Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Rats become 'Dish of the Day' in South-East Asia
Soaring meat prices in Asia mean many households are serving up rat as a tasty alternative to pork.
Heavy rainfall in the Mekong Delta has sent the rodents scurrying from their holes into the traps of Cambodian villagers, who are exporting them by the tonne to Vietnam.
More than 35 tonnes of rat meat is now said to be crossing the border every day.
"Just my family alone exports one tonne or around 700 to 800 kilogrammes to Vietnam," said rat meat trader Te Lah.
Rat meat was eaten regularly in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s and, when the price of other meat soared last year, poorer households reverted back to it.
Live rats, some as large as piglets, are selling for around $1 (66p) per kilo and dead ones - used for feeding crocodiles in Vietnam - for $0.37 (24p) per kilo.
Cambodians eat them sir-fried, grilled or in soups and rat is increasingly becoming a common dish at home for many in the rural areas.
"Rats can be cooked as Tom Yam, various types of soup, fried with lemon grass or just fried like this," said Cambodian farmer Chan Pheakdey Ratha.
"It is delicious and I eat them almost everyday," said Tuy Kimchheng.