takeaway lunch counter. I’m fairly well inured to Asian and third world diets, having prowled much of the Indonesian archipelago and Indochina (not to mention China proper). But I do have my limits. And I reckon this dish –actually a scam– tests those limits:

Chinese Eatery Sold Donkey in Tiger Urine

SHANGHAI, China (AP) – A restaurant in northeastern China that advertised illegal tiger meat dishes was found instead to be selling donkey flesh – marinated in tiger urine, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Hufulou restaurant, located beside the Heidaohezi tiger reserve near the city of Hailin, had advertised stir-fried tiger meat with chilies for $98 as well as liquor flavored with tiger bone for $74 a bottle, the China Daily reported.

Damn, that’s nasty. On two levels. First, that people though they were eating tiger meat. Yes, I know that tiger meat is supposed to confer sexual prowess, etc. But tigers are still cats, and I own cats, and I can tell you with complete authority that cats are nasty creatures better looked at than eaten. Anyone who has seen what comes out of a cat on a daily basis will understand this. Tigers are pretty and regal, but, when carved into deli slices, they’re still cat meat. By the way, it’s worth reading the China Daily coverage as well, if only for this statement:

After inspection, the owner, Ma Shikun, confessed that the so-called tiger meat was actually donkey meat that had been dressed with tiger urine, to give the dish a “special” flavour.

It’s special alright.

Donkey I have no real issue with. Somehow the idea of eating donkey just seems somehow more savoury (in the metaphorical sense of the word) than eating tiger, and not just because donkeys are neither photogenic nor endangered. But donkey marinated in tiger urine? Check yourself in for therapy if that concept doesn’t automatically make your skin turn green and crawl like a carpet of millipedes. Only one thing on the face of planet should ever be marinated in tiger urine: Paris Hilton. In all circumstances, any form of cat urine should be treated like radioactive waste and interred in abandoned mines in Nevada under a “plain of thorns” sufficiently pointy and tall to dissuade future civilizations from excavating the site. Come to think of it, might not be a bad idea to put Paris Hilton down there too. And Da Shan while they’re at it. Of course if the two of them are put down there together with an unlimited supply of virility-inducing tiger urine, future civilizations stupid enough unearth the site may be confronted with a lost, buried society of hyper-white, inbred, bilingual media whores. I shudder at the prospect.

There is, of course, more, in this case from the AP story:

Raw meat was priced at $864 per kilogram.

The sale of tiger parts is illegal in China and officers shut down the restaurant, only to be told by owner, Ma Shikun, that the meat was actually that of donkeys, flavored with tiger urine to give the dish a “special” tang, the newspaper said.

The report didn’t say how the urine was obtained.

Authorities confiscated the restaurant’s profits and fined Ma $296 it said. It wasn’t clear what Ma was fined for. Selling donkey meat is not illegal in China and it is widely consumed in the northeast.

$864 a kilo is a lot to pay for piss-marinated donkey meat, under any circumstances. I am clearly in the wong business. I have to toil for days to earn $864, and that’s before Chinese government taxes and health contributions. Now many people may suggest that piss-marinated donkey meat and press releases really aren’t all that different, but I don’t write by the kilo no matter how much it may seem that way to journalists.

As to how they collected the urine, I suppose that’s the hidden cost of earning $864 on capital costs of roughly zero, assuming that donkeys are dirt cheap and the cost of rasing and keeping the tigers wasn’t born by the restaurateur. It occurs to me that $864 might be actually be a justified price for piss-marinated donkey meat considering the health implications of collecting (and working with) the ingredients. I mean, how does one collect enough tiger urine to marinate a donkey?

Nice kitty! Hold still…

Thanks to Hose-B for the article.

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