It's not quite up there with the monkey brain delicacy, but it's close. There is a new culinary fad on the mainland called 'breathing fish'. The cooking method is enough to turn most people's stomach, but a group of Hongkongers apparently enjoyed it so much that they put it on YouTube. The minute-long clip was met with an avalanche of criticism and crossed the language barrier in the popular website to start appearing in posts in other languages, some of which turned out to be rather racist.
The chefs, the unnamed restaurant owners and the group of diners, though, richly deserve the Pol Pot award for callous cruelty and ignorance. The dish involved deep-frying the main body of a live grass carp while keeping the head alive by holding it up with a piece of wet cloth. The head and mouth still move when the fish is served on the table, giving a new meaning to Chinese people's obsession with fresh seafood.
While the diners were poking and picking on the poor fish in the clip, the following chit-chat could be heard clearly in the background:
A girl: Still moving?
Another girl: Poke it in the head [to find out]. (Someone hits it with a pair of chopsticks. The head moves and mouth opens. Laughter, cheers all round.)
First girl: So scary! Look at it.
A guy: Let's start eating before it dies.
A girl: It's horrible. (She then takes a piece from the fish with her chopsticks.)
I am not a religious man, but after watching the gruesome video clip, I hope reincarnation and karma are real, just so the fish will swap places with the diners and chefs in their next lives.