Potatoes grown from seeds that mutated in space while aboard a Chinese spacecraft are the newest culinary fad in Shanghai. This potato, dubbed the Purple Orchid Three, is supposedly going to be popular choice for upscale Valentine’s Day dinners:
Several Shanghai restaurants have developed dishes using Purple Orchid Three ‘space potatoes,’ claiming that the unusual colour of the vegetables represents the ‘nobility and romance’ of Valentine’s Day, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Hong Kong chef Kent KC Lee pioneered the Purple Orchid dishes at Shanghai’s Carnation Restaurant, including a salad, appetizers, desserts, cakes and an iced drink, the agency said.
This isn’t the first time that veggies have been taken to space, and not the first time that the China’s manned space missions, the Shenzhou 5 and 6, respectively, have been milked for their commercial appeal.
Back in 2003, the food prepared for the Shenzhou 5 taikonaut (astronaut?) Yang Liwei had become public knowledge:
He ate specially designed packets of shredded pork with garlic, Kung Pao chicken and “eight treasure” rice (Simplified Chinese: 八宝饭; Traditional Chinese: 八寶飯), washed down with Chinese herbal tea.
It wasn’t long before these foods became fads in Singapore.
The situation with the potatoes is somewhat different, since they were grown from seeds that “mutated” in space, whereas the Kung Pao chicken sold in Singapore was famous just because that’s what Yang Liwei ate in space. In 2003, space watermelons were popular in Beijing, and reports state that many other types of veggies developed from seeds that went to space are popular as well, though we have no idea where exactly you would buy them and how much they cost.
Most of you must be already looking forward to
the foreplay that is Valentine’s Day dinner. According to one report, as of yesterday, there was still no one who had signed up for the Pudong Shangri-la’s 388,888 RMB dinner, and none for the Portman’s 188,888 RMB dinner. The Shangri-la package includes a boat on the Pudong that flashes some kind of message in lights, a Vera Wang dress, and some limited edition diamond necklace.
If you’re stuck for ideas, it’s probably too late, but Smart Shanghai has some interesting suggestions, including a masquerade ball at 4Live and an “Anti-Halloween Party” at Cotton’s.
And remember, if you’re still single, look on the bright side of things: this is Shanghai, for god’s sake. Statistically speaking, there’s got to be at least one hundred people in this city that’d be interested in joining you for a nice roll in the hay tonight.
Photo of a mutant space potato from mrpotatohead.net