(originally posted 8/2/2012)
It’s rare that I go out to eat. I’m a bit of a homebody but last night I decided to treat myself to some Chinese food. I’m a big fan of sesame shrimp so I was pretty pumped up about things when I entered the restaurant. As I’m waiting to be served I see this big tank along the wall. Curious I walk over and what do I see but this big eel sitting there with his big eel face looking at me. About three feet long, the thickness of a Coke can and the color of something that you spit out after a long hacking cough. Turns out that this ugly guy is on the menu! He’s waiting there for someone to order him. Wow.
So I sit there for awhile looking at this fucked-up-looking fish-thing when it occurs to me that I should eat him.
How primal is that?!
I suddenly got this huge rush of power. It was up to me if he lived or died. I whispered to him, “Do you want me to eat you? I could you know,” but he just stared vacantly back at me. It hit me that this is how a lion feels crouched in the grass as he sneaks up on a wildebeest … sizing up his next meal. I actually jumped when the hostess touched my shoulder and told me my table was ready.
I took the menu and gave it an obligatory look up and down, but every few seconds I would gaze past the plastic placard and stare at the eel in the tank. Sitting there, completely unaware that I held his life in my hands.
At least a half dozen times I peered around my menu and whispered, “I’m thinking of eating you” and “I’m going to put you in my mouth, chew you, swallow you, and digest you” in his direction.
When the waitress finally came to my table I asked a favor. I told her I’d like to order by the tank. I walked over with every nerve-ending tingling. I locked eyes with my slippery friend one last time. “I’ll be having the eel”. Moments later he was unceremoniously hauled out of his tank and brought back to the kitchen. Was that a pang of guilt I felt?
I’m not sure what I expected but I was a little disappointed when she didn’t return ten minutes later with a three-foot long fried entrée. Instead I got a plate with hunks of the slimy former-tank-inhabitant mixed in with peas and noodles.
I was even more disappointed to find out that he really did taste like chicken.
Still … what a rush. If you’ve never eaten something that you spoke with just moments before I highly recommend it. In fact, I might not ever again eat anything but things I buy out of a tank or cage.
I even heard about this place that cooks a catfish while it’s still alive and, through the wonder of a hideously primitive nervous system, you get to eat it while its mouth is still making breathing motions and its eyes are looking up at you with the mother of all ‘WTF’ expressions.
I guess that would be the pinnacle of dining coolness … unless you happen to be one of those lucky bastards who crash lands on a desolate mountain top or something and is forced to eat his/her fellow passengers.
Of course, how disappointing would it be to find out that the hot chick in seat 14C tastes like chicken?