2/10/2005 12:03am, #1
nutritional content of wierd shi...er..stuff
I've been thinking about asking this question for a while and the recent Sushi thread pushed me over the edge. Raw Fish? HAH! You should see some of the stuff I have added to my regular diet here in China. There's a lot of folk wisdom about it but I am curious as hell what is the actual nutritional makeup of some very common foods (in China) and a few of the less common one's as well. For example:
Tendon - There's the so called "tendon" that they like to BBQ here which is really just grissley meat. Any difference between meat with a lot of grizzle vs. lean or fatty cuts? But then there's the REAL tendon. Great big strips of steamed beef tendon, white and marinated in chili oil. And donkey tendon...pretty similar. Is that stuff what? Protein? Fat? Not really digestable? Any little known subtle vitamins or whatevers in there?
Organs - I used to eat pretty much just the regual meat and the occasional serving of liver which I am told is high in vitamin A. What about heart, kidneys, stomach and even a couple times I dined on lung. I eat chicken hearts pretty frequently in the summer and kidneys from pigs and sheep are a regular part of my diet these days. But the one I REALLY want to know about is intestines. Smoked, fried or boiled. About once a week or so I end up having a big fat portion of pigs intestines. Doesn't look like muscle to me. I guess technically it is. I remember in anatomy that they were "smooth muscle". Anyone got a clue how they stack up nutritionally?
Seaweed - the fine thin kind like you use for Sushi but also that thick rubbery kind that is cut in strips and put into soups or marinated and served cold in a lot of dishes in China. For you Chinese speakers I mean "hai dai".
Dried shrimp skins/shells - I thought they were dried shrimp but now I find out it's jsut shrimp husks. They love to sprinkle them in soups or tofu dishes to add shrimp flavour without spending the cash to buy real shrimp. Plus they don't require refrigeration and will keep for as long as they don't get wet.
I guess that's it. Mainly I'm curious about the following:
stomach, intestines, tendons.
But any of it would be good to know.
2/10/2005 12:31am, #2
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2/10/2005 1:14am, #3
You guys think yer tough cuz you eat raw fish. lol A REAL carnivore eats the whole damn thing. I left out pigs ears, feet and all the various kinds of fish that are fried up crispy enough to eat the whole thing head and all like you do with certain styles of fried shrimp. In Sichuan they love to serve marinated fish skin.
And I'm not trolling either. I have "gone native". There is so far, only one dish I refuse to eat and that is blood. It looks like purple tofu and has a consitency pretty similar. I've tried it. It's not bad but I just can't get my mind to turn off and just focus on the flavor. The simbolism bugs me too. Most of these things are really pretty good if done right. The grossness factor is more psychological than anything else. I started off with the stuff that made no sense at all to be grossed out about like chicken hearts. I've been eating chicken livers for years. I like grilled liver and onions. So what's wrong with the heart? It's just another organ and actually more like a muscle anyways which makes it meat. Then little by little you branch out.
I didn't even go into what those nuts in southern China eat. They say the only things they don't eat in the sky are airplanes and the only thing on the ground they wont eat is the dinner table.
So no guesses on the nutritional front yet?
2/10/2005 1:19am, #4
You can give them a shot.
But I'm guessing that most of those foods are protein/fat, with few carbs. And depending on the food, digestibility is in question. I don't think tendon would really do more than just fill your belly with something. My understanding is that the Chinese learned to eat everything because during famines, they had no choice.
2/10/2005 1:20am, #5
I doubt that anyone has performed calorimetry on obscure chinese foods.
2/10/2005 2:00am, #6
Thanks for the link.
And I don't really care about calories. I don't count them. Don't think you CAN count them in any meaningfull way. I don't bring a scale to dinner and I am not in the kitchen to know how many grams of oil are thrown in the pan. I was thinking more along the lines of what samurai_steve said. I was thinking about tendon and originally thought maybe fat/protein but then I thought it may be actually fat free. Actually just knowing what they are made of should tell you most of it. Organs like liver and heart are obviously lean protein. The heart is a muscle and has very little fat in it. Intestines are muscle so they must be protein but they have a fatty lining and you can tell their high in far by the way they crisp up when fried.
Way off base about why they eat it all. Nothing to do with famine. When times are lean folks don't even eat meat. And most of these things are actually more expensive than "regular" meat. They are all wondering why the hell westerners don't eat anything interesting and can't comprehend how anyone could survive on such bland, tasteless stuff as most white folk eat. You need to get past your prejudices. People from England seem to eat kidneys and "tripe" is just a fancy name for stomach. Don't even ask what are "sweet meats" but the French charge a hell of a lot for them.
For the most part, none of what I named is obscure if you are Chinese. Stomach, kidneys and intestines are "working man's" foods. You see them a bit less at expensive places but the outdoor night markets all sell BBQ kidney strips done on the rare side and pigs stomach cut into strips and marinated with vinegar and red pepper is pretty standard "beer food".
Obscure would be like sea cucumber or shark fin.
There is a joke around here that one reason why Chinese biological research has always lagged behind the west is that a western scientist dissects and animal to see how it works but when a Chinaman is presented with the same task all he can think of is how best to season the damn thing and should it be fried or steamed?
2/10/2005 2:07am, #7
I turns out that tripe (stomach) and hearts are both reasonably lean protein but high in cholesterol. Chicken heart are extremely high in iron though.
The one that really surprised me was kidneys.
An excellent source of VITAMIN C !?! wtf? Also high in vitamin A and they blow the doors off everything else in the iron department. One serving = 176% of the RDA!
I guess since tendons are made of collegen:
So they must be pretty much pure protein. Is this reasonable? :
Does the Baji tradition of eating lots of tendo actually have a scientific reality behind it? Or is it just more "eating 'x' is good for you r 'x'"?
Last edited by Omar; 2/10/2005 2:19am at .
2/10/2005 2:57am, #8
The kidneys regulate ascorbic acid content, as well as sodium and a couple other things that escape me at the moment. Tendon is made of tubulins and is pretty much entirely protein, very tightly wound protein. You'd have to steam it for a long time to relax the fibers before you could eat it; at that point it'd be pretty thoroughly denatured, which means un-tendonlike. It's still nutritious, and contains amino acids in the correct balance for creating tendon (although they're just as useful for anything else).
If I was trying to make my tendons strong, and tendon soup was on the menu, I might get it, but I'm a superstitious bastard sometimes. It can't hurt.I would liken it to the boxing or the muay thai of internal kung fu, even though that's like calling apples the oranges of the apple world. --WalkOn
2/10/2005 4:30am, #9
You wanna be a Chinese, you gotta eat the nasty stuff.Tough is not how you act, tough is how you train.
2/10/2005 4:33am, #10
And I'm not sure if there's solid logic behind it, but I avoid eating liver and kidneys because they process and filter out toxins, and you never know how healthy the animal was.Tough is not how you act, tough is how you train.