Dear God, what did I eat in Petticoat Lane market?
So, I was in Middlesex street today and, being a big fan of street food the world round, smelled the familiar smell of cooking oil and spotted a long queue centred around a small kiosk. On closer inspection (but not quite close enough), they appeared to be deep-frying large prawns and serving them up with various sauces. As I say, there was a long queue and I am a culinary optimist at heart, so I joined the queue. I was reassured by the fact that the people in the line knew the routine. They were clearly repeat customers. My adventurousness bolstered by this knowledge, I got my 3 quid ready and started to salivate. When it was my turn, I asked for chili mayo and hot sauce and got an obscenely large pile of these prawns. When I finally found a spot to tuck into my booty, it was immediately clear to this life-long prawn consumer that these were no animal known to mankind. They were kind of like a kamaboko crab of prawns, but more glutinous and deeply, deeply wrong. Don't get me wrong, they tasted OK (what doesn't with enough garlic and chili?) and vaguely prawn-like, but I'm having difficulty banishing the disturbing image of them from my mind.
Can anyone tell me what these things are? And how worried should I be?