Zhongshan Snack Street, Nanning

I love markets, especially outdoor ones, especially with seafood. So photogenic!

This is Zhongshan Snack Street 中山路小吃街 in Nanning 南宁, the capital of Guangxi.

See that white thingy with black spots? It is a rare and really mysterious food item. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to research it since few years already. It’s advertised as “海蘑菇” or “sea mushroom” and it is supposed to be some kind of marine creature. There is a real mushroom (fungus growing in forest, not seafood) with the same Chinese name, which complicates the research. Some sources state it’s not seafood at all, and instead it’s an artificial product made from agar. So, a kind of… jelly. Except from Nanning I have seen it in some other places, for example in Xiamen. In restaurant menus, they include it in the “seafood” section. Chinese recipe websites suggest to use it in soups or stir-fries. It’s texture is a bit like squid/calamari. Is it real seafood (and if so, what is this creature’s Latin name), or is it fake seafood – sources are too scarce to be certain. My quest to find the answer will continue!

Besides seafood, Zhongshan Street offers many other, nonmarine snacks. Look at these three pcitures with slices of something that resembles French boudin noir. Indeed, it is a kind of blood sausage (血肠) – more specifically, it was called “Glutinous rice pork blood sausage” 糯米猪血肠. The inclusion of rice reminded me of Polish kaszanka, a sasauge made with pig’s blood and kasza (hence the name kasza>kaszanka), which is the Polish term for “groats”: kaszanka is usually filled with buckwheat, barley or rice.

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