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A rat race for restaurants despite risks

[ 2010-05-06 13:10]     字号 [] [] []  
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Many restaurants that feature rat meat dishes are enjoying brisk business in Zhongcun town of Panyu district in this Guangdong provincial capital, though medical experts warn of hidden safety risks.

The rat dishes are so popular that diners sometimes have to book in advance for a meal in some restaurants during peak hours.

A staff member from the Jijiao street restaurant said rat dishes have been a major attraction at his restaurant for decades.

"The restaurant can now sell more than 40 kilograms of rat meat dishes a day," said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

Rat meat can be roasted, braised in soy sauce, stewed or cooked in soup, he said.

One kg of rat meat costs diners about 50 yuan ($7.3), while the restaurant purchases the raw rat meat at about 15 yuan per kg, he said.

Every day, several cages of rats are displayed in front of the restaurant to lure diners during business hours.

According to the anonymous staff member, most of the rats sold at the restaurant are field mice purchased in Zhanjian city, the western part of Guangdong, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

"Diners who visit the rat meat dish restaurant come from around the country," he said.

Other restaurants that sell rat meat dishes are also reportedly experiencing robust business in Zhongcun town.

A Zhongcun resident, surnamed Tao, said local people have eaten rat meat dishes for decades and that many find them to be both delicious and nutritious.

Many local residents believe in an old saying: "A rat equals three chickens in term of nutrition," he said.

"And the rat meat dishes can help cure baldness and prevent hair from turning gray."

In addition to the rat meat dishes sold in many local street restaurants, rat meat is also made into cured meats that are sold in local bazaars as special local products.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

A rat race for restaurants despite risks

About the broadcaster:

A rat race for restaurants despite risks

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.