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L.A. food blogger eats anything on his plate

February 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles food blogger and author Eddie Lin will eat anything. His extreme, stomach-turning style of eating is somewhere in between high-end and low-end dining, but he calls it "deep end dining.""All the crazy things I eat you can blame on my mother," said Lin. "She started me off at a very young age, about 5 years old. The first dish she ever served me was steamed pig brain."

Since then Lin has traveled the planet in search of uncommon and exotic foods. Every gastronomical escapade is dished up in his new book, "Extreme Cuisine."

Lin has tried a number of strange foods many people would never consider ordering off a menu, including head cheese, Filipino duck fetus, grasshoppers, fugu, scorpions, even pig ears.

"You know in L.A. you can almost get everything in my book. You can get balut, live lobster sashimi, brains at taquerias around town. You can get live octopus tentacles," said Lin.

Eddie describes that particular meal as an epic battle of man versus beast.

"You basically just try your best to use your chopsticks to get one of these tentacles that are pretty much thinking they're still alive. They're squirming and they're sucking onto everything," said Lin.

We girded our bellies and tagged along for one night of Lin's culinary exploits.

At The Hump in Santa Monica, a sign outside the restaurant gives fair warning.

"If you like your food fresh, then you'll love live lobster sashimi," said Lin.

But it's also about sustainability and using the entire animal. The same lobster used in the sashimi made a return appearance in a steaming bowl of miso soup.

Lin blogs about his extreme style of eating on DeepEndDining.com. He says food is a very personal experience. Other cultures perceive some American dishes, like lime green Jello salad, just as revolting as we see Italy's "casu marzu," aka maggot-infested sheep milk cheese.

Another extreme dish Chef Yamamoto offers up at The Hump is cod shirako, which is rumored to have special powers.

"Shirako is the polite way to say semen sack," said Lin. "I already feel stronger. Yes, I do."

At Typhoon, a restaurant downstairs from The Hump, Lin devours a so-called thousand-year-old egg and then finishes things off with scorpion which he swears tastes just like popcorn.

The next stop was Guelaguetza, an authentic Oaxacan Mexican restaurant in Koreatown.

The scorpions at Guelaguetza come doused in mescal with a side of maguey worms. A great meal at the restaurant is Oaxacan grasshoppers seasoned with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, then folded into an empanada filled with la coche. But what's la coche?

"It is a disease, it's a corn fungus. It infects the ear of corn and then these galls grown on it, which is kind of like what I call a corn cancer," said Lin.

So what's the most extreme thing Lin has ever eaten? Brace yourself!

"Absolutely, the weirdest thing I've ever had is my wife's placenta," said Lin.

That's right, after the birth of his second daughter Phoebe, Lin stomached his wife's placenta.

"You can turn it into jerky, you can dry it, you can do it sashimi style. You can grill it, make it into a soup, you could do a pate. It's so versatile," said Lin.

Eddie Lin's "Extreme Cuisine" book signing and exotic foods conversation
Saturday, March 6 at 1 p.m.
The Annex
2204 N. Main Street, Santa Ana
714-836-8727


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