While traveling in Suzhou, China, the Foodbeast squad had the opportunity to try the nation's live 'drunken shrimp' dish for the very first time.
For those unfamiliar, this delicacy can be found across various parts of China, and involves live freshwater shrimp that are immersed in a liquor-based sauce of some kind prior to eating. They often come to the table swimming or jumping in the alcohol, and it's recommended to eat them once movement has ceased. Variations of this dish also include boiling the shrimp briefly either before or after they are marinated in the alcohol.
The version the Foodbeast crew came across at Laodongwu Restaurant in Suzhou was lively, as you can see in the above Instagram video. This is what Foodbeast's Reach Guinto had to say upon trying them for the first time:
"To this day, that nervousness from having to kill a living thing with my teeth is still pretty fresh; I'd say just as fresh as that shrimp tasted. Rich, slightly briny, subtly sweet live shrimp paired with the punch of the alcohol sauce made the experience well worth it."
If you're curious to try these for yourself but aren't in China, there may be a restaurant in your area that carries some variation of the live drunken shrimp. We came across a 2006 report of one restaurant in Rowland Heights, California, that served it with prawns, but it was an off-menu item and it's unclear if they still serve it.