Tag Archives: meat

Butchery course

15 Feb

I had lunch with my friend C. the other day. The weather was exceptionally beautiful and for once not freezing for a sunny winter day. We then had a bit of time to wander around the French Concession. This area of Shanghai is probably one of the most sought after amongst foreigners to live in. It has retained a lot of its charm and it is very difficult I am told to build tall structures over there. Somehow, many of its original residents still live there and it can have quite a popular feel on many of its streets.

Walking out of the restaurant, we were greeted by the usual profusion of drying of laundry typical of sunny days in Shanghai. Except that in this very street – Jinxian Road, also hanging from the laundry racks, was an abundance of meat and all sorts of it: poultry, pork and fish at least. So much so that it felt like we could’ve had a butchery course on the spot. There were lots of homemade sausages but also gutted duck, goose and chicken, gutted gigantic fish, split pigs’ heads and other things I can’t put a name on. Have a look at the pictures below for colourful details.

Jinxian Lu

Poultry, fish tails and other stuff

Pigs' heads

I was surprised there weren’t many flies around or on the meat itself, even for the ones hanging just above the rubbish bins. I understand that drying meat is part of the local culture and a local necessity to preserve meat for as long as possible. And you don’t find meat drying only in popular streets or areas, you can also find it on the windows of the 15th floor of expensive apartment buildings. I have to say that I find it somehow admirable that in spite of living in one of the largest cities on the planet (16 millions inhabitants), Shanghainese are managing to carry-on and nurture the tradition of homemade foods instead of buying it industrially processed and overly packaged from an impersonal supermarket. Still, I can’t shake the high levels of urban pollution from my hygiene food standards. Instead of having, say, oak-smoked bacon, you’re actually having it kerosene-smoked… Not the best marketing angle or feeling really. But who knows? Maybe it does enhance its taste? Given that I have very limited control over what I eat here, I guess that’s what I have to keep saying to myself for as long as I live in China.

Chop the head yourself!

7 Dec

Going to the supermarket, except for Carrefour as you may have read in a previous post, remains a constant source of amusement. My local supermarket is called Lian Hua. It’s not very big but it offers a really good range of products, including a very decent selection of European goods. It’s only to buy meat that I go to the fancy City Shop, which sells Australian meat.

Somehow, until today, I had never been to the very back of the shop at Lian Hua. That’s where you will find meat, fish and poultry. Again, the choice is wide. You can get live fish. It may respond to the (Lebanese) anxiety for freshness when buying fish but the water did look like it needed changing. The fishes were trying to gulp air from the surface.

It also appears that it is quite popular for Chinese (or Shanghainese?) people to eat many more parts of the animals than most people in the Middle East or Europe do and that they are especially fond of animals’ heads… Chickens and ducks are sold with their heads. On the streets, you will find ducks’ heads sold separately. Fish heads are also either sold with the fillet or on their own. No wonder that they use and sell these really scary knives everywhere. It’s to chop the heads (and in some cases feet) yourself!

Joli canard :s

Like for the dogs’ attires, there’s often a culturally cuter side to things, like forks and spoons being sold individually!

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