Hey, you do get plenty of vegetables with this dish of intestines at Spicy Girl.

They’ve got the guts ... both literally and metaphorically.

The chefs at Spicy Girl West University not only have the gall (har) to offer intestines as part of their regular menu, right alongside far tamer American Chinese classics like beef lo mein, but they also offer customers three different options: stir-fried, spicy, and “3 favor [sic] pepper.”

But first, a brief primer on the role of intestines in traditional Chinese cooking. Chitterlings (usually of the pig) are prominently featured in regional cuisines throughout the country, with both the large and small intestines utilized as the main proteins in various entrees. Exactly which sections of the porcine digestive tract are deployed influences preparation: The large intestine, which tends to be more unctuous, requires long, slow cooking to break down the fat, while the leaner small intestine can simply be boiled. Regardless, it's important to thoroughly clean the intestines to remove any traces of, um, fecal flavor.  

Because I am unfortunately sensitive to very spicy food, I was concerned about selecting an option whose heat would prevent me from actually perceiving the true taste of the intestines. Upon relaying my concerns to my server, she advised me that all three options held some fiery flavor, but (ironically) the one labeled “spicy” was the least hot. 

Indeed she was correct, for I detected only fleeting notes of pepper in the offal itself, though accompanying slivers of green peppers and chiles added ambient spice. The intestines were chopped into thick rings, lightly battered and supple in consistency, making them easy and pleasurable to consume. And they tasted sort of like chicken! Well, chicken liver, that is, as each of the intestinal rings had a metallic quality, which unfortunately built with each bite such that by the time I was halfway through my lunch, I couldn’t stomach any more guts. 

I took the remainder of my meal to go and consumed my takeout later for supper, albeit with a heavy drizzle of hoisin sauce to mask the inherent character of the innards. Guess this gal has a ways to go to appreciate the alimentary canal.

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