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I went to Ping's yet again the other night. (I had orginally planned to go to the Nice Restaurant, but when I called, they were full up because of two wedding parties). Since I'd enjoyed the fried pig intestines so much on my last visit, I ordered the sauteed goose intestines with peppers. And I couldn't resist checking out the spicy boneless duck web.

The spicy boneless duck web turned out to be a lot like chicken feet--i. e., basically skin. This wasn't fried and crispy like the skin on roast duck, though. Rather, its texture was like the skin of a boiled chicken. It was served cold, in some sort of sweet-sour marinade, with a similarly flavored dipping sauce. While my description may not make it sound particularly appetizing, it was actually quite tasty. Incidentally, though it was listed in the appetizers section, it was an entree-sized portion (and priced appropriately).

The goose intestines with peppers were nothing like the fried pig intestines. Instead, they were long, thin, brownish-black strips that resembled in texture hot dog skins more than anything else. The peppers were of the bell rather than hot type, and the dish's flavor was in fact dominated by a black bean sauce, which was very good.

To sum up, both dishes were good, but not as good as my favorites from past visits. And, on the basis of quality alone, the goose intestines weren't good enough to justify their hefty price tag (nearly twenty bucks). Still, I'm glad I tried them--how many other chances will I get to eat goose intestines?

Incidentally, I've never mentioned one of the dishes I had on an earlier visit: twin flavor frogs. This was a platter with sauteed frogs in the center on top of a pile of absolutely scrumptious pea pods, surrounded by a ring of what the menu calls "crispy desert frogs," which were actually (I think) lightly breaded and fried. The frogs were small, but there were a lot of them. I found the sauteed frogs pretty flavorless, but the crispy desert frogs delicious.

--Adam

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  1. Adam, you're just the kind of guy who would enjoy a book I read recently called Strange Foods. Can't recall the author off hand. He actually brought his wife's placenta home from the hospital and made a pate of it to serve to guests who came to welcome baby. A couple folks actually tried it! (Anybody sick yet?)
    Most of the book, though, concerns the food habits of many different cultures and I found it fascinating reading.
    pat

    9 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      After reading this post, I went up to Amazon's site and searched for it. I think I'll buy it.

      Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI...

      1. re: Peter Cuce
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        hammondp@neuro.wustl.edu

        Peter: Remember to go through Chowhound to get to Amazon! Every bit helps. p.

        1. re: hammondp@neuro.wustl.edu

          All this talk about strange foods is making me hungry. Reminds me of my favorite all-time strange Chinese dish. It's called: Three Screams. I know this sounds weird but it's really good. First you take a mouse and gouge it's eyes out with a hot needle (first scream). Then you dunk it in boiling goose fat (second scream.) Then you bite it's head off. (third scream). I had it once in Rochester but don't know of anywhere in the city where they serve this bizarre delicacy. Anyone know?

      2. re: Pat Hammond

        eww, Pat. I think that qualifies as cannibalism.

        1. re: jen kalb

          I know it's disgusting, but for some reason I was less repulsed by that than I was by the embryonic chicks (feathers and all). They're served in the half-shell, egg shell, that is. pat

          1. re: jen kalb
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            steve from rhinebeck

            Hey Adam, You're kidding ...right? Duck web..."like skin of a boiled chicken, served cold." Goose intestines..."long thin brownish-black strips, resembled hot dog skins." Hhmmm..I bet there lining up for that. Ah! To each his own!

            1. re: steve from rhinebeck
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              Adam Stephanides

              Yeah, I realized that my descriptions of these dishes didn't make them sound very appetizing, but they're a lot better than they sound (though, as I said, not my favorites). And I've had chicken feet in black bean sauce (elsewhere, at a restaurant that has since gone downhill) that was absolutely delicious.

              And just to reassure anybody I may have scared away, the dishes I mentioned are by no means typical of Ping's; most of the dishes, even on the specials menu, are made with non-bizarre ingredients.

              --Adam

          2. re: Pat Hammond

            I'd like to second that recommendation of Strange Foods. At first I thought it was going to be exploitative, but it's really very smart and well researched. And the photos are extraordinary.

            1. re: Pat Hammond
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              Adam Stephanides

              I've heard of eating placenta, actually. Apparently (though this is at second hand) human placenta is the only type of meat some vegetarians will eat, because it's not derived from the exploitation of animals.

              --Adam