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Gorgeously Gory Paintings in a Burmese Temple Holy Curiosities 

Gorgeously Gory Paintings in a Burmese Temple

Most people visit Ananda Phaya to see the massive gold Buddha. I’m not surprised: it’s remarkable. But hidden in a side-alcove, propped up in the ceiling, I couldn’t help noticing a series of paintings. Gloriously gore-filled paintings of demons wreaking havoc on mortals: boulders rolling over bloody victims, body parts dangling from coatracks, quartered corpses splayed out for crows, body part littering slabs of tile. What was this?

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Beijing’s Single Most Horrific Meal Extraordinary Eats Top Stories 

Beijing’s Single Most Horrific Meal

The Beijing Penis Restaurant, officially known as Guolizhuang, doesn’t just serve cock. You can get absolutely anything there. Stewed Deer Face. Sheep foetus in brown garlic sauce. Peacock claws. It’s like a Guangzhouren’s wet dream. And the peacock’s name was as poetic as the plating. It was called A Set of Palms from Heaven and Earth. I almost gagged. “Do you have any regular food,” I asked, nervous.

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On Eating “Old Beijing Fried Enema” Chinglish Extraordinary Eats 

On Eating “Old Beijing Fried Enema”

“Why not start today with a plate of freshly-fried old enema,” I thought. It was bright, garish, and advertised on the wall. “It must be good.” It wasn’t. Dripping in oil and yet crispy enough to snap a molar, it tasted like a bad plate of pork cracklings. The dipping sauce — chopped garlic in water — left it with a flavor and me with a breath from hell. I’d assumed “enema” was a gross mismangling of “sausage” — 灌肠 can mean either. But I was wrong. The name was…

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On Eating a Steaming Hot Bowl of Sweet AIDS Soup Chinglish Events Extraordinary Eats 

On Eating a Steaming Hot Bowl of Sweet AIDS Soup

“I’ll have the AIDS soup,” I said. It wasn’t officially called AIDS soup. Not now. Shortly after I’d blogged about their deviant menus, the restaurant had crossed out every appearance of the word “AIDS” with a sharpie. Now it was simply “Strong Tibetan Sheep Placenta Nourishing Soup [XXXX].” Still a mouthful. But I’d had a few beers, and scraped at the sharpie with my fingernail. The AIDS came back. Now I knew what I was getting. Strong Tibetan Sheep Placenta Nourishing Soup AIDS. And this was what I’d come for.

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Castration Classes at the Beijing Eunuch Culture Exhibition Hall Offbeat Museums 

Castration Classes at the Beijing Eunuch Culture Exhibition Hall

The first time I ever met The Professor, he told me about the eunuch museum. He didn’t say much. Just that there was one. In West Beijing. “You really should go,” he said. “It’s… well, it’s interesting.” He adjusted his glasses the way a professor should, but he wouldn’t say more. A few weeks later, I found myself staring through smudged plexiglas at the only remaining inhabitant of the Beijing Eunuch Culture Exhibition Hall. He was, of course, dead. Covered by an imperial yellow sheet, this junkless monk apparently died…

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Philadelphia CheeseSteak Ice Cream Our Recipes 

Philadelphia CheeseSteak Ice Cream

“That’s possibly the worst idea I’ve ever heard.” Michelle didn’t use these words lightly. She didn’t say this when I’d suggested we fly across the country to a park staffed by 108 dwarfs, or we hand-feed live animals to hungry tigers, or we train to become professional taxidermists. But evidently Michelle has her limits, too. She draws a line at Philadelphia Cheesesteak Ice Cream. We were about to watch Rambocky X, the legendary double-feature pairing of Rocky VI and Rambo IV. (You know: “When a 60-something fighter comes out of…

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The Creepiest Amusement Park of All Time? Holy Curiosities Theme Parks Top Stories 

The Creepiest Amusement Park of All Time?

Singapore is bland. It’s a high-priced row of shopping malls and fine eateries, with a few hawker markets thrown in. “It’s soooooo boring,” warned my hairdresser Miss P. But then you stumble on something like this. The Tiger Balm Gardens: The most disturbing theme park of all time. There’s sex, violence, bear-maulings and scabies. Statues of slutty immoral crotch-grabbing wenches, and creepy animals dressed as humans. Down a dark musty cave, a terrifying tableaux displays every vengeance that awaits you in the hell you’ll surely meet.

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On Horse Meat Sashimi Extraordinary Eats 

On Horse Meat Sashimi

It finally happened. We ordered the horse sashimi. “You want what?” said the waiter, unsure. “Horse meat,” I slurred in Chinese, that last bottle of sake harming my already-poor pronunciation. “Raw horse meat.” The waiter looked at WooLand, who wasn’t listening, and then at me, and he finally shrugged and wrote it down. Clearly this wasn’t a dish foreigners often ordered. 马肉刺身 (Mǎròu cìshēn) is apparently a delicacy in Japan, and I’d long been dreaming of ordering it here. It’s served up sliced thin like carpaccio, with mashed ginger and…

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This Strange Collector Has 1,000 Pairs of Shoes (and a Fetish for Foot Binding) Devoted Obsession Offbeat Museums 

This Strange Collector Has 1,000 Pairs of Shoes (and a Fetish for Foot Binding)

Yang Shaorong lives in a small Shanghai apartment. He collects women’s shoes. Tiny shoes. Shoes for bound feet. “That’s horrible,” said the publisher of my magazine, when I mentioned Yang the collector to him. “It’s a disturbing part of Chinese history.” I was confused. I didn’t really know much about them, or why he was so upset. So I did some reading. And the more I learned, the more nauseous I became.

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Vodka Bottles Taxidermied Into Mice Our Weird Projects 

Vodka Bottles Taxidermied Into Mice

Now that we have our Chinese taxidermy certificates, Woo and I needed to get stuffing. A woman in Qingdao, after hours of discussions, agreed to send a friend to Beijing with a box of frozen rats.  He took the all-night bus, and showed up with a dripping styrofoam box.  “I got confused, and lost, and they melted a little,” he said.

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Why Chinese Pharmacies Sell Dried Sea Horses Extraordinary Eats Strange Medicine Top Stories 

Why Chinese Pharmacies Sell Dried Sea Horses

Sea horse makes for a terrible nasty meal.  Little sharp bits get caught in the teeth, the gums, and there’s a nauseating salt taste to it.  Plus, they just look weird.  Like little bone beasts. Most of China disagrees with me, though.  Here, they’re as popular as ginseng.  And just like ginseng, they’re used to enhance a man’s… well, virility.  They also reinforce the kidneys’ yang, I’m told. As the raunchy old Guangxi saying goes: “Eating sea horses keeps that 80-year-old granddaddy young.” “Chang chi haima, bashi gonggong lao lai…

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Soy Sauce Kit Kats (and other awesome flavors) Cute & Kawaii Extraordinary Eats 

Soy Sauce Kit Kats (and other awesome flavors)

I was a little confused about the Tokyo airport when I flew through there a few weeks ago. It seemed so… rundown. Ceiling tiles missing, chairs blocking entrances, stores closed. And then I saw this sign. Uh-oh. What had I missed during my media blockout? Turns out the third reactor was about to go, so I did what any slightly-nervous very-jetlagged consumer might do. I bought Kit Kats. Lots of them. You probably already know that Kit Kats are the lucky treat in Japan. The local name for them, kitto…

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Why Some Chinese People Still Eat Fried Worms Extraordinary Eats Strange Medicine 

Why Some Chinese People Still Eat Fried Worms

Just like the baijiu-soaked deer penis, earthworms are a legendarily royal remedy here in China.  They’re not even called worms, but something far more royal: Earth Dragons (地龙). It all started with Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty, who ruled China from 960 to 976. Apparently, he had a wretched case of shingles. All of the royal physicians were baffled and no one could find a cure. No one, that is, except a simple folk doctor.  He plucked a couple of earthworms — sorry, earth *dragons* — from the ground,…

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Why Chinese Drugstores Sell Deer Embryo and Penis Extraordinary Eats Somewhat Perverted Strange Medicine 

Why Chinese Drugstores Sell Deer Embryo and Penis

Eating snake seems so sleazy, and eating ants is just gross. So much nicer than either of these? A young, innocent deer. That’s one of the most common sights in a Chinese pharmacy, and when you see one stuffed, it represents longevity, happiness, luck and benevolence. And every single part of that benevolent deer is valuable. The antlers are sold in elaborate gift boxes, almost like moon cakes. They’re not eaten whole, but ground up and mixed with warm water, until the combo becomes a thick glue, called Deer Antler…

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