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Asia licks its lips over Year of the Rat
Michael Sheridan

PARTLY thanks to a Vietnamese ban on eating cats, the arrival of the Year of the Rat last week has been greeted with more than usual relish across Asia.

The rat is not just an astrological symbol of the lunar new year. It is also a delicacy from China through southeast Asia to Vietnam, where the cat ban was introduced in 1998 to help control rodent numbers.

Long a snack for peasants, rat has cornered a market among the sort of consumer who may also enjoy dog, fox, snake, tiger and squirrel, all of which are regularly served on Asian dining tables.

For those who swear by a nice plump rodent, it can be prepared in an infinite variety of recipes.

In Guangdong, a province of southern China, rat may be stir-fried with green peppers or stewed with lotus seeds. In the provincial capital, Guangzhou, local people enjoy rat hotpots in the chilly winter months and gently steamed rat with lemon in the summer.

One restaurant proclaims the merits of rat as a health food, rich in vitamins and minerals. The rat’s liver, gall bladder, brain, eyes, skin and saliva were all recommended......article conts (-)

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