Rat, not ratatouille, on menu - not for the squeamish

  1. Ummm...I think I'll pass on dinner thanks.


    By Ralph Jennings in Chiayi, Taiwan | January 29, 2008

    DINERS at two Taiwan village restaurants smell a rat each time they sit down to eat. And they love it.


    It tastes like chicken! ... diners at two Taiwan restaurants specialising in rat say they get through 18kg of meat each day to satisfy their customers

    The Ho-la Diner and the Jiashing restaurant opposite have run five or six rat eateries out of town over nearly six decades of business to become the top two ahead of the Year of the Rat, which begins on February 7.

    Both display hairless rat carcasses in their kitchen windows before chopping off the heads and throwing the pint-sized bodies and tails into pots with basil and sweet, black sauce.

    Both restaurants are full at meal times as the rat race for gnawing customers reaches fever pitch.

    "Competition isn't too bitter yet, and we like customers to compare the two places," said Ho-la owner Lin Ming-chih, 54, whose father opened the diner and whose son cooks the rats.

    "Most people who come in here at first have a psychological barrier, but once they take a bite, they don't mind."

    The rats grow up on crops from fields surrounding the 18,000-strong population village of Lucao in Chiayi county - which means they are not dirty rats from sewers, Mr Lin said.

    And Ho-la chef Lin Kuei-chien is proud of his sauce which he keeps secret amid allegations of recipe copying. Customers seeking one restaurant often go in error to the other, the proprietors complain.

    Ho-la serves 10 rat-themed dishes, including a rat soup and battered, black pepper-dipped, deep-fried rat.

    Jiashing serves 12 rat platters, focusing on one similar to the more common kung-pao chicken.

    Rat meat, also eaten in China, became popular in rural Taiwan in the 1940s and 1950s among people who could not afford chicken or pork, both restaurateurs said. Then the flavour caught on.

    "Rat meat tastes just like chicken, but it takes some getting used to, since we associate rodents with filth and germs," said customer Dan Bloom, an American-born English teacher.

    "But these sugarcane-fattened farm rats are simply delicious."

    Despite a sustained following of local customers, other rat meat restaurants have shut down for lack of business, with the most recent closure about five years ago.

    Both remaining diners go through 18kg of rat meat per day.

    "I wouldn't say it's too competitive yet," said Huang Chen-fu, 38, third-generation owner of Jiashing.

    "We both depend on tourist drop-ins."
  2. That has got to be the most vile thing I have ever seen. :throwup::throwup::throwup:
  3. :wtf::wtf::crybaby::crybaby:
  4. :throwup::throwup::shocked::weird::yucky::yucky::throwup::throwup::throwup:
  5. :wtf::throwup::weird:

    On a side note hehe I recently watched Ratatouille and it was a super cute movie~
  6. I think it's interesting, although not necessarily squeamish, repulsive, wrong, or anything else along those lines. I see it as being less squeamish and more a matter of people being tolerant of and being able to respect cultural differences. Some of us enjoy steak, but people in other parts of the world where the cow is sacred would be totally repulsed. Some people in other places eat frogs, and some people in places even in the US eat reptiles. Heck, in this country alone (or anyplace else, for that matter) vegetarians would be repulsed by meat consumption of any kind. Like the article states, in certain areas where one type of meat isn't common or available, people eat different kinds of meat. When I was in a science class as an undergraduate student, although I forget which class it was, my professor told us that in some parts of world where dogs and cats are the most plentiful animal, yes, people eat dog meat and cat meat. My BF is from Ecuador, where it is common to eat guinea pigs, which, like rats, are rodents, too, although he says he hasn't eaten cuy himself. Okay, so someone somewhere in China eats rats, somewhere in Ecuador someone eats a guinea pig, Mike Tyson tried to "eat" Evander Holyfield's ear, Lunchmeat Mumford would eat a fatburger with damn near anyone, and Anthony Bourdain would eat anything you put in front of him. Big deal. Bon appetit!

  7. ^caxe I should have been more specific on the squeamish part....it was more intended that the pic included of flayed rats might not be to people's liking. I really am not one to look down on what people eat, if I travel and do not like the menu then I simply don't eat it but I don't judge those that do.
  8. LOL @ that picture, though. I just looked at it again and giggled...although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's after four in the morning and chronically frustrated insomniac that I am, I'm somewhat delirious and finding humor where there really is none?

  9. :roflmfao: at your post, it was hilarious!
  10. That picture is sad. Those cute little faces.... :crybaby:
  11. **hurls**

    ok, now I need a new keyboard because I just puked everywhere!! lol
  12. Reminded me of a story my father used to tell. He was stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War. Went off-base with some buddies to a restaraunt and had a terrific meal. In his limited knowledge of the native language, he tried to ask the cook what the meat was. He had to resort to mooing, and even ventured to neigh... the cook suddenly understood and replied "Meow".

    Dad spent the rest of his life rescuing stray cats and finding them homes as atonement. True story!

    I agree with Caxe, it's cultural. I don't see how people can eat sqiud but they do! Or snails! EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

  13. My father in law was stationed out in Egypt in WW2 and told me that he ate part of a dog :crybaby::crybaby:and rats. He said they were starving and would eat anything they could catch!!!!!
  14. Oh, yeah.. it's proven if you are hungry enough, you'll eat anything. I mean, just WHO decided snails were tasty? YUCK!!
  15. why why why would they leave their heads on :throwup::throwup::throwup: