Yucky or yummy: Here’s where Vietnamese rat meat comes from

By Quynh Tran   July 23, 2017 | 08:35 pm PT
A highway on the outskirts of Saigon has been selling paddy rats for nearly a decade now.

The rat here is paddy rat, and they eat mostly grass, sweet potatoes, cassava and rice. So its meat is said to be healthy and delicious. It can be cooked in different ways - grilled, fried or stir-fried.

Paddy rats are widely consumed across Vietnam, from the Red River Delta in the north to the country's rice basket, the Mekong Delta, in the south.


Customers wait along the Highway 8 on Cu Chi District as two people process their rats. 


There are nearly 10 shops here and most of them are owned by migrants from the Mekong Delta, the country’s rice basket where farmers have learned to make the best use from abundant paddy rats.


“This is the main road of Cu Chi and it’s easy for us to find customers,” said Vu from Tra Vinh Province.


The shops charge around VND70,000 ($3.1) a kilo of paddy rats and each can sell an average of 10 kilograms a day, even more on weekends.


Vu said the supply comes every two days, mostly from Long An and Tay Ninh provinces, which neighbor Saigon. “We feed the unsold rats cassava roots to keep them alive,” he said.


Most customers ask for the rats to be butchered and processed.

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