Dung—A Comfort Food


Yes, that’s how it’s pronounced in the dated Toisan Chinese dialect I speak, and I’ve been eating dung since I was six years old.

I remember my mother making it in the house—an assembly line production. In preparation, banana leaves were soaked and hung to dry, then large bowls containing various ingredients were arranged in an orderly fashion on the dining room table. They contained rice, mung beans, salted pork, sausages, duck eggs, dried shrimp, and chestnuts.

Watching my mother make dung fascinated me. Each one required 2-3 banana leaves, and she explained how difficult it was to arrange the leaves properly in her small hands. Afterward, she’d fill the leaves in a specific order, rice on the bottom and everything else around it. As I didn’t like dried shrimp, she’d make mine without. My brother didn’t like eggs so she’d omit them from his. Once all the proper ingredients were filled, she’d wrap each dung and secure it with string. She would tie the dungs differently so we could tell them apart once they were cooked. And boy … were they ever cooked. It seemed to take days before they were done. A huge pot boiled on the stove for hours until the house was steaming in the smell of dung.

[Dung wrapped up]

I just returned from a trip to see my mother and she prepared 28 dungs for me to take home. I put them in my freezer, and they’re my favorite comfort food for the cold season. One dung accompanied by a heaping plate of greens is the equivalent of a meal for me.

[Inside the dung]

After all these years, I have a discerning taste and will not eat anyone else’s dung other than my mother’s. She dishes out the best dung I know.


21 responses to “Dung—A Comfort Food

  1. Pingback: Dung—A Comfort Food |

  2. Wow, that sounds really yummy! Though I have to admit the name makes me giggle.

  3. I could eat me a plate of dung! I can’t believe I just said that! LOL

  4. Yum! Dung! I’m a convert. How good is that?!

    Now I’m wondering what else you’ll introduce me to. 🙂

  5. I love dung. Not scared anymore. Who says a boy from Ohio can’t branch out beyond tough pot roast and boiled potatoes? When I visit you in Toronto — ah, some fine day — I’ll definitely give you enough time to defrost some dung . . . I’ll bring the greens.

  6. I’ve had this tasty treat before and it’s delish.

  7. In Thai this delicacy is called, ‘Cow Thom’ and I too love it. As a combination of cultures perhaps it could be named ‘Cow Dung’. Nice ring to it

  8. What time is dinner? Looks delicious. I’ll bring….umm….red wine with duck eggs (right?) or Guinness. However, my first reaction to your blog title was WTF? LOL

  9. Hey, I’ve had some of your mother’s dung! I can attest they taste great. I could do with some now. Let me know if you need any help with taking care of your supply.

  10. M-u-s-t they be called such a nasty name?? How about this instead? Yum! 🙂

  11. Pingback: Dung—A Comfort Food – Eden Baylee

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