What Do I Eat?

The answer is relatively simple. I would eat just about anything at least once. The only things that I do not eat are things that my body cannot handle. In general I do not like things that are bitter (e.g. certain vegetables), sour, or too hot. I am willing to give just about anything at least one chance (in fact I look forward to trying them). I never refuse to eat something simply because of the appearance. I have never been "grossed out" by anything yet (Buckley's mixture gets pretty close, but you can't call it food, can you?).

My favorite food group is meat. My favorite meat is lamb, but I am also very fond of beef, duck, chicken, pork, fish, all seafood, etc. I also have no problem eating any edible parts of animals (e.g. tongue, liver, kidney, intestines, heart, brain, bone marrow, sweetbread, etc.). In addition to the "standard" meat above, here is a non-exhaustive list of some exotic things that I have tried:

emu, goose, ostrich, pigeon, quail
Animals that live on land:
alligator, bison, caribou, deer, frog, goat, horse, rabbit, snail, snake, worm
cuttlefish, jellyfish, lobster, octopus, sea cucumber, sea urchin, shark, squid, turtle
grasshopper, cricket, larvae (species unknown), scorpions

and I am always looking for new things to try...

Other strange or unusual food I have tried:

Chinese food:
None of these is strange to me...though it may be considered strange by others.
Other Oriental food (Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Singapore, etc.):
Since I grew up in Hong Kong none of these is too unusual for me.
Haggis (Scottish):
I don't mind it, but I find it a bit bland.
Beef Tartar:
I like raw beef. When I first had it in Paris, I guess I didn't go to a nice place and it wasn't that great. Since then, I have had beef Tartar in Montreal twice and they were quite good. Miro (in Lethbridge) also has a good beef tartar.
Balut (Philippine):
These are embryonated duck eggs that are hard-boiled. You can see a baby duck in there. Bones, feet, beaks are crunchy, giving a very nice contrast in texture. You can find these at the Asian Supermarket in Lethbridge sometimes.
Beef Tongue:
One of my favorite parts of the cow (is there any part that I don't like? no.). If done right, very tender and extremely flavorful (I think it absorbs flavor very well).
Fugu (blowfish):
I had this during my trip to Japan in 2005. All the other things I have eaten are "gross" to some people only because of what they think, but this one can be truly dangerous. The fish has potent toxin and must be prepared properly. Luckily I am still alive. The texture of fugu is quite firm (both raw and cooked). The cooked ones have quite a bit of taste (almost like grouper).

In general, I don't like bitter or sour food. Other than that, the only category that I am not so keen on is desserts. Yes, you heard it right. It's not the taste, but it is what desserts do to my body afterward that drives me away from them. Most desserts are made with (unsurprisingly) sugar and often contain dairy products and fruits. They make me sick (see below).

I can eat a lot when it is something I like. In general I like greasy (deep-fried) food very much, but I also like steak and most other kinds of grilled meat. Processed meats such as sausages, corned beef, bacon, etc. are also some of my favorites.

And in terms of fast food, nothing beats KFC. I can eat it for dinner, lunch, and breakfast. They used to have the Extra Tasty Crispy formula in Canada. Unfortunately it seems that I was the only one who ordered this stuff---they only fried the chicken when I ordered it, all other pre-cooked chicken were the Original Recipe chicken. They no longer sell it in Canada, probably because of a lack of customers. I like the Original Recipe too, but I like the Extra Tasty Crispy formula much better: it's not as spicy and it has a much higher batter-to-chicken ratio. I can eat just the batter without the chicken. It's great with gravy (the batter just soaks it up).

Dairy Products

I am one of the many people in this world who suffer from lactose intolerance. A search on "lactose intolerance" on the web will give you a lot of information. Rather than avoiding dairy products completely, I have found that I can tolerate most North American cheeses, as well as small amounts of yogurt. I also drink "pre-digested" milk thanks to the good folks at Lactaid who make lactase drops for preparing milk at home. I also occasionally eat dairy product with Lactaid pills.


In addition to being lactose intolerant, I also suffer from a not-so-common condition known as dietary fructose intolerance. I used to think that I have hereditary fructose intolerance, but it seems that HFI is much more severe than what I have.

Most information I find on the web is on hereditary fructose intolerance. According to this site, about 1 in 22000 people have this. There are actually not too many informative pages out on the web (they all seem to have the same information verbatim).

Here I will include some personal experience. I am not a doctor and so don't blindly believe everything I say.

I have had problems with fruits for as long as I can remember. Although I had suspected it myself for a while, it was only around 16 or 17 that I did a hydrogen breathing test to confirm this. What it means for me is that I cannot eat most fruits because I cannot properly digest the sugar in fruits. The symptoms are similar to what I have for lactose intolerance: diarrhea, bloating, gas, cramps. It generally takes 3-4 hours for the symptoms to appear for me, but I have had the symptoms appearing up to 24 hours later. Luckily these symptoms are inconvenient but not life-threatening.

The only treatment is to avoid eating anything containing fructose. This is easier said than done, because fructose is contained in many things. Even sugar (sucrose) is composed of glucose and fructose. Luckily, I have a rather mild case and can tolerate small amounts of fructose, and I generally do not have any problem with sugar added to preprocessed food (except for breakfast cereals). In general, as long as I avoid fruits I am okay. I take vitamin supplements instead (not the fruit-flavored ones, of course!).

There are only two fruits (in the usual sense) that I know I can eat. Those are lemons and bananas. I do not like eating lemons and so I never do, and lemonade has too much added sugar. I can eat a small number (one/day) of bananas without any problems. However, things are not so simple. There are lots of other vegetables that are really fruits. Here are some of the vegetables that I can have, except in large quantities:

Here are some of the vegetables that I generally cannot have (except in very small quantities):

Here are a few links for information on fructose intolerance.

There are not too many other sites that contain anything for the common people.

Howard Cheng

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