Major former-vegetarian confession coming: Grilled duck is fucking delicious.
It’s succulent, tender and juicy as hell.
A brief history of my foodieism: My life-long vegetarianism started as a general dislike of meat. As a kid I pushed the pot roast around my plate, horrified by the smallest glisten of fat, until incurring sufficient sympathy to be excused to pour a bowl of cereal.
As an adult, every piece of animal product tasted wrong to me, and I went vegan. Living in both San Francisco and Portland, I ate (and loved) homemade veggie burgers and oven-baked sweet potato fries and avocado salads. I checked labels and asked too many questions at restaurants.
And slowly it became no longer a simple preference of taste, but an environmental clearance. The raising of farm animals, the long transport routes, the packaging. To me, it equaled a seriously negative footprint.
But with this stance came a catch I repeated endlessly: If I lived in a place where eating meat was sustainable, I’d do it without another thought.
Fast forward to life in SE Asia, and it was time to make the change. Practice what I preached. Love the duck. Chew the fat.
I hesitated for a moment at my first blood soup and my first fish belly, but in the end, everything about the way we eat here is sustainable. I watch my eggs be collected, my chickens die, my fruits fall from the tree.
I eat organs and suck bones dry.
Because here, nothing is wasted. What we eat is a part of who we are and how we live. Everything is connected in an integral way that benefits our health, the stability of the land, the success of the crops and the vibrant, communal, food-driven culture.
Now in Asia, I chew that fat with pride.