An Acquired Taste

Instead of an acquired taste, perhaps an acquired texture is more accurate.

On the menu at a Chinese noodle shop (where I adored the hand pulled noodles, by the way) I spot “spicy pig’s ear” offered in two sizes: small ($4.50) or large ($7.75).

Pig’s ear was also printed on the daily specials board.

Curious? You bet, since I’d never had them before — and they were not only on the menu but the specials board, too. It was time.

Now that I have had them, I can confidently say: I don’t care for them. But after some research, I learned there are plenty of people who do.

I even found a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, David Tanis’s A Platter of Figs, although his experience with pig’s ear came in Paris. How did I miss that the 15 times I’ve read through his book?

Apparently, chilled, sliced pig’s ear is a common treat in China, usually served with beer.

Admittedly, the flavor was appealing — the ears were glazed in a barely-sweet, dark soy sauce, and there was that unmistakable delicious pork flavor.

The problem for me was the texture. Crunchy isn’t quite accurate and neither is chewy — it fell somewhere in between crunchy and chewy.

No offense to anyone who delights in chilled, sliced pig’s ear, but I think next time I’ll skip the ear and take the beer.

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