Homemade Boba + Country Rat

I was somehow slightly inspired a few nights ago to start writing again (by what, I don’t know.  It can’t have been the TV segment I briefly saw called 1001 Ways to Die, because I am now officially terrified of having my contacts fuse to my eyeballs.  Actually, there’s always a lurking fear that my contacts will slide to the back of my eyeballs but I won’t freak you and myself out anymore.)  I have a fabulous tendency to imagine all these great ideas for stories or scenarios, which means for a lot of started stories, but none are finished yet.  Someday…

But let’s go onto a new topic: food!  If there’s one thing that I love more that possibly music and sleeping, it’s food.  I would say that I’m a pretty adventurous eater.  I’ve eaten snake, rat, chicken heart, intestines…I’m more willing to eat guts than, say, insects.  But who knows?  Maybe crickets are yummy.  I love eating fried dace with black beans from a can; the fish is fried whole so you can eat the bones and fin.  So I guess a crunchy bug can’t be too different, as long as it has enough sauce on it.

One thing that I’ve learned to like recently is boba, also known as bubble tea (I will choose to ignore you if you call it that).  The literal translation of the Chinese name is “bubble milk tea”, the bubbles being of course tapioca pearls.  I didn’t really like it until I had some in Taiwan, where boba was invented, and now I love it.  I guess you have to go to a food’s birthplace to taste the real thing.  I bought a package of $0.99 tapioca pearls (because for a such a price, it’s OK to mess up), and it took me 3 tries to finally figure out that although the pearls are about the size of-well, a pearl- it takes about 75 minutes (at least for this brand and size) to have them fully boiled through and chewy.  I realized that this blog is a bit devoid of pretty pictures, and I will attempt to upload one every once in a while.  I wish I had a fancy camera, the kind that makes things look better that they really do in real life, but I just have to make do with my digital camera, which is still a great one.

You thought I would post a picture of boba, right?  Wrong.  Have a picture of the rat I ate.  I bet you wouldn’t know what it was unless I told you.

My friends and I were at a night market in Taiwan, and we wanted to eat the most exotic thing there.  We boiled down our choices to pigeon or rat.  We chose rat, on the theory that pigeons are rats with wings, and therefore have more body surface area to get dirty and diseased.  Fair enough.  We were told that the rat was caught in the countryside, aka not in a sewer.  Which is little consolation, since it is Taiwan, where a lot of pipes are too old to have toilet paper shoved through, so you throw your used toilet paper into a bin next to the squatter (literally a squat toilet).

Anyways, even our Taiwanese friends hadn’t eaten it before, and you know what?  It was stir-fried with so much basil that that’s all I tasted, honestly.  It was like mini basil-y spare ribs.  The only pieces on the dish that remotely resembled the rat were its claws- I didn’t eat those.  I survived two very tense games of rock-paper-scissors for that privilege.  I was told the claws were very crunchy.  Kinda like my dace, I guess.