The articulated freshness of food, where you can see what you;re about to eat prior to it being killed, is a feature of Asian cuisine – from recent experience – staring fondly into the eyes of a fish before watching it netted, cooked and brought over to your table (China); eating the raw meat from the carcass of a still twitching fish (Japan); picking out the clucking chicken of choice and watching half the village spend 30 minutes trying to catch it (Vietnamese highlands); and of course drunken shrimp (China, again).
In a country where what you are buying is not necessarily what it seems – consumers make doubly sure they know what they’re getting. And it’s in stark contrast to my (and maybe your) culture where the mental link between fluffy lambs and lamb chops is deliberately kept at a distance. For every culture – different degrees of abstraction.
Photo: chopped up whole chicken, served out in our local Handan tea house cum office.