Ok, here is an update, I heard back again from the NYT Reporter. Yep, apparently he's never been to China and will be visiting there for the first time in August presumably for the Olympics. Hmmm, maybe we should send him a jar of marinated testicles, tripe, chicken heart, pig brain, etc. as a send off gift... But to be fair, he makes a valid point, I guess his point is when viewing from a foreign perspective, the most bizarre or different things tend to leave the deepest impressions... However, I disagree we are quarrelling over semantics! One should never label anything as "local fare" unless you check with the locals that it is indeed local fare!
Email Reply from NYT Reporter:
I understand your point, and I appreciate your concerns. I think we're quarreling over semantics right now. Although you mentioned that fertilized duck eggs are indigenous to SE Asia and can be found in some parts of the U.S., I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of US athletes heading to China have never eaten one. And that when they tell their friends of unfamiliar foods/dishes that they tried/saw in China, they'll say fertilized duck eggs or live sea horses and not vegetable dishes with beef or chicken. Whether that is a fair representation is, as you say, another story, but it's the truth. It may be a rough analogy, but I look at it this way: If someone from China was visiting the U.S. for the first time -- let's say Seattle -- and was moved to eat a cheesesteak, would it be right to say that was local fare? Well, it's an American type of food, so yes. But you could also argue that for it to be truly considered local fare, it would have had to be consumed in Philadelphia. I think you and I agree on more than we don't. When I visit Beijing for the first time in August, I'm looking forward to sampling a little bit of everything, whether I'm familiar with it or not. Thanks again.