CUISINE

Grilled hamsters

Rat meat is chewy, fragrant, absorbing the fatty and satay flavors, and is a favorite dish of many diners.

Hamster meat is one of the popular specialties. Because the food source of this type of mouse is mainly rice and young plants, their meat is very fragrant.

Field mice often dig burrows in field edges and dikes to shelter, breed and develop. They appear all year round, but most often during the rice harvest or flood season.

There are many ways to hunt mice. In some localities, during the rice harvest season, people invite each other to hunt field mice. Many years ago, people hunted rats by tickling, that is, using a net around a corner of the rice field to lure the rats into hiding, then using a scythe to cut the rice to catch the rats. Currently in some fields, people use combine harvesters to replace human labor to harvest rice. Wherever the machine runs, mice will run out, making it convenient for people to catch them.

In many other localities, the rat hunting army often consists of adults, children and dogs. Dogs will follow the field edges to sniff for burrows. After discovering the cave, people use hoes to dig or pour water in to let the rats escape. Outside, children wait in ambush to catch mice. During the flood season, rats will flock to the high banks. At this time, the tools to catch mice are a boat or shell, a pitchfork (3-pronged type) and a searchlight.

After catching mice, clean them in many ways, the most common are smoking them or scalding them with boiling water to clean, then washing with salt, wine, and draining. After cleaning, field mice are processed into many delicious dishes such as roasting, grilled with salt and chili, stir-fried with coconut water, stir-fried with lemongrass and chili, imitation civet, deep-fried, stir-fried… However, if you like the fragrant fatty taste, you will cook it. Grilled mouse with colander.

The mouse will be marinated with pepper, lemongrass, chili, sugar, MSG, satay, a little five spice… to absorb the spices evenly. After about 30 minutes or an hour, the mice are grilled on a charcoal stove, mashed until smooth, mixed with a little lard, spread evenly on top and grilled until golden brown and fragrant on all sides. This dish can be eaten with herbs, lettuce and dipped in lemon chili salt.

The rat meat is chewy, fragrant, absorbing the fatty taste of the chao, a little spicy of the satay and the aroma of charcoal stimulating the taste buds. Many diners who are not familiar with this dish will feel shy the first time they enjoy this dish. But if you overcome your “aversion” to mice, the dish can become your “favorite”. “At first, I felt shy when I saw the grilled mice lying on the plate and didn’t dare to eat them. However, over time, it was the flavor of this country specialty that fascinated me.”