Memorable Meals in Missionary Lands

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    This forum's been too quiet lately. It's time to liven it up. Please tell about memorable meals you've had on the mission fields of the world. You might be a missionary, you might have been on a missions trip, you might have heard an interesting story. Let us share the fun.

    We arrived in Japan at Haneda Airport on a China Airlines flight 30 years ago on May 6. How excited we were! But we had so much to learn. I kept looking around for people in kimono, but they all wore clothes just like us! Japan was and is a very modern country. They only wear kimono for special occasions: weddings, certain holidays, "Coming of Age Day" for the young people who reach 20, etc.

    Three missionary couples met us at the airport, and after all the greetings we piled into a van to go to our new home. It was breakfast time in Japan, but we were hungry for some kind of lunch, having crossed the international dateline. So the missionaries all started looking for a good restaurant.

    Traveling through Tokyo our eyes were glued to the windows. So much to see and so much to learn! Finally Dick hollered out, "Hey, why let's stop there!" The van pulled into the parking lot and we had our first experience of culture shock. Yes, it was a Denny's we stopped at in Tokyo for our first ever meal in Japan! This country was a lot more modern than we knew!
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    When we first came to Japan in 1981, I promised myself that I would do my best to learn the language and culture, but there were two foods I simply did not want to try: raw fish and raw eggs. More about the raw eggs later, but I did try the raw fish soon after we arrived in Japan.

    One day we went to visit a college friend of mine, a Japanese missionary-pastor we nicknamed "Nobby" in college since no one could say his real name, "Nobumasa." That day Nobby was eager and anxious to take me out for sushi. And you can't turn down your friend, right?

    I find it significant now that Nobby's American wife took my wife out to Wendy's instead of coming with us. At any rate, we trekked to a kaitenzushi restaurant, which is the sushi version of fast food. Everyone sits around a huge conveyer belt which brings around the sushi one per saucer. You grab a saucer, eat the sushi, and they count the saucers and multiply by 100 yen (more nowadays) when you are done.

    Nobby was in fishy heaven, and had a big stack of saucers by the time I figured out that all I wanted was the shrimp. The tuna was mushy, the squid was not for my but I went for the shrimp big time. I finished all the shrimp sushi on the conveyer belt and then asked Nobby how to get more. He muttered "Say, 'Ebi wo kudasai,'" around a mouthful. So I said to the guy behind the counter, "Hebi wo kudasai."

    No shrimp came forth. In fact, Mrs. Chubby next to Nobby almost fell off her stool. I had asked for snake sushi! Ladies and gentlemen, that is called culture shock--on both sides!
     
  3. SaggyWoman

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    We were in Ukraine and there were three dishes....entrees.

    1. Holubsi made out of dog meat.

    2. congealed who knows what.

    3. This Pizza looking thing that really wasn't meat or crust.. we called it pizza but it wa sthe size of a mini and had layers of what looked like beef jerky but thinner. ugh.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    When smuggling Bibles into the old USSR/Eastern Europe in the 70's I was blessed with some foods that were unpronounceable and inedible. Most were varieties of soup/borscht often covered by a layer of sour cream so you could not see the chicken necks, squirel feet, various innards, et al floating in the beetish broth.

    To add to the story of a restaurant transplanted, we were in Hong Kong (having come from a couple weeks of doctoral training for my wife in Beijing) to do some tourist things. Lovely hotel on Kowloon and next door was a multi-story shopping mall. We had been eating all Chinese fare (enjoying some; cuddlefish egg soup is gagging) to that point so we were not thrilled to eat more . . but there on the main floor was a Jack-in-the-Box! Most items were Chinese food! But looked at the pix and saw the familiar Jumbo Jack.

    I ordered it and found it meatless and cheeseless - a real disappointment.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Sounds like you had the complete missionary experience! Patty and I call such things as your second item UFOs--Unidentified Frying Objects.
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Ugh! I had some really good borscht here in Hokkaido with none of that stuff in it. There is actually quite a lot of contact with Russia here, and my wife teaches English to a couple who teach ballroom dancing, and they often bring Russians over to perform, so we shared in the blessing once.

    I'd love to hear your Bible smuggling stories sometime!

    In Japan only Mickey D's has survived with much the same menu, but sometimes they put out some weird stuff too. Mister Donut has gone native, with such amazing things as Matcha (green tea) donuts. Pizza Hut and other pizza places have some really weird pizzas, too. I've had squid on pizza before.... :eek:
     
  7. abcgrad94

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    One of our missionaries told us they shopped at an open-air market for their foods, and his wife was delighted one day to find a big basket of green beans. When she went to get some, she found they were NOT green beans at all, but grasshoppers that had their legs pulled off! The locals explained they are eaten raw, like peanuts. She and her husband wouldn't eat them, but their children learned to mix the grasshoppers with popcorn for a crunchy snack.
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    My only food story is fish and chips. I gained and had to lose about 35 pounds and I blame it on them :)
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    On an overnight in London I was walking around the "sights" and across from Buckingham Palace was a fish/chips shop. Never more disappointed in the taste/quality.

    No worry I would ever gain weight or even want it again.
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    That was English fish and chips. You haven't had Irish :)
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Always good to have something to blame. [​IMG]
     
    #11 John of Japan, Feb 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2011
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Shades of John the Baptist!

    This story reminds me of one Fred Moritz, our former BWM director, tells about an open air market in Asia. (Roger and I are with BWM.) But Dr. Moritz has posted here--maybe he'll tell it himself.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    After we had been in Japan a short while, my wife bought a package of fish filets on sale, brought it home and said to me, "John, what did I buy?" I read the label, gulped and said, "Squid, honey." Well, Patty is nothing if not frugal, so she had to see if she could cook it anyway. The thing is, you have to cook it right or it has the taste and texture of white rubber. That day we threw away some prime rubber!
     
  14. abcgrad94

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    John of Japan, have you eaten any of those embryo eggs? I'm not sure what they are called, but they bury eggs and let them petrify and eat them as a delicacy somewhere over there. I didn't know if the Japanese did that.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I've eaten many strange objects in various Asian countries, but I've never been offered that, thank the Lord! It's called a baloot, or balut, and is a delicacy in the Phillipines.

    The Japanese don't have anything similar, though I have eaten a egg boiled in a hot springs which was delicious. I had one down in the Kanto Plain at the Jigokudani, "Hell Valley," and up here in Hokkaido at Yuwakudani, "Hot Springs Valley."
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You may remember from an earlier post that I promised myself I'd never eat a raw egg, a Japanese custom with various different dishes. Soon after we got here 30 years ago, we began our sojourn in a house in Kawagoe in the Kanto Plain.

    That summer a missionary moved up to Hokkaido, and I was privileged to tag along with two other missionaries. We took the rented truck up with the family belongings, while the family drove their van up. The twelve hour ferry ride was a fun experience. We all slept on futons in one big room on the ship with a floor of grass tatami mats.

    On the way back down we stopped at the famous Nozawa hot springs resort and spent the night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Soaking in a Japanese hot spring onsen bath is pure luxury, and the fish supper was delicious, though I elected not to eat the head staring up at me.

    Breakfast was another matter. Rice and cabbage for breakfast? That was a new one! I think there was fish also. But the egg in a little glass holder caught my attention. Al, who had been in Japan for two years already, said, "John, that's a raw egg. You've got to eat it. It's the Japanese custom."

    Observing carefully, I set the egg down on the table and spun it. It twirled like a top. "Nope, Al, it spins so it's not raw." Sure enough, the Japanese had thoughtfully boiled the egg for the gaijin, the foreigners! My raw egg trial was delayed.
     
  17. Gwen

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    While in Nagoya, Japan in 1980, I went to a friend's house and was surprised to see that they had ordered some kind of snack for me as a special treat. It was brought by a delivery guy, and looked like some type of meat grilled on skewers. It looked and smelled delicious. So I tried one. It was totally inedible--err, unchewable! Later I found out that it was pig's esophagus grilled with soy sauce. Bleck! It was like trying to chew a huge chunk of gristle! But I politely ate it anyway...

    One good memory, tho, is of the coffee shops. Those were the days before Starbucks, and the little neighborhood coffee shops had all kinds of delicious coffee treats. There was one treat that I really enjoyed called "Coffee Jelly" or really Coffee Jell-O. It was a dish of coffee jell-o with a little pitcher of simple syrup and another of whipped cream. You pour them on, and enjoy. Yummy.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hoo boy, talk about a baptism of fire, so to speak. Much better to an American would be yakitori, grilled chicken pieces on the same kind of stick. I bought that at 7-11 on Saturday to have for lunch at the church. Yummy!

    Delicious! Did you like the Japanese coffee, somewhat stronger than "American Coffee" which you can buy? I enjoy all kinds.
     
  19. Rippon

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    I have the Korean-style of the same thing.I eat dak-gochee 닭꼬치,a lot. It's right up my alley (literally).

    I haven't been as adventurous as JoJ and the rest of you.
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Do you go for kimchee? It's popular in Japan, as are all things Korean right now.

    For you others, kimchee is a spicy hot Korean cabbage dish. Alas, I can't have spicy things because of my rosacea, a skin condition. Fortunately, most Japanese dishes are bland--raw fish, octopus tentacles, raw egg, ramen and the like. [​IMG]
     

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