Chinese people have been notorious for eating cats and dogs or animals of any kind. As a Chinese I can’t say I like them, but I am totally cool with that. However, when I come to the following piece, it still gives me the creeps.
There are a few food stalls in Zhong Village of Panyu District, Guangzhou that run rat feasts. According to staffs, these stalls are doing very good everyday, receiving numerous diners that look to experience the special wild taste of rat dishes.
Rat dishes are prevalent in food stalls in Zhong Village, many restaurants make it house specialties. "We’ve been running the restaurant for more than a decade, rat dishes have always been our specialties." said one staff from a "Chicken Finger large stall" in Zhong San Village.
Reporter visited some of these stalls and find each of them place a cage of rats beside the door. About noon, the reporter saw a rat feast going on: braised rat, rat hotpot, and stewed rat on the table, there are rat dishes that come in whole, some come in parts, while diners are glutting themselves without any signs of fear.
It’s said that restaurants are selling rats at ￥50/kg, one can make 120 or 140 kg sales a day. Sometimes people have to make reservation in order to get their dishes, while those served on the table are often eaten up including flesh on rat head and bone.
A restaurant’s boss told the reporter that raising rats cost too much, so most rats on the table are field rats or mountain rats "imported" from other provinces instead of home rats. The difference between field rats and home rats are that the former taste fresh and sweet while home rats are dirtier and smelly; and that field rats feed on plants in the field, their hair are soft while home rats’ sparse and rough.
"The rats we use are from a sugar cane field in Zhanjiang City, people there send us 50 kg or so rats at a time," said the boss who said it is not against the law to eat rat,"field rats eat crops, it belongs to the four pests not protected animals,it even helps to eliminate the four pests (rats, bedbugs, flies and mosquitoes)."
Most dinners are local people, with a good number of diners from other places. However some locals said that they dare not to eat that much of rats any more.
"Rats are too dirty now, there are not many fields in Panyu, those rats are from outlands, once cooked nobody can tell the difference, so I haven’t tasted rats for more than 10 years." said 70 years old Uncle Tao.
"Braised rats have crispy skin and silky flesh." according to most interviewees. "I tasted rat dishes in Zhong Village ten years ago and thought it is good at the time. Recently I went back and tried again, I ordered one at first but felt for more, so I order another one. But after some time I got sick of it suddenly and stopped." said Mr. Zhang.
Villagers said eating rats has long been a custom of Zhong Village. They developed many ways to cook rats such as hang-roasting, stewing, shredding, making soup, hotpot etc, each way brings luscious tastes. Rats are also used to make wine, according to the saying "one rat equals 3 chicken", rats are thought to be nourishing and prevent baldness.
Villager Mr. Chen told the reporter that he missed the fun of catching rats in fields when he was little:"Panyu used to have a lot of fields, we all grow up eating rats and I miss the old days when we went catching rats. October is rat season, children on their holiday will gather and go down to the field for rats, once we grabbed one, we wrapped it with mud and roast it like making beggar’s chicken(roast chicken wrapped in lotus leaves and mud, firstly made by a beggar). But kids nowadays can not possibly know the fun."