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NPR Claims Pig Rectum Is a Suitable Substitute for Calamari -- In a Pinch

If you happened to listen to NPR this weekend you might have stumbled on an interesting food story on This American Life. The episode opens with a detailed examination of pork bung, which has been breaded and fried and served as calamari to unsuspecting diners.

This can't be possible, right? Turns out it can. And while while the investigation determines that dining on pork bung at your favorite Italian restaurant is improbable (most hog bung is exported to Asia) the segment is more than entertaining.

"A pork bung is long and floppy and ugly," describes Ben Calhoun. "At one end it widens out in a bulbous shape like a pink, wrinkly pear -- that's the rectum. At the other end it narrows out into a soft, pinkish tube."

Sounds appetizing right? But it turns out after you bread and fry bung slices -- after they emerge from the "redemptive oils of the great culinary equalizer that is the deep-frying" as Glass puts it -- they have an almost identical flavor and texture to calamari given the same treatment.

Check out the episode here. And if you're ever chewing on a dense, rubbery ring of calamari at a restaurant and you think you detect the faint whisper of deep-fried porcine flavor, good luck with that.


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