Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tortoise Jelly

Yes, tortoise jelly. Traditionally, this was made with powdered tortoise shell and other Chinese herbs and medicines...although I don't think the version I ate at dim sum the other day had any tortoise shell in it (otherwise, it would have been very expensive!) it was still very satisfying.

Because it's said to have medicinal properties, because of the Chinese herbs, it does have an acquired taste. The real thing is definitely much more bitter than the imitation guilingo I had, but with the help of a little bit of syrup to sweeten thing up a bit, this, formerly known as medicine, can become a tasty dessert.

I guess you could say that I grew up eating this black Jello. I saw my grandpa eating it out of a porcelain crock when I was very young, and because I wanted to be like him, I asked for a taste. He told me that it was very bitter, and that I probably would not enjoy it. But I begged and pleaded until he gave me a spoonful. My mouth instantly puckered up as I tried to stomach the insanely bitter Jelly. "WHAT IS THIS???", I thought to myself, "This isn't Jello...YUCK!" But to avoid being ridiculed, I happily swallowed it and asked for more. From that moment on, I basically trained myself to like this bitter Jello, asking my mom to buy me cans of it whenever we went out to Chinese markets.

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