Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"They Actually Eat That" - Starfish + A Mission.

Some foods on this column are cool. Some of them look gross, but I've actually tried them and they're quite good.  Some things are ordinary stuff you didn't know was gross. Then, there are weird foods that we don't have in the States or consider bizarre on other counts...which is most things, really.

Among this last group, usually, are the things that make me go "why?" Maybe I'm just culturally-unaware of something, but there are just some things people eat that make me question their motivation for doing so. This is one of them.


Starfish is one of those things that makes me go "why?" Who would look at a starfish and go, "hey, that might be good?" They're probably more appealing while alive, and it's convenient that they have a fairly simple body plan, but there's nothing about them that screams "eat me." As with sea urchins, they just look unappealing. It's an excellent survival tactic.

The upside is that starfish are not as bad for you as, say, regular fish (which have their own horror stories). After pawing through a few videos, it does look like the starfish have some meat on them. One could almost call sea urchin logic on this one (after all, they're related). That tough skin is usually protecting something. Plus, sea otters crack echinoderms all the time, right? They must be eating something in that shell...while looking adorable.

Then again, China. Just...China. I've said so much about China putting everything on a stick that there is not much more to say. They cook the starfish, at least. The most popular methods include sun-drying and just plain frying. I have yet to see starfish sold raw, but it probably exists. Probably.

That said, do not go hunting for starfish yourself and put them on sticks. Some starfish are poisonous. Eating starfish already shows that you have daring taste buds. No need to add venom into that mix. If you're really that eager to get poisoned...fugu. That is all.

Actually, that's NOT all. I have a mission for you, the readers. Starting next week, YOU get to pick the entries for a whole theme week of local specialties. It'll be a whole week of weird, unique foods. Deep-dish pizza will be the only entry I will forcefully add in there. 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Find a local specialty near you and post a description of it here. Get crackin'...and eatin'!

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