The other day Jon and I were grocery shopping and I saw something I hadn’t wanted when we came in the store but now couldn’t live without. It was tomato soup. They don’t have cans of soup like back home, but they had little powder packets that looked really good. Plus, the packets were made by Knorr, so at least I could trust it not to be super sweet or have squid or crickets in it. This is something you learn early when you live in Asia.
I’ve lived in South Korea for a year, Taiwan for a month, and China for three months and I’ve learned that you never take anything for granted in Asia. That mint ice cream looks delicious? It’s green-tea flavored and it’s gross. Oh look! Is that an American restaurant with a baked potato and sour cream on the menu? It’s a baked potato with whipped cream and honey butter and it’s gross. That carton of milk with a happy cow on the side? Oh no! A bowl of cereal just got ruined because it’s liquid yogurt and it’s gross. Are you hiking in the mountains and you’re starving and you see someone cooking something? It’s roasted maggots and tiny snails you suck out of their shell and I think you can guess that I thought it was gross and didn’t eat any.
Anyhow, this was a familiar brand of tomato soup, so I knew that once we got past the fact that the instructions were A) in Japanese and B) used milliliters instead of cups, it would hit the spot. Wait! What is that I see in the next aisle? Oyster crackers! I love those! Grab that bag!
Jon and I went home and eagerly made the soup. I stirred it up and it seemed a little thin....good thing we got those crackers to add. Jon and I sat down with our veggies, chicken, and soup. I tossed a handful of crackers in both our bowls and stirred mine up before I took a big bite. I immediately let it dribble back out of my mouth and grabbed Jon’s bowl away from him. I tried to quickly spoon out the crackers, but they had started to disintegrate on contact and I couldn’t get them all out of his bowl. I didn’t understand! What was wrong with these crackers? I grabbed more crackers from the bag and felt them. They looked like oyster crackers, they felt like oyster crackers, they tasted like….powdered sugar. Yep, they were supposed to be some sort of sweet treat, but they were gross.
I am pretty open to trying new foods. I always try to taste new foods and keep an open mind to decide if I like it or not. For example, I think octopus and squid taste good, if they are cooked a certain way. But these crackers were pretty much inedible. We decided to save the “crackers” to feed the fish. We saved this bag for a full week until we finally made it to the park where there were hungry fish. We saw a couple of fish in the water and threw out a handful of “crackers.” There were a few turtles swimming around too and they each came up to try some and then swam away. One of the fish swam around for a while ignoring the food, then left. The other one, a fat cow-print fish, went up to each individual (I can’t really say cracker, because of the disintegration) floating island of chemical preservatives and refined sugars, put his mouth out and then swam around it without eating it. This fish went up to every single island of sugar cracker and either smelled it or tasted it and moved on. Finally he swam away too. Every living being in the pond swam away.
That’s how gross these “crackers” are. The fish won’t even eat them; and I’m pretty sure that the cow-print fish ate a pebble I threw in the water!
Maybe this time I learned my lesson about trying new things in Asia.