Photo Essay! Dispatches from a Loatian Meat Market

18 Mar

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On the crooked, dripping tables were piles of fly-covered meat. Misshapen flesh glistened in heaps; tangled guts and slabs of skin are stacked among skull fragments and buckets of blood. The smell is awful.

Sam Neau, Laos

Like most every market in Southeast Asia there was a little bit of everything. Plastic slippers, machetes, skewered crickets and the like.

But in the middle of this shanty market was the chopping blocks and piles of flesh.

Black haired women sat at the tables waving flies away from bowls of congealed blood. Other black haired women came to give the Buffalo brains a once over.

I could seldom make out anatomical certainties, most of the muscle and grizzle and flesh was beyond my ken. Was that a hog part or a pile of eel?

Some piles were all sinew and tendon and some had giant rumps of a bristly mammal. Hooves, eyeballs, elbows, pancreas, viscera…on and on sending the smell of warm death up wind.

And of course there were the testicles. Enormous, opalescent testicles. Coiled veins and wiry ventricles suspended the balls as the jolly Laotian market woman shook the pendulous bundle in my face.

The other women laughed and in spite of myself I blushed when she jiggled the disembodied bovine balls and pointed at my crotch. The other women squealed and hid their faces. What could I do but laugh? My second day in Laos and my genitals are the subject of a local belly laugh.

I had to consider myself lucky.

The next night, sitting in a circle over a huge cauldron of steaming soup, chewing mystery-soup meat, I just had to chuckle and try and forget the woman with the fist full of testicles.

Have you ever eaten mystery meat? What is the strangest animal dish you have tried? Gross me out in the comments!


2 Responses to “Photo Essay! Dispatches from a Loatian Meat Market”

  1. bhubi March 18, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    very nice iam proud

  2. Gwen March 22, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    When I was a kid, we went on vacation to Croatia. One night we had a big meat plate and I happily munched away, when someone chewed on the grey suspicious mass I had just finished eating and said: “Wow, this pig brain is much nicer than I thought!”
    Pig’s brain? Eeeeeeeeeewwwwww!

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