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Rat Meat in Cambodia

Not sure what to make of this – the rat under discussion is Paddy Rat – not the nasty urban sewer rats of victorian England imagination, and considered a ‘delicacy’ by many meat-hungry Cambodians, especially in the Northwest (Battambang Rat is supposedly the tastiest). I think we need Phil Lees to weigh in here.

The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials said on Wednesday.

With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel (69 pence) from 1,200 riel last year.

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kg.

Oddly Enough | Africa – Reuters.com.

On the other hand, if the Cambodian government decided that this was a solution to hunger in Cambodia (while they are proclaiming increased rice harvests and over 40 percent of the country goes to sleep hungry), I would share Raj Patel’s outrage (over a similar situation in India).

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5 thoughts on “Rat Meat in Cambodia

  1. I’m a bit surprised that rat meat was at 1200 riel a kilo last year – this seems too cheap but I don’t have the EIC data to back me up on it.

    This rat story gets churned out every single year when they come into season, but at least now the journalists have to stretch to join it to a current world issue (e.g. here it is in reference to bird flu:http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=126&art_id=qw1076989863826B251&set_id=1) instead of just being a “look what the poor people will eat” story.

  2. erikwdavis says:

    Hey Phil, great to see you here! The rat meat story (like the spider story, the dog meat story – which is current, good lord) is indeed repetitive. I’m guess that the current incarnation has something to do with the Indian stories that preceded it by about a month (not sure if paddy rat is traditional comestible in India or not). 1200r/kilo does seem low, but on the other hand, perhaps that’s an indication that something is indeed up in the local meat markets? Perhaps we’re not talking solely about paddy rat? Dunno. Me, I’ll eat damned near anything I’m offered, as long as the giver doesn’t have a smirk on their face.

  3. I’m still about – but generally too busy to comment these days.

    The local meat markets are definitely going a bit crazy in Cambodia – I took a friend of mine who was visiting from Cambodia to the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne, and he pointed out that much of the beef in Australia is substantially cheaper than at the Phnom Penh markets at the moment – beef is hitting 24,000 riel a kilo.

  4. erikwdavis says:

    I, for one, am glad that you’re busy, and appreciate the fact that last appetite is busy (though I desperately miss phnomenon).

    I heard even higher prices on beef (30,000r/kilo) a few weeks back from a friend on the phone….pretty weird, but a lot depends, I suppose, on which beef we’re talking about – the US heifers supplied by USAID (mostly in Kandal and Takeo provinces) or the more traditional cattle, which consume less feed, but produce a somewhat less tasty meat.

    Thanks again Phil. I’m a fan, and glad you’re out there.

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