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A Cantonese cauldron boils over to Thailand

By Erik Nilsson | China Daily | Updated: 2014-02-08 07:24

It's a gastronomic practice health inspectors may wag a finger at.

But patrons give it a thumbs-up.

Wisa Kaweenuntawong is nourishing a culinary tradition that originates from Guangdong province's Chaozhou - in the heart of Thailand's capital, Bangkok.

The 38-year-old, third-generation restaurateur doesn't even know if farmers in her grandfather's hometown still stew beef in pots cleaned only once a year - that is, at Chinese Spring Festival to coax fortune in the coming lunar year. Grandpa emigrated from eastern Guangdong province to Bangkok as a boy, she says.

Every slice of a cow - tendons, briskets and, yes, the penis - are cooked in the huge cauldron in the doorway of Watanapanit restaurant.

But livers and hearts, while boiled with the rest of the oxen, must be ordered separately.

Diners dip meat hunks in sugar, chilies in vinegar, or pulverized chili - colloquially called "gunpowder" for its explosive flavor.

The pots' contents are relished with such sides as greens with rice or noodles, and pork knuckle.

Kaweenuntawong's grandfather first started a small noodle shop before he opened Watanapanit about four decades ago, at age 20.

"He learned how to do this in Chaozhou's countryside and taught the family," Kaweenuntawong says.

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