Dinner is served

by Kimberly Inglis


Being the crazy, idle individual that I am, I took this picture about two years ago. Now, being the creative person that I am, I saw it on my phone recently and can now use it for this week’s photo opinion.

For those ignorant folks out there who were not privileged enough to see this exotic product on the shelves allow me to use my vast knowledge and advanced search engine skills to wow you aka I’d google’dry black fungus’ and proceed to blog about it as if I always knew this information 🙂

Black fungus is simply a type of mushroom, but talk about preferred word choice for packaging in this somewhat close minded Caribbean island. Or rather let me speak for myself because I for one had to double read to make sure that I was seeing correctly and then I thought to myself…”Ok cool but do people REALLY eat this” and bet you the answer is yes. If you care to know or even if you don’t, continue reading because you’ll learn something new.

Black fungus must be soaked before it is prepared after which it expands to about 4 times its original size. It is said that it does not absorb the taste of the seasonings it is cooked with but has a taste of its own. It is sometimes favoured in Chinese soups for its slippery yet crunchy texture (Yup still talking about that fungus, yum!) In Chinese medicine, it is used to improve blood circulation and also to relieve atherosclerosis.

fu_blackfungus01fSource: http://www.clovegarden.com/ingred/fu_blackz.html

Three pieces in the original state and one on the right showing the fungus after it expands.

I think it’s only fitting to casually mention the viral video of the men skinning the dog. It’s a topic that has been debated for some time. It’s the video that leads you to question yourself as you muster up your best math skills and start calculating ratios and whatever else math brains calculate, checking the number of times you’ve ever eaten chinee food (as we say) to see if the odds are in your favour. Katniss isn’t the only one that ought to be afraid because we seem to have our own version of the hunger games right here so eat at your own risk.

Well, while some have chosen the ignorance is bliss route and carry on happily, others are typical Trinis who make it into a joke stating that the menu offers “noodles and poodles”. Intellectuals have reminded us that such a delicacy will never be sold to us while unbelievers make their vows to never eat Chinese food again….yeah right, vows that may last as long as a New Year’s resolution because SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN, WANTONS, PINEAPPLE CHICKEN etc *stop drooling!!*. Or should I say ‘chicken’?

Well all joke aside, I think it’s something that will boil down in no time until another video is released or for whatever reason someone decides to stomp on that ants’ nest. In the meantime, accepting these differences in cuisine among different cultures be it dry,black fungus or mystery meat of some sort, is no impossible task in a callaloo pot like Trinidad and Tobago.


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