Mmm, rodents! China feasts on rat infestation

If you can't beat them, eat them.

Source: | 03 August 2013 12:21

Tired of fast food? Well, now you can travel to China and try some "pest food." As the country suffers from a plague of a reported 2 billion rats displaced by a flooded lake, many of the creepy creatures are being trucked from central China to the booming south to end up in fancy restaurant dishes, Chinese media reported.

Chinese man holding a ded rat by its tail
A farmer holds up a rat that he killed along the Dongting Lake in Yueyang, in central China’s Hunan province, earlier this month. Some of the estimated 2 billion marauding rats plaguing cropland around a flooded lake are reportedly being turned into exotic restaurant dishes.
Rats had been doing a roaring trade thanks to strong supply over the last two weeks, the China News Service quoted vendors as saying.

"Recently there have been a lot of rats… Guangzhou people are rich and like to eat exotic things, so business is very good," it quoted a vendor as saying, referring to the capital of Guangdong province, where people are reputed to eat anything that moves.

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.

"The buyers offered 6 yuan [79 cents] for a kilogram [2.2 pounds], but as to where they will sell the rats, they would not say," the newspaper quoted a local resident as saying, adding that villagers had to catch the rats alive.

Some Guangdong restaurants were promoting "rat banquets," charging 136 yuan ($18) for one kilogram of rat meat, the newspaper said.

But the restaurants denied their rats came from Hunan.


Local governments in Hunan have been grappling with the rats, which had already destroyed 6,200 square miles of crops and could spread disease, according to media reports.

A lack of snakes, also a popular dish in the south, and owls, a traditional Chinese medicine, was held partly responsible.

Scientists have also blamed China's massive Three Gorges Dam project and climate change for the Hunan rodents' flight to dry land.

So apparently the solution boils down to: If you can't beat them, eat them.