Note: It's time to say howdy to another Serious Eats summer intern. Lingbo Li is responsible for all the polls you've been taking recently, and has been helping J. Kenji Lopez-Alt film his Knife Skills videos. She's also the resident Sure-I'll-Eat-That daredevil of the office, including some recent $1 sushi. Get to know Lingbo! —The Mgmt.
Name: Lingbo Li
Location: Cambridge, MA
Occupation: Student, food blogger
I've been known to guzzle a liter of Diet Coke in a sitting. I also love yogurt covered pretzels.
Describe your perfect meal.
It would be a really eclectic greatest hits remix of my favorite bites with a few close friends. It would probably involve the perfect Peking duck, the turkey sandwich from Crema Cafe in Harvard Square, the foie gras sushi from Boston's O Ya, and the (now off the menu) farro risotto with blood sausage from Craigie on Main. Dessert would be samplings of bizarre ice cream flavors. Actually, I'm not sure this would be a perfect meal, but it would be an interesting one.
What food won't you eat?
I usually eat almost anything. I will eat any kind of offal (I've done testicles, brains, penis, etc.) and I've had rotten shark in Iceland. But I wouldn't eat a living insect, particularly huge ones with a zillion wriggly legs or crazy horns. And I probably wouldn't eat things with fecal matter—like that unwashed warthog rectum that Bourdain had. Other than that, everything's fair game.
What would you like to try but haven't yet?
More exotic animal meats! I haven't had bear, lion, caribou, and various others.
Favorite food person?
Giada, because she's so darned hot. But I'm also a longtime Ruth Reichl fan.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater?
Not until I started writing about food on my blog. Before that, I honestly just thought I was weird—I always sulked when I was forced to go to Applebee's in high school.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions?
They cheerfully put up with it. My mom and dad quote my Twitter account (@lingboli) sometimes. My non-foodie boyfriend is sweet and supportive. And I appreciate that my friends let me photograph their dishes before they eat them.
Favorite food sites or blogs?
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours?
My many Twitter followers and Facebook friends! But among them, my Chowhound-obsessed friend Sam Lipoff is always good for an enthusiastic, informed recommendation, as is Boston food writer MC Slim JB.
And what's the best recommendation he's ever given you?
One's not enough: Sam has led to me some fantastic banh mi at Banh Mi Ban Le in Dorchester. Another time, he somehow discovered this restaurant in Springfield with a game meat menu. He's a tireless champion of Chinese cuisine, particularly Fuloon in Malden.
What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it?
Breakfast, when I get up early enough. There's nothing like a few heaping tablespoons of Sriracha to warm up an oozing sunny side up egg, or a fresh mango smoothie.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make?
I recently began to cook. It's hard to say what I'm actually good at—probably the most successful thing I've made was the first time I attempted Fuchsia Dunlop's kung pao chicken recipe.