Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cuttlefish anyone?

The other day TWSF walked down to DC's Chinatown for some authentic Chinese food at Full Kee. I didn't want to be the typical white person and order beef lo mien, so I decided to go deep into their 9 page menu and order something exotic. My pallet hadn't been expanded in a while, I was feeling pretty ambitious and wanted to channel my inner Andrew Zimmern. After a few passes through the menu, I narrowed my selection down to cold jelly fish, pig skin and duck blood, and marinated cuttlefish (Asians eat some crazy stuff). The other blogger made it an easy decision by quickly axing the jellyfish and duck blood. So I ordered the $8 marinated cuttlefish listed under the 'gourmet dishes' section. Marinated in what? Who knows. Cooked or raw? No idea. I have long been a huge fan of the amazing cuttlefish and was excited to eat a zoo quality animal.

The cuttlefish was the first dish the waiter brought from the kitchen and we were taken aback. The generous portion resembled a four inch pile of thinly sliced erasers (the big ones you used to get back in elementary school) in a puddle of soy sauce. After sifting through the pile and selecting what seemed like two of the better specimens, Megan and I tentatively grasped a piece with our chopsticks and raised them to our mouths. The smell hit me when the cuttlefish was 6 inches from my nose and I knew then that this was not going to be a pleasant experience.

The taste was totally unique and I do not know how to describe it. To put it plainly it tasted gross with a hint of soy sauce (Megan's note: there was something foul about it).  Chewing the piece of flesh felt like eating a dollar store flip flop. This was unfortunate because it required way more chews than normal, forcing the taste to stay on our tongues much longer than we would have liked. I couldn't tell if it was cooked or not, but the meat was room temperature which was offputting. After forcing mine down, I glanced over at Megan, she looked like she had just seen a ghost and was aimlessly chewing with the distant, vacant stare of someone in shock.

After I reminded Megan to swallow, I was able to force down 3 more pieces on purely on principle, I didn't want to seem like the white boy who couldn't handle his ambitious order. Each piece of that amazing invertebrate was tougher to swallow than the last and I reluctantly admitted defeat before making even the smallest dent in the pile. I understand that cuttlefish is an acquired cultural taste and I have a new found admiration for those who manage to eat enough of the cephalopod to develop the taste.

Despite being one of the higher rated Chinese restaurants in DC the rest of the meal wasn't much better than the cuttlefish and we left Full Key disappointed. We have admitted to being food snobs and revel in appreciating the unappreciated, but everyone has their limits and we reached ours that fateful night. Next time I'll stick with the lo mein.

Full Kee on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment