About a month ago, I plummeted the dank, forgotten depths of C-Store’s vacuum packed meat aisle. I have returned- alive, but not quite unscathed. It has taken just over a month to recover from the gustatory and digestive sacrilege that took place that day. I hope the publication of this piece will warn others of the terrors that might await you in the C-Store meat aisle. That is if you decide to fly in the face of every reasoned logical thought you’ve ever had about the concept of ‘edible food’.
Billy is the voice of reason and representative of the Chinese palate. I like to complain using lots of profanities.
‘BEEF JERKY’: 2.5/5
“It’s beef jerky. I bet it tastes just like good, plain ol’ American beef jerky” a colleague tells me. Admittedly, the resemblance is there. But clearly these sentiments could only come from someone who doesn’t have to eat it. As I’m pushing out the firm but lumpy, fiery red contents, I feel like I’m squeezing on a length of large intestine- an organ which presumably belonged to some really dumb animal that died overdosing on chillies. It was an ominous thought. How does it taste, I hear you ask? Well, let me answer that question with another question if I may; how does a sliver of beef taste when it’s been marinated in a one million metre high mountain of chilies since the dawn of time? Well? Do you know?? NO!? Well I do now, no thanks to you. Next time, why don’t you try NOT telling me that it tastes just like beef jerky, you fuck.
SHREDDED FISH BITS: 2/5
This stuff basically resembles shredded paper. At first glance, it looks like it’s been deep fried beyond recognition (seriously, there’s none of it left… zero amounts of recognition) and coated with liberal fistfuls of MSG. But after actually tasting it I learn that the main ingredient of this snack is in fact just paper flavoured tissue paper. Billy, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed its ‘tasty, sweet and delicate flavour.’ He wanted to give this a full score five. He is wrong.
WHOLE ROASTED SMELT: 3/5
‘We’re delicious, eat my family, eat all of them!” says the happy mortar board wearing fish on the packaging. The jovial flick of his fins says, “Trust me, I look adorable”. While his sexy, hypnotic stare demands compliance, “You’ll do whatever I want you to do.” Some say that the psychopathic Himmler of the ocean underworld exchanged his soul to Poseidon for a lifetime supply of caviar. God only knows what for. [NB: the packaging has changed since] Anyways, the smelt didn’t taste too bad, though the fish meat: bones/fish face ratio was skewed unappetizingly toward the bones and fish faces.
SKIN OF PIG: 0/5
The contents of this bag look like they were chipped off the decomposing pigs that were floating around Huangpu River about a month ago. The flavour is okay, I guess… if you can look past the fact that you’re eating pig’s skin. To get the full effect, imagine if someone took some frozen gelatine, smeared Pritt Stick all over it, let the glue set, rolled it around in a heap of wasabi and before then finally then letting it bask in a bucket of sweaty pickled vegetables for a couple of days under the hot rays of Shanghai’s summer sunshine. Billy, amazingly, is indifferent and comments that it is, “a little bit spicy and it have rubbery texture.”
HUNK O’ CHICKENS’ FEET: 1/5
The poultry feet tasted like they were hacked off the chicken right after spending its entire life hobbling on blisters and abscesses, buckling under the immense weight of its hormonal obesity and clucking away in a pit of faeces and bitter hatred of the human race. Nuh-uh. Nope. Not my cup of tea thank you muchly. This sentiment was perhaps worsened by the fact that the ‘Use by Date’ on the packaging reads, 2013/01/15, though I’m not exactly sure if it makes much of a difference. As for the flavour, Billy comments that it tastes, “Like the pig skin, but it has bones; a little bit spicy and chewy.” Note that Billy smokes about one pack of Double Happiness per day. His ability to identify tastes has suffered somewhat.
That’s it. No more. I’m out.