Monday, April 24, 2006

You Can't Have Your Meat-Flavored Candy and Eat It Too

Anne sent me a couple of really cool gifts from China last month, and they appeared on my doorstep today. I thought it was a bootlegged DVD from the size of the box, but it turns out its actually a lot nicer. It's calligraphy, and Anne tells me it means "dragon," and she points out that it sort of looks like a dragon, too.The only thing is that I can't figure out if it's upside-down or not. I think it's supposed to hang horizontally, but it's still a coin toss if I get it right. (Yes, there's a crack in the glass, but I'd like to see you travel seventy-five hundred miles in a tiny box and come out scratch-free.)

She also sent me what appears to be meat candy. Here's a picture; maybe you can figure out what exactly it's supposed to be. It's called "Niu Tou," and it's made by the very respectable sounding Guizhou Yonghong Food Co., Ltd. Maybe the relatively decent Engrish on the back of the package — or maybe the drawing of an obese kid with his tongue sticking out — will lend a clue to this mysterious foodstuff:

Ecological environment: Guizhou Yonghong Food Co., Ltd. lies in the south of Guizhou Plateau. Its natural environment enjoys exceptional advantage. The climate is pleasant. There is plenty of rainwater. [Note: This is why I originally thought Anne sent me some sort of crop seeds.] The grass is natural. The product is made with extra care with the traditional production technology and advanced equipment. It has passed the strict quarantine inspection. It is mellow, sweet and delicious. It has the unique flavour and rich nutrition.

Ingredients: choice beef, honey, white granulated sugar, table salt, vegetable oil, spices. [Note: This is why I now believe Anne sent me meat candy.]
Storage: Keep it in a shady, dry and airy place against high temperature, damp and sunlight.
Edible method: To be taken instantly after unsealing the bag, so as not to let it moisturized or be degenerative. [Note: This is why my second guess for what Anne sent me was some sort of homeopathic Chinese lozenges.]
Shelf life: 1 year
Production date: See the jetcode
Executive standard of the product: Q/YH01
Food product license code: QS5227 0401 0389

If you have any advice or opinion about our product, welcome to dial the free telephone after service: 800-8976188
I imagine the free telephone after service only works if you're in China.

I pray that I will never in my life be hungry enough to actually want to put a Niu Tou seed/lozenge/sweet thing in my mouth, but at the same time I'm overwhelmed by the awesomeness of owning a real-life unopened package of meat candy all the way from China. I've been in that Chinatown candy store a hundred times, totally grossed out by whatever sort of freakish shrimp or dried seaweed or scallion candy they're selling there, but now I'm absolutely thrilled by the ironic significance of me sharing a home with beef-flavored confection. I'm in the elite group of jaded individuals who get it, who buy kitsch and Hello Kitty action figures and have LFO on their iPods. I really couldn't be prouder, and that one year shelf life can go to hell, because I'll be auctioning these things off on eBay in the year 2042. Maybe I'll be able to trade it for a RoboSapien, or better yet, one of these things.