Eating Crocodiles Are Croco-licious, Not

IMG_0033Friday night, I was invited to a tasting of a new eight course crocodile menu. Despite growing up on Cantonese cuisine and double boiled soups, I’m not one with an exotic palate who take pleasure in eating strange wild beasts. Part of a food writer’s job, especially in China is to turn up “show face” and not offend

It required some openess on my part to venture out of conventional eating habits. The Cantonese chefs cooked each part of the reptile in various ways with different herbs and the whole dismembered reptile tasted like bits of fish, chicken and pork respectively, in every different dish.


Most of the dishes arrived as meat cooked to death, having spent hours being boiled and braised.


So, before you can even begin your meal, they bring you a baby live croc to show you how fresh and appetising it is (hmmm). In hindsight, it is in very bad taste and very cruel :(.

Chinese diners like to see their goods to make sure they are getting the real stuff.

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I later learnt that the baby croc was merely used for show to create an overall excitment. Slaughtering the crocodile in the kitchen was forbidden and they get their fresh meats already cleaned and skinned daily directly from the farm. A lady diner even brought her crocodile leather handbag to add to the thematic evening.

Cold dishes like webbed goose feet were served as appetisers before the croc dishes arrived. The idea is that these cold squishy things “opens the appetite” (开口味), how it whets the appetite I don’t know. I had a morsel of it and it tasted like a semi wet squishy sponge.


I was nervous about the whole endeavor, but felt more Chinese than ever when I was (guiltily) enjoying the braised crocodile belly that tasted exactly like Hong Kong style roast pork—full of flavor, with a thin layer of slightly crunchy skin and layers of lean meat sandwiched between a fine layer of fat. It had a great texture, which is of utmost importance in Chinese cuisine, since it’s all about the mouth feel 口感, where squishy, slithery textures are considered delicacies.


shredded crocs meat a la sharks fin soup style

This dish—Boiled crocodile broth with aged mandarin peel was interesting to say the least, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish that whole bowl.


Croco belly that tastes like roast pork, made with herbs and had a lingering distinct taste of the “dang gui” herb.


The roast pork looking belly and a juicy piece of croc’s meat that tasted like shark’s meat.


baby croc claw, anyone?


Well, eating crocodile meat was a new experience. Even though I grew up eating Cantonese food, it was all of double boiled soups with herbs from the medical hall and simple stir frys. We didn’t go hardcore like the locals in Guangzhou that eat random animals from civet cats to crocodiles. I can’t deal with the weird animals eating… I wonder what’s next. I don’t want to eat crocodile meat ever again.

Since we’re on the topic of crocs, I saw these shockingly giant crocs shoes that are so appalling, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

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