That night, i asked the guy working in my hostel for a dinner recommendation. He said that i should try some “stacks”. “Stacks”? I asked him to say it again… a few times. What the hell are stacks? He says that they are great because you can try a bunch of different things. Maybe he was saying “snacks”?
I go to the restaurant he recommended. There are a bunch of low tables and everyone is sitting on tiny chairs. I squeeze in on a chair, and sit at a super awkward angle, with my legs not really fitting under the table. Shockingly, they bring me an english menu. I look at it and.. umm… everything is a bit weird. Rabbit skulls, various intestines, etc. Uh-oh. It’s too late for me to bolt at this point though, so i try to find at least something that is palatable. I see “rabbit belly” on the menu. I know I like pork belly, maybe it’s similar, so I decide to order that. The helpful server comes up to me and uses an app to type “You will need to take the sticks of incense now”. Uhhhh… what??
He motions for me to follow him, and we walk to the back of the restaurant where there are zillions of little skewers in buckets. He gestures for me to grab some. Oh. Things are making more sense now. There is a popular thing here, sort of like hot pot, called Chuan Chuan, where you take all these small skewers and then they are cooked in a small pot and you eat them. I guess the guy at my hostel was saying “sticks” and not “stacks” or “snacks”. I look at the skewers, and am a little terrified. All the skewers are weird organs. There are none that look like just normal regular meat. Back home, i do eat liver and would possibly be down to eat more weird stuff if i at least knew what it was, but i have no clue what all these things are. It’s a bunch of sticks with all sorts of odd lumps and squiggles on them. The guy has been watching me and waiting the whole time. Meanwhile, i am pacing back and forth, trying to decide what, if anything, is recognizable enough to eat. I feel like at this point, i *have to* get something at least, so i warily pick a handful of skewers, hand them to the guy, and go sit back down.
Eventually they bring me my food. Oh god. So, “rabbit belly” actually turns out to be rabbit stomachs. I have a whole bowl full of them. *Ten*. They bring my skewers. Fuck. I cant believe i need to eat this. I don’t want to eat this. The only normal part of my meal is some potatoes. Everything else is questionable. I start eating. Honestly, this meal felt like i was on one of those reality shows where they make you eat scary stuff. I would take a bite, choke it down, and wash it down with beer. I am devouring rabbit stomachs, one after another. I eat the skewers, for each one wondering wtf i am eating. What are these tubes?! What is this weird lumpy thing? What the hell am i chewing on? It was some sheer willpower to get through it all. I ate 9 out of 10 rabbit stomachs. It was rough.
Afterwards, I went to a brewery called the Beer Nest. This place had a lot of Chinese craft beers from various breweries. It was nice to try out Asian beers other than the typical Lagers you see everywhere. I got a sour, a milk stout, and a Hefeweizen made w/ Sichuan peppercorns.