Every time my boyfriend and I eat at a Chinese restaurant, we have a rule when ordering. The rule is to order one thing that we are familiar with, AKA an Americanized Chinese dish, and one that is a complete food gamble.
So, at our most recent Chinese outing, along with my chicken and broccoli, came a plate of jellyfish. Yes, all sliced up, looking like some very slippery noodles. I’m a pretty adventurous eater, but jellyfish and I have never fared well – I’ve been stung several times, so I had a mini freak-out when the waitress set the plate down.
My boyfriend, not phased at all, reached over with his chopsticks and artfully plucked a few strands of jelly off my plate and into his mouth. Grinning he turned to me and said, “your turn!” And thus began my love story with jellyfish.
A Lil Jelly History
These wiggly creatures have been eaten by the Chinese as a delicacy for thousands of years. The dish will often be found at Chinese weddings, celebrations, and other big events. Jellyfish salad, which is made from the bell, is thinly sliced and served cold with cucumbers and other crunchy vegetables.
It turns out, jellyfish contain collagen which may help fight visible signs of aging. Interestingly enough, for this reason, jellyfish are a popular ingredient in many beauty products.
Eat ’em to beat ’em
We need to be eating jellyfish for the health of our oceans, and our ocean creatures. There is an abundance of blooms (large groups of jellyfish that move together) and if we don’t do anything they have the potential to crash our world’s fisheries by outcompeting the schools of tuna and swordfish. They have been known to interrupt hydraulic electrical plants, resulting in the loss of power in peoples’ homes.
There are a few methods used to control the populations, like underwater robots that kill them with fan blades, but the robots are just not enough. If you can’t beat ’em eat ’em! That’s the mentality of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States. In 2013, a commercial jellyfish fishery opened in Georgia to control the blooms there.
Go forth and jelly!
So, if you see jellyfish on the menu at the next Chinese restaurant you go to, order it for the safety of our oceans and the collagen in your skin. Who knows – you might even like them!