Worm in Bok Choy Dish – An Unforgettable Dining Experience
I have an unforgettable story to share to you that happened years back when I was still a student of Oriental Medicine.
Year 2009 when a group of 17 students from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Wisconsin travelled to Guangzhou University School Of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou, China.
We were on a 4-week acupuncture and moxibustion training in the university hospital. The teaching hospital was so big, the primary mode of treatment doctors give to patients are acupuncture, acupressure or tui na (a bodywork therapy), and herbs. No western medicine I know of are dispensed in the hospital. I heard that if you want a pill, get it somewhere else.
A master herbalist worked like crazy day in and day out, dispensing herbs precisely as prescribed by doctors. He can figure out how much grams of herbs is in his hand,?for each herbal formula and wrap the herbs in paper. He will then write the name of the herbal formula?and patient’s name in the paper wrapping. The assistant brings the herbs to the herbal kitchen where the herbs are immediately cooked in an hour or so, and when cooked, placed in thermos bottles. Then the cooked herbs are immediately?delivered?to the patient to drink. Very tedious process and cycle, but that is what life to them is all about. The kitchen is continuously boiling hot, the chimney is constantly belching out smoke every minute of the day.
We listened lectures from the masters, they have good English! We practiced with the masters. Kids are playing around with acupuncture needles sticking out from their tiny bodies, they don’t mind. But with my bad luck,?my camera got broken. I was not able to capture or document anything…shame on me. One lesson learned, never travel with a broken camera 🙁
The food served was like a feast every day. Mostly stir fried vegetables and very little meat. Meat is expensive so they compensate with other foods. The group is mostly American, one Filipino (me), a few South Americans, 3 Koreans, and 2 Russians. The South Americans, Russians, Koreans and Filipino were eating really good! But the Americans were starving, even in abundance, LOL.
The tour included visits to the most beautiful state parks and other beautiful landmarks. We enjoyed it very much, the sights were amazing! We also had?many dining outs in first class restaurants.
The guys tasted many exotic foods including, snake bile in alcohol and snake dish. The chef showed the live snake before it was cut and cooked, eek! I think they also tasted a rabbit dish. Yummy, they said. No way for me…!
One time we were in a floating restaurant and as usual, the food came in batches, another feast… We were eating in a round table with a lazy Susan in the middle, and shared the food. Seating next to me is my Mexican friend, enjoying her newly acquired skill of using the chop sticks. The stir fried bok choy was delicious and nutritious; bright green and super fresh. Then… she got suspicious of something she just put in her mouth. She dug it out with the chopsticks and showed it to me. I shrieked! Loud, and all were looking at us. I picked it up and showed them the bright green, plump, elongated “thing” with 2 dark eyes staring at me (that my friend just put in her mouth) ugh! I am not squeamish or easily disturbed looking on things like this. My group mates reaction turned to shocked and their jaws dropped. And then suddenly, I heard a commotion. Almost all women of the group?sharing our table were running away as fast as they can towards the side of the boat. I followed them and investigated, They were all throwing up!
Be careful what is served to you. It could be poison, or a caterpillar…. What, a caterpillar?!! Yes… a big, plump, green camouflaging worm, looking like a bok choy. They could not eat Chinese food anymore. But my Mexican friend and me did still! 🙂
Do you have a similar or some sort of dining experience? Please leave a comment below.