China King and the Crayfish

Be my craw daddy...

Today I met some friends at China King for lunch. The buffet menu is forever changing and always mislabeled. In the place I would normally find tofu, there was an interesting culinary surprise. Crayfish. The only two places I have seen crayfish (or "craw daddies" as I call them) were in the gorge next to my childhood home and in Kroger's "fresh" seafood case here in Athens.

A pile of bright red bodies with antennae and claws intertwined lay in a half pan under the sweltering heat lamp. I giggled and picked one out of the stack. I couldn't help myself. This little guy had one front leg missing and I wondered if he had it before he went into the pot.

I ate my noodles, crap rangoon, and everything else until it came to him. I picked him up and his little claw dangled. One of my friends instructed that I just break off the head and suck out the inside of the body then use the head as a puppet. I tried to break off the head but failed and cracked open the body. The green tomalley (the innards) oozed out.

I couldn't bring myself to crack open its tail for that little bit of meat. I just couldn't. Besides, I don't trust any seafood this far from a substantial body of water.

I think the only time I will eat crayfish is if/when I go to New Orleans. That way I can be sure they are fresh and done right.

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