The year of the rat — tastes like chicken (or better)

The Chinese Year of the Rat begins tomorrow.

And rice farmers are rejoicing, eating the rodent that is damaging crops.

In Thailand, BBC News reports that fast food sellers are enjoying a boom in rat sales, as people learn to love the taste of the rodent.

The rats are drowned and sold uncooked or ready to eat, with happy customers purchasing rat meat for as much as 150 baht ($4.82; £2.30) a kilogram.

One customer was quoted as telling AP,

"It’s better than chicken."

One rat seller, Sala Prompim, said that the hip and liver were the best cuts, adding,

"It’s tastier than other meats – nothing can compete with rat."

Mr Prompim said he only used rats caught from rice fields, and not those found in towns or cities because,

"They are definitely clean."

The Wall Street Journal reports that due to bird flu, field rats have become a popular food in Vietnam.

The story says that in Tu Son, a small village sitting near the banks of the Red River, rat hunter Ngo Minh Tam reckons,

"99%" of the people regularly dine on rat meat."

Rat-based cuisine is beginning to catch on in the big cities as well. Handwritten signs in some of the backstreets of Hanoi offer cash in return for freshly caught rat.