What is guilingao (龟苓膏)?

Oh my God, I’ve just discovered that tortoise is wū guī (乌龟) and one of my favourite desserts, the guīlínggāo (龟苓膏) is actually “tortoise jelly!”

Looking at these cute little tortoise on sale at the supermarket, I feel so sorry that I have ever, ever eaten the turtle jelly. I really didn’t know that they were made from turtle extracts. I thought that they were the grass jelly or xiān cǎo (仙草) 🙁

Now that I know, I am horrified to see almost an entire aisle at the supermarket devoted to the guīlínggāo (龟苓膏). In fact, in some supermarkets, a sales person is stationed next to a mini fridge selling freshly-made turtle jelly for about CNY50 per bowl O_O

Let this be a lesson learned. Next time, I’ll be sure to ask, “What’s this made of?” before I eat anything.