Monday, August 11, 2008

Smelling A Rat

Travel, we are told, is broadening – to the mind and to the palate. Part of the fun of visiting a new part of the world is to sample the local delicacies.

The Indian government is trying to make it easier for tourists in Bihar to sample one of the staple foods of the Musahar community in that town – rat meat. According to an article in the Times of India, the poverty-stricken Musahars catch wild rats in the field to supplement their diet. Rat meat, apparently, is "... rich in protein and tastier than chicken."

The government has been encouraging Musahars to farm rats instead of catching them in the wild. The farmed rats could be sold to local hotels, which would then be able to offer rat meat to their more adventurous guests.

Rat meat is an inexpensive source of protein for many poorer villagers in India and Southeast Asia. It forms part of the local diet in Laos and Myanmar, in addition to India. We even saw dried rat for sale in a local food market in Bagan during our visit to Myanmar in January.

Think I'll stick to chicken!

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