It’s not only sharks and turtles turning up at butchers in the Middle East: When picking a cut of fresh meat in China, you might want to ask what it is.
Continuing coverage on Green Prophet has dealt with food products like shark fins that are prized as delicacies by people in the Far East and issues dealing with imported Chinese frozen fish to Israel pumped full of water and preserving chemicals. There is an old saying that in China, anything that walks, swims, crawls or flies is eventually made into a meal there. These “delicacies” can range from live puppies being cooked alive on city streets to other types of critters that are now being sold by China’s version of America’s most successful mega discount store Walmart. Food from China turns up all over the world, and even in the Middle East.
The sign is similar, but that is where the similarity ends
While these stores are not exactly like the ones in the USA, they are becoming unique in that the food produce they sell is being mooted to come “direct from the farm“.
And certainly much of these food delicacies are “direct” from somewhere as they include some very interesting products. For example, imagine going by the store’s seafood department and seeing whole reptiles like turtles and crocodiles lying sublimely on beds of ice. There are also all kinds of dried reptiles and other critters, including lizards and crocodiles.
Dried crocodiles, lizards, and other critters
Continuing on your shopping trip, you may reach the fresh meat department, where there may be scores of shoppers hand picking various cuts of meat in a similar fashion as we might do in the fruit or vegetable department. What type of meat is being picked up is not really an issue here, just as it’s not in choosing a rack of ribs that could come from a number of animals, including your neighbor’s dog or cat.
Fresh fish, crocodiles, and hand bag leather
Smoked meat products like sausages, although delicacies in China, may contains all types of animal products.
For sure, there are departments where one can be sure of which animal has”contributed itself for someone’s evening meal. Seeing a display of smoked or pickled pig’s heads is a sterling example, and not something one might find in most countries of the Middle East, especially ones like Saudi Arabia.
Porky Pig anyone?
Naturally, food customs are a bit different in China and other parts of the Far East, and even a mundane jar of cucumber pickles might also contain a little extra kind of surprise.
Taking all this into account, it’s no wonder that many people traveling to China from western countries might not recognize a branch of a department store that is now becoming a household word in China as well as elsewhere. No doubt, Walmart stores in the Mid East, if these stores become popular in this part of the world, will sell a bit different line of food products than those in Beijing and Shanghai.
WalMart Photo: China Daily
Read more on food items prized and exported from the world’s most populated country:
Stray Pups Cooked Alive in China
Despite Ban, UAE Remains Market Hub for Shark Fins
Israel’s Frozen Fish is Processed in China and Pumped With Water and Chemicals