I’d like my rat well-done please

Don’t tell PETA, but rats are being caught in central China and hauled to the southern province of Rat Guangdong, where they end up on plates in restaurants. According to a Reuters article, people in Guangdong are "reputed to eat anything that moves," which may explain why children are reluctant to play outdoors with their remote-control cars.

Some vendors, who declined to reveal their names, had asked people from a village in Hunan province, near Dongting Lake, to sell them live rats, the Beijing News said Monday. … Some Guangdong restaurants were promoting "rat banquets," charging 136 yuan ($18) for one kg of rat meat, the newspaper said. [Link]

Rat banquets? I know someone who would find that extremely enticing, but he happens to be a cat. As for me, I’m just not very adventurous when it comes to food. Even crabs and lobsters don’t appeal to me — I’d sooner eat my shoe. It’s all what you’re used to, of course. If I grew up eating rats, then I’d probably be setting traps all over my house. It’s always nice when the food comes to you. (I haven’t seen any rats in my house yet, but you never know. That reminds me of the big rat I saw while visiting my in-laws in Chennai, India. It came through a window and gave me quite a scare. Forget about trying to eat it — I thought it was going to eat ME!)

Incidentally, rats are eaten in Thailand too, as artist Marshall Astor describes in his blog.

It’s a white meat, and the legs were really tasty – every other part of the rat really requires some serious work to get at the meat. Regardless of any nervousness I might have had about eating the rats after the long anticipation (It was like 2 AM by the time we ate), I really enjoyed it. It was new, and sometimes in my post-Thailand existence, I get cravings for the gamey flavour of one of these guys. [Link]

Cravings for rats? Better head to Taco Bell.
If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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