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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eating Rat at the New Year

Eating Rat at the New Year
Feb4.2008-A long tradition of rat eating in Vietnam-is especially relevant at this lunar New Year ringing in the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Rat. Mr Nguyen Tien Phat, who sells freshly butchered rat at a village market in the northern town of Bac Ninh, shrugs off any notion that more rat will be eaten this year than any other. They've been eating rats there for centuries, boiled and flavoured with ginger, lemon and fresh herbs.'Those who like it will eat it, and those who don't, won't,' said Mr Phat, who sells rat for US$3 a kilo (S$4.25).

Eating Rat in West Africa.
Rat is considered a delicacy in Togo,West Afica, and the only way for men in this small village to get rat meat is to hunt it themselves.

New Giant Rat Discovered
Photograph by Bruce M. Beehler/Conservation International
December 17, 2007—Mammal expert Martua Sinaga holds a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) rat that may be a species new to science. The rat was found in the remote Foja Mountains of western New Guinea, Indonesia, on a June 2007 expedition, experts announced yesterday. "The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., said in a press statement. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

In the cities of Sanming and Longyan of Western Fujian, China, residents eats field mice in Chinese 老鼠 (lao3 shu3).Mice would be trapped in fields, killed, dried, and then made into “rat jerky” (老鼠干) which is considered one of the “8 big jerkys” (八大干) of Western Fujian.

While farmers in Thailand and the Philippines are celebrating the the Year of the Rat by eating big chunky rats.Well they are just eating them, but making money off the rodent's newfound popularity among diners. These rats are caught from their rice fields or the countryside which are clean compared to their dirty rodents in squalid towns and big bad cities.The rats are grilled and sold them to people who have a non-conventional culinary taste. Among the recipes being served include rat stew, rat with rice, grilled rat and poached rat. While rat has long been eaten in Thailand's poorer northern regions, a growing number of the country's roadside vendors are now serving it up.The rats are drowned and sold uncooked or ready to eat, with happy customers purchasing rat meat for as much as 150 baht ($4.82; £2.30) a kilogram.
"It's better than chicken," remarks a customer.

Several people spoke fondly about eating rat and the consensus us that “the best rat is rice-fed rats.” In places like Vietnam and China rats share their homes with the rice fields and eat plenty of the succulent grain. Unlike many “city rats” the rice-fed animals are chubby, tasty and disease free!

Rats are sneered at in the West as filthy, despite the hit Hollywood animation 'Ratatouille,' which showed a more refined side to the gutter-dwelling rodent. They are revered in the East, however, for their anthropomorphic characteristics of wit, charm and ability to amass great wealth.

People born in the Year of the Rat include authors William Shakespeare and Truman Capote, actors Marlon Brando and Cameron Diaz, Britain's Prince Charles, climate change champion Al Gore, and former US President George H.W. Bush.The rat is the first of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac's 12-year cycle and symbolises new beginnings.

Related Articles:-
Chinese New Year
Lunar New Year Souvenir Supplement: Year of the Rat

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