My friend took me to a Hong Kong style dessert shop in Chinatown (Centre St) yesterday. They had things like mango puddings and double-boiled sweet soups, etc, and also served a lot of desserts with something called "harsmar." From what I could tell, it was gelatinous and gooey, and seemed like it wouldn't have much taste. My friend mentioned that her dad told her it had something to do with frogs. I remembered being in a similar dessert shop in San Francisco, and I assumed it was the same stuff as was being served there, which was touted as "frog fat."
To clear things up, we asked the waitress for an explanation. What she said got even weirder: it wasn't frog fat, it was frog's OVARIES. We asked how it tasted and she shrugged and said she'd never tried it before, making a face at the thought. She didn't seem very clear on what it was exactly though, just her disgust at it.
So, does anyone know what harsmar is? It was being served with coconut milk over papaya halves, with sago and fresh fruit, at the bottom of milkshakes, and in all sorts of other ways. Google search reveals nothing.
"frog fat" chinese
and got a number of good links (notice the quote marks)including stories that the frog population in China is decimated so they are going on to Russian frogs.
Apparently the fat is used in cosmetics as well as in food (it has supposed medicinal qualities).
I've seen live frogs in Chinatown (SF) and I wonder if they are farmed or gathered from the wild.