Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's Go Spelunking/They Actually Eat That: Bats.

It was difficult to pick a "They Actually Eat That" for this week. One, this week is Hell Week, meaning that a lot of tests and reports are due this week. Two, humans don't live in caves, so we haven't had that much time to turn the life there into cuisine. Three, umm, people eat bats, even if they aren't necessarily the cave-dwelling kind.

No, not like that! If you look up bat recipes, you get a million fake Halloween bat cupcakes, "bat wings" (black chicken wings made by Martha Stewart. May contain some seasoning from hell, but still not real bat), and so on. In America, we love eating bat-shaped things around long as no actual bats are involved.

Actually, a lot of places eat bat. If a place has bats, specifically flying foxes, someone will find a way to eat them. This restricts chiropteran cuisine to Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. China eats everything; no surprise that bats are on the menu. Sometimes, you can even find bat in Australia. A few places may eat microbats, but by and large, it's only flying foxes on the menu.

(This does not look like a flying fix to me...but there may be a scale issue.)

Eating flying foxes may not be particularly good for you. There is at least one flying fox species that has become endangered due to over-hunting. Flying foxes have also been linked to a number of diseases, including, but not limited to, SARS, Ebola, and Nipah virus. No offense to the cultures that regularly have bat on the menu, but there is a perfectly logical reason that some of us avoid it. Not that beef is really good for you, either...but that's for another entry.

As for what it tastes like? Rumor has it that bat meat smells, but otherwise tastes like chicken. It can be roasted like chicken, seasoned like chicken, and thrown in a stir fry like chicken. There really not much special about bat meat to most people except its sheer oddity.  It's mostly a big treat for foodies.

1 comment:

  1. Technically, "flying foxes" (large fruit bats) aren't cave dwellers. They hang around in trees, generally. In parts of Africa and Australia you can see them in broad daylight, hanging out and looking like winged puppies.

    It's sad that they are being eaten and/or killed as pests, when they are benevolent creatures. They eat bugs as well as fruit, and the fruit they do eat is generally overripe--not going to be sold, and prime territory for pests to lay their eggs in.

    Love this blog! -- MK