Since I had a lot of positive response from my last post about smoked salted duck, I thought this would be an opportune time to blog about my other not so positive experience with duck. I was in Shanghai for work a couple years ago and my coworker, a Shanghai local, took me to one of her favorite restaurants. The restaurant specializes in duck heads and spicy sour fish pot. This is not Shanghainese cuisine as they typically do not like spicy anything. This is probably more Sichuan (Schezwan) style food.

We start out our dinner with a yogurt drink. My coworker insists that I coat my stomach to prepare for the fire that will be in my stomach after eating the spicy and sour fish stew. It makes sense right? But I think she just likes yogurt drink because we went for garlic crab earlier in the week and she ordered the same drink and the garlic carb was nowhere near spicy.


After serveral weeks in China, I oftentimes crave raw things like salad and sushi because everything Chinese is usually cooked. So coworker orders some sort of raw veggie side dish for me lightly coated with salt and vinegar. I really don’t remember what vegetable it was but it had a like scent like a cross between shiso and basil. All I know that it was very refreshing.


We ordered a variety of other traditional Chinese side dishes. Chinese pickled vegetables, cucumbers topped with roasted peanuts

IMG_7424 Boiled napa

IMG_7428 Sauteed bean curd strips


And one of the main attraction, spicy sour fish pot. From the picture, the pot looks mighty spicy with all the chili peppers but it was not an in-your-face hot but more of a slow burn. Very savory, very sour, very delicious. The pot was also twice the size of our torsos and we could not finish it.


Then came the next attraction of the heads. I did a double take when the plate was set down in front of us. For some reason, I imagined the heads to be half that size but it was the size of my palm. I’ve funky duck parts before such as the tongue with the connectors attached and etc but I was a little wary of eating the heads. The restaurant graciously pre-chopped the heads in half for easier access.I regret not taking a picture of all the glory of the insides.  I ate half of a head and just couldn’t go on anymore. From what I remember, there wasn’t much meat. There was something that had the consistency of egg yolk, maybe the brains? There wasn’t that much taste to it. For those of you wandering, I left the beak alone and just didn’t go there. When I started having gag reflexes, I knew it was my body telling me no more.


Later that night, I felt really nauseated and felt like throwing up the entire night. This lasted until the next morning. I’m not sure what caused that bout of slight food poisoning. Could have been my lunch, could have been the salad or the spicy & sour fish stew but I blame it on the duck heads. To this day, I still gag when I look at this picture. So yeah, gotta go.