I'm hoping that whole "you can't judge a book by the cover" thing pans out in this situation, because if it doesn't, I'll certainly be sick. As I type, there is a bright-orange package sitting on my desk with a clear window running down the middle. The package has been vacuum sealed and weighs about a pound.
The most concerning thing isn't the large reddish-brown stain on the back of the package, which is either blood, motor oil, or something from the inside of this package seeping out. No, the things that make me want to stop writing this blog post altogether are the sickly brownish squiggles peeking out from the clear plastic. They honestly look like tapeworms, freeze-dried liver, or some sort of woodland creature's candied intestines. The only English on the package states "Chili Radish," so I'll assume these are radishes and hope that isn't some kind of sadistic typo.
I grab a nearby pair of scissors after snapping a few pictures of the packaging and slice it open. I bring the opened bag to my face and make the mistake of inhaling deeply.
It smells worse than it looks. Before I can register what this smells
like, shouts of "Old Socks" "Transients" and "Stomach Bile" billow from
safely behind cubicles. One thing is for certain; the smell is pungent,
with hints of sugary vinegar and rotting vegetables. So far, Chili
Radish has two enormous strikes against it.
The boss once again
bellied up to the bar and offered to try it at the same time as me. And
then something interesting happened. We popped the little tapeworms
into our mouths and bit down. The "radish" had little give to it at
first, merely bending between my teeth until there was a pop, like some
sort of fleshy outer layer hiding a gummy interior. Once that outer
layer breaks, the true flavor of the "radish" shot across my tongue.
My first instinct was that this isn't nearly as bad as it looks, smells, and
feels. It's very salty, like it's been soaking in soy sauce for a
few decades, but there's nothing rotten or bitter. Just an overwhelming
Then the aftertaste comes, and it's reminiscent of the
horrible smell of the stuff. A sour bile coated my tongue, and it got stronger as
time passed. Even after downing a Mountain Dew and an Altoid, the
aftertaste lingered. The strange part is it didn't linger in the
throat or stomach but directly on my tongue, like it's been stained
with the wrath of an angry chili radish.
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