So. Our good friends J&J went to Thailand recently, and while they were there they took a cooking class. Or more likely several cooking classes, judging by the level of proficiency they seem to have attained. Anyway, they invited the Wife and I and several of our friends over last night for a traditional Thai feast. I love Thai food. I love the spices and textures and flavors, the lightness of the rice, the heady peanut aura that infuses the chicken, etc. etc. The thing is, when shopping for ingredients for this amazing feast, J stumbled upon something that should never have been, something that, to my surprise and horror, I could not eat.
Now, this is a strange thing indeed. I have eaten strange things that others find repellent. I ate fried grasshoppers last month. I regularly eat octopus, which I find amazing. But this, this was beyond me.
This thing, this abomination, was the Century Egg.
What the fuck is a century egg, you ask. A century egg the fuck is a duck's egg that has been preserved in a mixture of ash, lime, salt and rice hulls for several months. The shell has become a beautiful, intricately patterned thing not unlike polished stone. The white has turned to a jellied, translucent mass the color of amber resin. And the yolk. OH GOD THE YOKE.
So these things got broken out last night. I watched JW eat one, cautiously. She commented that it was "salty", and not her "favorite food". C. ate one and grimaced painfully, then offered one to her husband J., who placed it in his mouth and immediately vomited into the sink.
Seeing this, I though "well shit I’d better try that right away".
So I cracked one open. The colors are instantly alarming. Food that looks like death, as the century egg does, is generally best left alone, if you value your septic system. But apparently these things were intended for human consumption, so wtf.
I studied my adversary intently. The thing, though vile, was actually quite beautiful in an evil sort of way, like the fang of a cobra. I steeled myself to eat it, brought it to my face, and inhaled.
Now, I’m not saying I would have fared any better had I just popped it in instead of smelling first. But when that stench hit me, brothers and sisters, I surrendered immediately. Many people describe the smell of century egg as sulfur mixed with ammonia. Sounds bad enough. But that is not the century egg. The smell of the century egg is the smell of corruption, the smell of creeping decay, of the charnel house, of the conqueror worm. Imagine not showering for a week. Then imagine you have eaten nothing but Indian food and malt liquor for the week. Then imagine that, on Friday night, you somehow fall asleep with your thumb up your own ass. Then on Saturday, as soon as you wake up, you smell your thumb. That, my friends. That is the smell of century egg.
I threw the goddamned, christless thing onto my plate and declared that I would NEVER, under any circumstances, eat such a thing.
So yeah, I failed. But you know what? That fucking thing smelled like ass. So fuck that shit.