May 23, 2008

Rumble guts

I had the rumble guts a few days ago. It's always interesting to try and pinpoint the cause of mild food poisoning. It can take a few days for the symptoms to surface, and there are a lot of things you've eaten during that period. I tend to be more skeptical of fresh, uncooked foods and look to those as the probable source of any gastrointestinal illness.

This time, I think it was one of either:
  • Cold tofu (腐竹) mixed with carrots and celery. When I was eating it, I was thinking that perhaps that it was sitting out in their display case for longer than is healthy.
  • Hong Kong style chef's salad (厨师沙拉). In a busy restaurant, it could be easy to not wash the lettuce and other vegetables as well as they should be.
This time, my rumble guts were pretty mild. I think I must have already grown accustomed to the germ spectrum in China. In fact, I've been purposely trying to train my gut to handle questionable food.

One of the anecdotes in Kitchen Confidential is that Rasputin was reported to have regularly ingest arsenic to build tolerance and to protect himself from poisoning, and that this logic could be loosely applied to eating questionable food in general. It seems reasonable to me.

The main thing I do is eat at a conveyor-belt sushi joint. Some expats in China are exteremely skeptical of any kind of uncooked fish in China, and the convey-belt variety is the fast-food of the sushi world. So far I've not had any problems eating there. I think it's been gradually improving my immune system over time.

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