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Inflation makes rat Cambodia's other white meat

By: Bronwyn Sloan Posted: January-01-2006 in
Bronwyn Sloan

With rising world oil prices and restrictions on imports of pork and poultry, a nice port roast has become out of reach for many Cambodians, who have turned instead to the other white meat - rat - according to local media.

Local Khmer-language daily Kampuchea Thmey reported that the meat had become so sought after that rice farmers "in their hundreds" had set up sideline businesses catching table-ready rice fed rats for their meat.

Whereas a kilo of best quality rat meat went for around 50 cents two years ago, it now fetches up to 1.5 dollars, the paper reported.

Restrictions on imports of pigs and poultry in an attempt to limit the spread of avian influenza, or bird flu, combined with high petrol prices have pushed up the prices of more conventional meats. But rats, which thrive at harvest season, have become a popular substitute, not just amongst some Cambodians, but in neighboring Vietnam as well.

Cambodians in certain provinces have long caught rats as a protein source when rodent numbers reach a peak during the rice harvest and although many would not touch it if they were starving, some value its roasted or dried meat as a drinking snack.


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