Asia | China | Yunnan Province | Mangshi – Eating out of a cow’s stomach
When I passed Mangshi on the way to Ruili, Ithought it was a modernized city without much character. A stroll around dinner time proved me wrong. The capital of Dehong disctrict, Mangshi definitely has a more serious and comspolitan feel about it than Ruili. Nevertheless, Dai and Jingpo women in their pen straight narrow skirts and high headwraps injected some exoticism and spirit into the air.
Jack fruit trees lined the streets with bird cages hanging off them. No one bothered picking the ripen fruit, sold expensively elsewhere. We saw a passerby suspended off a half-fallen leaf of a palm tree, swinging in the air and kicking his feet until the leaf was ripped off the tree. Quite entertained by this comical episode, we asked him what he was doing, and he told us that he did it just to make the tree look neater and cleaner. I was very impressed with the locals’ manners.
We walked by a few tastefully decorated cafes catering to the local white collars, shot a few bows at an archery that leaves chickens and ducks in the shooting range for those clients who wish to hunt their own meat to be prepared in the hotpot restaurant just outside, and finally found what we wanted for dinner.
A famous local specialty called sapie is made of a special grass fed to cows half an hour before it is slaughtered, the half-digested grass is then extracted and cleaned, and mixed with other spices to make a dip for rice noodles and slice meat. I was pretty grossed out when i first heard about it, but my curiosity beat the disgust when I saw how harmless it looked in the serving dish. Besides, what’s the point of travelling without experiencing new food? I dipped my rice noodle in the dish until it was soaked up with the juice, and savored it. Slightly bitter, a tingle on my tongue, but not bad at all. In fact, it was pretty refreshing…and then my throat started to burn, and the heat rose up to my mouth. I rushed to the closest popsicle cart, devoured 3 popsicles in a row, and swore I’d never eat anything out of any animals’ stomach again.