(L) A bamboo rat, and (R) a koala. [via]
Our doubts that the koala-like animal on sale in the Guangzhou restaurant isn’t really a koala have been confirmed. They are, in fact, far from similar, as you can see in the picture on the right. The city’s New Express Daily tracked down Hotel Fisher, a restaurant known for its wild and exotic cuisine where the supposed koala meat was being sold at 139 yuan per half kilo.
China Daily has more:
Lin Aizhen, deputy general manager of the restaurant, denied the restaurant sold koala meat dishes and other cuisines cooked with wildlife that is under State protection.
“The Australian tourist was actually the victim of a false alarm, as the restaurant never sells koala,” Lin said.
Huang Ritong, manager of the restaurant’s purchasing department, said the animal displayed in front of the restaurant was actually a bamboo rat, which was purchased from the bordering Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region the previous month.
The restaurant purchased two bamboo rats weighing 5 to 6 kilograms each, and a kilogram of the bamboo rat changed hands at 80 yuan, Huang said.
“The bamboo rat was labeled as koala because the seller mistook the bamboo rat as a koala,” he told New Express Daily.
We don’t know what’s worse really — the slaughter of an endangered animal, or the wrongful labelling of food.
Moral of the story: The Cantonese will eat anything with four legs but the table. And, you can never be too sure what it is you’re putting in your mouth in this country.