Palatable Cuisine?: CMU students Sample Asian Cuisine

Students venture into Asian cuisine.

After making it through to the final round, it only took freshman Zach Graves one look at his egg to forfeit his chance to win $50.

“There was absolutely no way $50 was worth eating that,” Graves said.

Extreme Cuisine: Asian Style, an event held last Monday, challenged competitors to consume five dishes of Asian cuisine for a chance to win a $50 cash prize. The Asian Cultural Organization, Trout Hall and Residence Hall Assembly all sponsored this event as a part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Elimination for the event was based on a team member’s ability to finish their dish faster than their competitors. If a team member threw-up, got up to use the restroom or was the last one to finish, the team was removed from the competition.

As the crowd of about 60 people fidgeted to get a better view, round one began. In this round, all the competitors had to do was finish the food underneath the cover on their plate in order to advance to the second round.

After being told the rules once more, the competitors were allowed to remove the cover and behold their first challenge-acorn jelly.

Despite the lack of time limit, Graves had the crowd cheering as he made his plate into a cone and slid the Korean jelly side dish into his mouth and became the first person to complete the dish.

About five minutes later, all 14 competitors had finished, with the worst reaction only being a few upturned noses.

Round two.

A four-minute time limit was placed on the competitors as they were served their next dish in the same manner as the previous round.

Allowed to remove the top, the competitors revealed a lightly colored, strangely textured, diced substance-sea cucumber.

Like the first round, Graves created a cone and finished his salty dish before anyone else.

A digestive upset and refusal to consume the aquatic species caused only five teams to move to round three.

The 10 remaining competitors received their dish for round three in a small plastic cup. It was filled with an unknown, brown liquid. All brought it up to their noses to try and identify the contents.

Some competitors noses wrinkled, others coughed, and one loudly exclaimed: “It smells like a fish tank!”

The crowd laughed as members of the Asian Cultural Organization identified the liquid as being a top-of-the-line dipping sauce made of rendered fish.

One member then began the countdown for the competitors to start.

When the member reached zero, Graves fearlessly grabbed his cup of rendered fish, chugged the contents and flipped the cup over in front of him, as if he had just finished a shot.

Every competitor attempted to eat the dish, and the team that was eliminated couldn’t finish the dish in the time limit.

Four teams were left for round four.

This time two cups were brought out for every competitor. The cups were filled with a pudding-like mixture, one being white and the other a very light green.

As the new dish was brought out every person, competitor and audience member alike, made note of the aroma that filled the room.

The Asian Cultural Organization members explained that the white mixture was durian, a fruit said to be the smelliest in the world, and the light green mixture was bitter melon or fermented green melon.

Many of the competitors hesitated, but Graves wasted no time in mixing the two fruits together, tilting his head backwards and spooning the cuisine in. He was, once again, the first person to finish the dish.

Minutes ticked by: two teams had finished, and two remained.

The crowd was now on their feet hooting and hollering for the final four competitors to eat what remained in their cups.

Five minutes into round four, a competitor lunged for the trash bag moving the opposing team into the last round.

Round five.

Three teams remained sitting, the audience was on their feet, and members of the Asian Cultural Organization told the competitors to keep their hands off of the egg now being placed in front of them.

Everyone peered curiously down at the new challenge as a member of the organization tried to quiet the crowd down.

The member explained that the final challenge was considered a delicacy in the Philippines-fertilized duck egg.

The competitors looked somewhat weary, but the crowd was ecstatic, many running to the side of a competitor to watch them crack their eggs open.

When each competitor finished peeling off the outer shell, the final round began.

Graves covered his mouth as he pulled apart his egg and a baby duck fell onto the paper plate. Shouts of disgust, excitement and surprise erupted from the audience members as they gazed upon the baby ducks, some fully formed, one even with eyes and a bill.

“There was absolutely no way $50 was worth eating that,” Graves said.

Four competitors now remained, but only three were having trouble consuming the new challenge. To the astonishment of the crowd, senior Duong Ngo stood up, bent over his paper plate and finished his duck egg in two bites.

Ngo then turned to his teammate and yelled over the noises of the crowd, “I need the money.”

His teammate eventually finished and the two were then handed the $50 cash prize.

When asked if it was worth it, Ngo said, “I can [now] pay the electric bill-it was worth it.”

Photo by Divine in Daily

Separator image Posted in Food.