26 January, 2011

An unusual Dish

Rice rats are eaten in the Guandong province of China . Caught in bamboo traps, skinned, gutted, salted, the body is left to soak in oil, --- giving the meat that shiny waxed look so well known in curing the famous Peking duck. Then the rats are hung out to cure in the sun, a common sight in the village of Hualong. This meat brings twice the price of prime pork in the open market.

China is not the only country whose citizens eat rats; farmers in Thailand and the Phillipines also relish the rice rat.

In Valencia, Spain, a prized  gourmet dish is paella, eaten throughout the country by rich and poor alike. Normally this dish made of saffron rice with bits of fish and condiments, but in Valencia dozens of people will gather around a large bowl of this traditional meal, which is served with slices of field rats to give it that extra flavor.

In the Bordeaux wine cellars rats were prized by French barrel-makers, who grilled the rat over fires fueled by broken wine barrels.

Rats are not only eaten, but in India, where the majority of the people are vegetarians, rats are deified as the vehicle of the most popular diety, Ganesh. A temple in the village of Deshnok in Rajasthan,  is dedicated to the care of rats. They are fed and given water by the Brahmin priests. People make pilgrimages to give their respects.  

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