In many parts of the world rats are seen as being repulsive. For many it would be surprising to hear that in parts of the world rats are considered a delicacy.
The Adi Tribe in north-east India celebrate Unying-Aran. This happens on 7 March every year. In this remote village in the hills rats are the famed delicacy at the centre of this unusual festival. They make the rats into a stew using their stomach, liver, intestines, testicles and even their foetuses (unborn baby rats). Seasoning is also added. Still sounds horrendous to me.
In the Adi Tribe's society rodents are very welcome. This includes those that live in houses and in the wild. People love the taste of their tails and their feet. When questioned they said that rats meat is the best and most delicious meat they could imagine.
The locals said that no party or other special occasion would be complete if there was no rat meat available. An honoured or special guest would need to be celebrated with a rat.
Rats are even given as gifts, whilst dead, to the family of a bride to make them happy to see their daughter leave their family.
Apparently this is a very old tradition and the enjoyment of rat as a food is not due to a lack of choice of other meat. Goat and buffalo are still plentiful in the area; people simply prefer the taste of rats.
In Cameroon cane rats are a delicacy. They are small and vicious but apparently, taste rather good. The meat is expensive, costing more than vegetables or other types of meat.
According to a recent study rats were also eating during the Tang dynasty in China. This ran between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. the Chinese called them household deer. Apparently, a delicacy at the time was newborn baby rats stuffed full with honey and eaten with chop sticks. Yum!
Rats were eaten by many Polynesians until around 200 years ago. They were treated as currency as well and highly valued as food. Rats are still currently eaten in Myanmar, Indonesia, Ghana, the Philippines and China. Vietnam is also famous for eating rats. People often say that it has a gamy taste similar to rabbit.
Summary. In many parts of the world, including the UK, rats are thought to be repulsive. Despite this, many cultures love rat meat and celebrate it as a delicacy to be served on special occasions.
Dr Toby Bateson for www.hammertechltd.com