Noxious Nosh - In China, people are hungry for a taste of the wild

Animalconcerns Info info at
Mon Jun 2 14:03:23 EDT 2003

It turns out that few people actually enjoy the taste of pangolin—a scaly
anteater whose flesh is a blend of gristle and rubber. The same goes for
the nocturnal civet, which has a gamy aftertaste that even the thickest
brown sauce can't mask. And who really enjoys camel hump, which tastes
just as you'd expect a blubbery lump to taste? But flavor isn't what
really matters to many of the diners tucking into China's wildlife
menagerie. "Businessmen come here to prove their wealth," says George Ng,
a Shanghai-based restaurateur who specialized in cobra and other wild
animals until last month, when local authorities declared all such fare
illegal. "By spending lots of money on game, they can close the deal with
business partners who are impressed with their expensive tastes."

With the recent discovery that SARS may have leapfrogged to humans from
exotic delicacies like the civet cat and raccoon dog, Beijing has launched
a massive crackdown on the wildlife trade. In the past week, police have
combed wet markets in metropolises like Guangzhou and Shanghai,
confiscating writhing bags filled with all manner of beast. But eating
yewei, or wild-flavor cuisine, is a key element of new China's conspicuous
consumption, and it won't be easy to curb the appetites of the nation's
voracious businessmen and discerning government officials. 

full story:,13673,501030609-455838,00.html

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