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Rats, Broiled Again!

    According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on February 10, 2002, restaurants in Taiwan have a new entree on the menu: rat.

    Among the dishes diners can choose from are stir-fried rat, rat stew, or rat with noodles.

    Peaceful Happiness Restaurant is one of several small establishments specializing in rat. The chef, Hung Hung-wen, even has a business card featuring a rat wearing a red bow tie. Hung-wen boasts that his rats taste better than the ones other restaurants serve because his are caught in farm fields rather than in houses. Field rats, he explains, get more exercise and so have stronger -- and more flavorful -- muscles.

    Many of the restaurant's rats are caught by local resident and rat catcher Cheng Chiu-nan. Chiu-nan had been making his living catching snakes for snake soup, but he recently switched to catching rats. And he has certainly excelled at it, earning the nickname "The Rat Catcher King" after smashing the national record by capturing 600 rats in one night!

    According to the article, rat meat is a little rubbery, and tastes a little bit like the dark meat from a turkey.

    Before the rats are cooked, they are clean-shaven and have their ears removed. For the stir-fry dish, the rats are chopped up and their meat thrown into a pot with chunks of red pepper, ginger, and garlic.

    Rat meat might seem unusual to us, but people in Taiwan are used to eating other exotic foods, such as deep-fried hornets, crickets, sea slugs, snakes and even dog.

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