A while ago, a farmer walked through a pork processing plant in Oklahoma with a friend who managed it. He came across boxes stacked on the floor with labels that said "artificial calamari." So he asked his friend "What’s artificial calamari?" "Bung," his friend replied. "Hog rectum." Have you or I eaten bung dressed up as seafood?
Of course, by "dressed up," they mean "breaded and fried," and there is a great line in the piece about how the deep fryer is the great American equalizer. While I'm sure there are those of you Bitesters who find both options equally tempting/revolting, the real zinger in the story is that in a blind taste test, people couldn't really tell which was which.
Now, I've sampled the pork bung on the weekend buffet at Golden Coast, and can report that it tastes like ... well, like the business end of a pig's colon. But it's true: The texture is kind of rubbery and it's easy to imagine that, prepared the right way, it could pass for calamari. (Chitlins lovers, feel free to chime in here.)
No one in the story says they know of this substitution happening in the U.S. — a hefty percentage of 'Merican PB gets shipped to Asia — but everyone acknowledges the possibility. Seafood switch-’ems are common enough. (Pork has been known to dress up as veal in places, too.)
And hey, I'm sure I'm not alone in having ordered calamari off the menu at a place thinking, "Wow, that's awfully cheap for calamari," then being not-so-surprised that it wasn't the freshest-tasting stuff I'd ever had. And then, shrugging my shoulders, I went right back to dunking it in some so-so marinara — made with chicken blood and frog retinas, for all I know — and getting on with my meal.
Bottoms up, y'all!