Duck-Tongue and Hog-Guts at the Juxianyuan Restaurant
After sampling the Grilled Squid at the now defunct Juxianyuan Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown, I returned a few days later for more of their Northern Chinese Barbecue specialties, all of which are broiled with a dusting of dried Chili and Cumin. I tried three items, actually, but the first two seen pictured above were Duck Tongues and Hog-Guts (although, on the menu these were just referred to as ‘Pig Intestines’.
I am *really* sorry I didn’t think to take a close-up picture of each of the separate items here, but if you look at the skewer on the left, you can see what look a bit like the tips of three chicken wings. These are the Duck Tongues.
Did you know that Duck-Tongues have bones in them?
I certainly didn’t before I had this meal, but it is true, and, indeed, that fact made eating these very much like eating the tips of chicken wings. The Chili and Cumin rub applied to them wasn’t nearly as potent as on other items I tried (after all, there was not much room on these tiny things to put a lot of spice), which did at least allow the very mild flavor of the dick itself to come through. All in all, though, the amount of meat was minimal, the flavor not especially exciting, and, to be frank, I would probably stick with Chicken wings in the future.
The Pig Intestines
I have to say, in all honesty, that, while I like trying different things, I ordered this item with some trepidation. I actually have had intestines of one sort or another before, but I am not a fan of organ meats in general, and intestines, which can often have a ‘funky’ taste to them are at the bottom of my list. In fairness, though, these ones, did not have any actively unpleasant odor or taste.
That being said, I can’t say that I like this particular dish very much. The usual Chili and Cumin rub was as tasty as always, and the grilling job was nicely done, but the texture of the intestine beneath the slightly crispy outer coating was very much like the very soft, greasy fat you get under the skin of some cuts of pork, or lamb. It was unpleasantly unctuous for my taste and it rather spoiled any enjoyment I might otherwise have had.
As I mentioned, I actually tried three of the Northern Chinese Barbecue items during this meal (along with a number of other things), and the third was Lamb. I was actually really looking forward to this as I genuinely love Lamb done all sorts of ways (as opposed to Hog-Guts and the like), but I am sorry to say that this dish was a disappointment.
In almost every instance, the dishes at Juxiangyuan were beautifully prepared (even if they didn’t always suit my taste), but in this case the quality of the lamb was not very good. It was a rather poor, fatty cut, and it seemed at less than peak freshness. It was a bit of a shame, of course, but after all the great dishes I ate at this nice little restaurant before it closed, I can’t complain too much. Ah well…