According to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat begins today. But here in Vietnam, it may have started sooner: unexpected changes in Vietnam’s food chain and diet have sparked a rodent-eating bonanza.
Due to bird flu, field rats have become a popular food in Vietnam.
In Tu Son, a small village sitting near the banks of the Red River, rat hunter Ngo Minh Tam reckons “99%” of the people regularly dine on rat meat, an estimate local street vendor Nguyen Thi Le supports.“I’ve sold 2kg in the past quarter hour,” she boasts, displaying a large metal bowl of skinned and cleaned bodies.
Rat-based cuisine is beginning to catch on in the big cities as well. Handwritten signs in some of the backstreets of Hanoi offer cash in return for freshly caught rat.
“Both Vietnamese and foreign tourists are eating more rat meat these days,” says Pham Huu Thanh, proprietor of the Lu
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