The Troubling Asian Table

Keeping U.S. Turtles Out of China

Frankly, I had eaten turtles before. They are mainly served in a soup. On the other hand, I love turtles as well as other reptiles; I kept two land turtles for a few years at home that didn't end up in my belly not someone else (for they escaped and were never found again).
As I grow older, like my father, I am against the eating culture in China which is a mixture of traditional Chinese belief (or even Chinese medicine knowledge) and the ill curiosity of prosperous consumers.
Like the reputation of Chinese food, Chinese have a lot of attention in food and the highly picky tongues have been trained to extreme. Any black burnt spot on the food is unacceptable and can be refunded in a normal restaurant in contrast to the American attitude to such things. But the other side of the extreme food culture is somehow incomprehensible and not environmental under today's judgement. As an idiom goes, "Chinese eat anything; anything with four legs on the ground, except chairs; anything that can fly except aeroplanes", dogs, turtles, snakes and many other animals as peculiar as you can think of are no exceptions. Although they are not common dishes on a table, following the prosperity of China, the demand of such scarce animal in food use is soaring as the article stated.
Personally, I can stop myself from spending money to kill these wild animals. But the big picture is how to remove the prevailing interest of consuming wild animals from Chinese minds. I think a stricter regulation and ban should be established. Additionally, the spread of a threatening fatal disease - SARS a few years ago in China was known for making its path from a wild specie (which appeared widely on restaurant menus) to human. After all, it is not easy to build the environmental protection concept within a short time. On the other side of the barter, the restaurants should put their creativity more in how to cook but not what to cook.
Conversely, Japan's whale hunting issue which was advocated as a cultural tradition by some Japanese representatives over the bargain table is viewed as a commercial or economic interest by many critics. Their whale hunting industry simply need to slaughter whales to make a living. The claimed "tradition" has been practiced for merely decades since the end of WWII when Japan had a shortage in pork supply (whale meat at the time was a subsidy good to ensure the public health).
Asian dinner table is really a troubling place.


  1. We in the United States often complain about the hectic pace of life here. What would it be like, I wonder, to live in a place where things are slower? So much slower, in fact, that turtles can escape from people's homes. Wow.

  2. A escaping turtle doesn't mean that people live in a slow pace. As a matter of fact, my city is actually a major city and over 10 million people live there. Conversely, I think opposite, it is precisely because of the hectic pace in my city, the escape of a turtle could happen.

  3. Mmm...Turtles on the run. Just for referene here, Turtles are commerically "manufacturesd"(maybe bred is a better way to say it) in China, and are humanely treated to be served to our stomachs.
    It might sound unethnical here, but if we think about it, sometimes the commericalisation of these animals actually protects them from extinction because we find uses in them, e.g. Panda(an excellent diplomatic tool for chinese)
    By the way, i hope you have had a good time in Chicago!

    1. Hey, I am back to blogging! Thanks for the thoughtful comment!