Do people eat rats?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question: “do people eat rats?” and other related queries.

Do people eat rats? 

Yes, people in some regions in the world eat rats. So, people living in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Ghana, China, Vietnam, and parts of Indonesia and the Philippines regularly consume rat meat. 

Regarding the taste of their meat, rats’ meat tastes like pork and for the texture, it is very tender. However, the rat in some counties is grilled as a whole with its skin. So, the burned hair can lead to a bad smell that everyone can tolerate. But after removing the skin the taste of the meat will be fine. 

Also, people who are used to eating rat meat can differentiate the different types of cooked meat from their taste. Each region or group of people prefer different species. For example, in Africa giant rats are preferred over other types and it is sometimes more expensive than beef or lamb meat.

What countries eat rats?

Generally, Asian countries are the countries that consume rat meats because in these countries rice cultivation is very common. So, rats come to the rice field to eat, for this reason, Asians consume rat meat. 

But the consumption of such meat depends on the cultures and traditions in each country. For example, in India rats are considered a traditional diet in the culture of Mishmi. In the north part of India, rat meat is an essential dish during festivals such as the Adi tribe holiday. 

Not only rat meat is essential in northern countries in India, but also in the south. In southern counties, the rat is boiled in a pot. All parts of the rat are included like liver, legs, tails, intestines, testes, stomach, and internal organs. Some condiments like salt, chili, and ginger are added for extra flavor. 

Not only rats that are caught from rice fields are the ones consumed in India but also house mice, brown rats, and all small rodents are caught and consumed. Several cooking methods like smoking or roasting are used to prepare these foods. 

In other regions of Asia, such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia rat meat is a very essential dish. Rats are kept in cages to be sold or you can find on the side of the road people selling cooked rats. 

The reason why people sell cooked rats on the side of the road and near rice fields is to replenish their supply when it is low. So, people buy such foods to take them home because it is considered a main dish for the whole family. 

In Vietnam, rice field rats are the common type of rats that are consumed. In some countries like China, people can buy rat meat from shops or vendors on the street. Also, you can buy raw rats and in some cases, you can buy them alive in China. 

Chinese people are considered big consumers of rat meat. Barbecued or grilled rat meat is a common method of meat preparation. Also, you can find rats that are cooked on a skewer of bamboo which facilitates their consumption while walking. Some types of sauces and seasonings can be added to the meat. 

Not only in Asia but also in Africa rat meat is consumed, especially in Malawi when rats’ meat is salted or dried in order to be consumed. In America and especially in West Virginia, rats are prepared as a stew.  So, the meat is added to a broth containing garlic, onions, and some vegetables. 

What happens if you eat rat meat?

When the rat meat is well cooked and handled properly, the consumption of such meat will not make you sick. So, to consume safe rat meats you should catch a living rat because dead rats can be poisoned so consuming them can make you sick. 

Also, choose wild rats and not those living in big countries because they are more likely to be contaminated due to their diet. However, wild rats only consume rice. Before consuming such meat make sure of its source and cleanliness. 

Because mice and rats carry and transmit several diseases. About 35 diseases can be spread due to mice and rats. Some of these diseases or bacteria are life-threatening and deadly. A few of the bacteria and diseases are Salmonella, hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and many others. The main route of contamination is through their excrements. 

How to know that you are eating rat meat?

Many signs can indicate that you are eating rat meat while you are in Asian countries that consider rat meat a delicacy. The first is the smell of the meat. Despite the cooking process the smell and the odor of the rat meat can not be removed.

A type of oil is secreted by rats into their skin. These oils give the meat a distinct odor. The description of this smell differs from one person to the other. In addition, this oil secreted will not affect the smell only but the taste of the meat.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question: “do people eat rats?” and other related queries.


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