I'm currently reading Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein- Prodigal Son", which is as deliciously trashy as it sounds. At one point, the author alludes to a Very Special Dish that can be ordered in certain Very Special Chinese restaurants, but only by certain Very Special (and trusted) customers. The dish (served only in privacy) involves litters of live newborn baby rats, hairless and blind, brought to the table along with a vat of boiling flavored peanut oil, and some tongs. The actual dining experience was left to the reader's imagination.
Is this something that Mr. Koontz made up out of whole cloth, or is it based on some sort of reality? Anybody heard of such a thing? Is it just another example of Oriental=Creepy and Weird? He is usually very sympathetic towards Asians, and has in fact used Asians as his main character in several of his books.
Posted by Errata on :
I've never heard of that. However, I don't think its an entirely unfounded stereotype that Chinese people will eat anything. There are a lot of food products available there that would never be considered food here.
Posted by EthanMitchell on :
Please see Gualong Cao's memoir "The Attic."
Posted by Errata on :
Could you maybe summarize the relevant content for those of us who don't have time to run to the library and read a memoir in order to decrypt your comment?
Posted by Missy_pooh1997 on :
I've never seen baby mice but I definately have watched about 3 shows that showed large rats being diced, fried, and sauced like chicken. One was on that show that used to be on food network where that chef traveled to all these exotic places to eat the foods. He had frog, rat, and snake in Asia.
Posted by shifty rob on :
These weren't just babies- these were LIVE babies! Served fondue style!
Posted by charlie23 on :
It dosen't sound so far fetched as to be impossible, but the only reference to it I can find is Bali's Secret Recipes:
"And the choice remedy for a strong heart is almost never attempted by women, either. Once again it took several tries before I understood the story. “Baby rats, no hair, still red colour,” Wayan explained carefully. “You must swallow them whole, alive, with arak.” One hopes that the arak anesthetizes the poor creatures on the way down. This remedy was also popular in Java. I don’t know what it does for the heart, but certainly must help keep the rat population down. I was able to match this with a tale from the Philippines, where men consume duck eggs in which the embryo is almost ready to hatch. The bravest bite the heads off and wash the delicacy down with beer. Sometimes it seems we are not so very far from the caves after all."
Posted by TB Tabby on :
I don't know about live rats, but in Spain, certain live shellfish are a delicacy. They're called "concha fina," and resemble oysters. People just squirt them is a twist of lemon, and swallow them when they start to wriggle.
Posted by Iron Pineapple on :
I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but in one of the 10 or so books I read recently there was mention of a Chinese dish called 'Scream Three Times', consisting of fried live baby mice. They screamed once when they were taken from their mother, twice when they were fried, and thrice when they were eaten. Cursory googling does not turn up any real examples. So perhaps it something of a food UL for writers only?
Posted by Artemis on :
When I was in middle school, I remember we had a computer game to help us learn about ancient civilizations. I vaguely remember learning that in Rome, a dish of live rats was a delicacy--but maybe I'm remembering wrong?
Posted by Ovalescent on :
Well, Ripley's Believe it or Not had a bottle of Chinese fetal mouse wine (Picture here) last time I visited. Apparently they have the means to procure them fairly readily, and few qualms about consuming in that manner, so it doesn't seem TOO far-fetched that they might fry them as well.
Posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis on :
The real question is are they mole-rats and if so is this a threat to the mole-rat population so necessary for Snopes' secret initiation rite?
Posted by qualli on :
No cites (I'll try to find it if neccessary) but I watched a show a long time ago (Weird travels maybe?) that showed a fish being cut open, fried, and served, still gasping and twitching to a family from Japan. I've also seen live octopi being consumed, it's not much of a stretch to imagine live baby rats being considered a delicacy.
I'm not sure about in Rome, but they did keep doormice in cages in the kitchen and fattened them up on scraps, to be served later, stuffed. So, mice were on the menu.
Posted by Llewtrah on :
I have seen it in a number of other books about extreme food around the world, sometimes deep fried and sometimes raw.
The definition of the 3 screams varies. For the raw baby mice dish, I have seen it as "once when impaled with a fork, 2nd time when dipped in chilli sauce, 3rd time when bitten".
Posted by inkrose115 on :
Sounds plausible to me. Plus well, you'll eat anything if you get hungry enough.
quote: A small table was prepared for the diners with a hole in the centre, the same size as a monkey's head. The live monkey was fastened under the table with part of its head showing through the hole. The hair on its head was shaved and the skull was cut open. The monkey would begin to squeal with pain as seasonings and oil were sprinkled onto the brain
Um having your head cut open would hurt. But I know human brains don't feel pain generally. it's why they can keep neurosurgery patients conscious, right? ... Am I just confused or are monkeys different? Maybe it's just badly worded? I know I'm nitpicking but I think the rest of the stuff, like being cut open and having your head eatten would hurt more. actually that live donkey thing sounds bad.
Posted by Llewtrah on :
quote:There's also Just Born Mice, a charming meal made by taking squishy mice foetuses and grilling them for about a minute on each side. And the equally horrendous live mice dish known as Three Screams. The first scream is said to be uttered when they are picked up and dipped into the accompanying flavouring, the second when they're stabbed with a fork and the third when they're bitten…
quote:Live animal cuisine does not necessarily involve seafood, of course. The traditional mainland Chinese dish Three Screams involves the consumption of live baby mice:For this, several newborn mice were washed, rolled wet in spicy condiments, and served in some sort of basket from which they couldn’t escape. ‘Pick up a wiggling mouse and dip it into some flavoring,when it will emit the first cry. Stab it with a knife or fork and it will scream again. Bite into it and the little thing will give its third cry as it says farewell to the world.’ I cannot verify this, but a retired army officer of my acquaintance claims to have been fed a local version of Three Screams during his childhood in Johore, Malaysia. This version also featured a live baby mouse, but this time the mouse was wrapped in a cabbage leaf and eaten straight away. There were no screams involved, and the dish was consumed as a traditional medicine.
Ok "A Cooks Tour" is sold in conjunction with the book "Extreme Cusine". THat is also the name of the food network show ,I couldn't think of, where the host/author Anthony Bourdain ate the rats, frogs, and snakes.