Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gui Ling Gao

I found this product in the canned vegetable section of Uwajimaya (a local Asian supermarket specializing in Asian foods). Among all the cans of very usual and not so "usual" canned vegetables (did you know that there's such a thing as canned sushi filling?), was a display of ceramics bowl with matching lids, containing "Gui Ling Gao". It piqued my interest: I liked the bowl, I'm a bit more adventurous eater than many people I know, and I'm not afraid of foods I can't pronounce.  And it wasn't expensive, so I thought I'd give it a try. 

Plus, it was in the canned vegetable section, so whatever this product is was most likely made from plants. (Hey, I'm adventurous, not fearless.) The ingredient list wasn't too helpful because besides sugar, all the ingredients were listed by their latin botanical names.

Gui Ling Gao turned out to be a jelly, and it is also used as an herbal medicine, although I guess it can also be eaten as a snack.

Finding out it was described as "Chinese herbal medicine" should have forewarned me because in my experience "Chinese herbal medicine"  is synonymous with "it's very good for you because otherwise you would never consume something that tastes so foul." 

Sadly, I will never experience the health effects of Gui Ling Gao because I took one spoonful, let the jelly linger on my tongue and thought that at first it kind of tasted like blackstrap molasses but the taste quickly changed into the most intensely bitter flavor  as the jelly dissolved, and I couldn't spit it out fast enough. Ugh. It was terribly foul and the bitterness just lingered. (Why was it so bitter? The second ingredient was sugar!)

But I have a neat little bowl and lid now. 

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