I should know better than to buy random packets of food to try out, each time disappointed yet again that the taste doesn’t live up to the packaging, and possibly dicing with death given the alarming standards of food safety in China. (Another melamine milk scandal this week. The factory had been saving up their melamine until they thought the fuss had died down, then put it straight back into their milk).
I was at Hualian Supermarket the other day and these lovely looking sweets caught my eye. They looked just like Italian amaretti, in their cheery sherbet-coloured wrappers in oranges, pinks, blues, mauves and lemons. They seemed to be some kind of plum, and unsure which one to try I opted for the one with the best name – Delicate Fragrant Love Plum. There they were, right next to the cat food. That should have been a warning sign.
In rising anticipation I unwrapped the striped diamond wrapper only to find a second plain paper wrapper inside that, then a third plastic wrapper. Inside that were a pair of small shiny shrivelled sheep turds. At least that’s what they looked like.
And the taste? Medicinal, prune-like, with a whack of sulphur, and a salty aftertaste.
Should this description have failed to put you off, here’s what the packet looks like. Remember, they’re right next to the cat food.