An Anhui university student confirmed our worst fears when he DNA tested lamb skewers from multiple stands, and found they contained only 19.7% lamb. On the bright side, the cutting agents entailed mostly pork, chicken, and duck – and not, well, rat.
The student, Xue Chen, reportedly spent two months visiting 66 stalls and gathering data. Xue was inspired after learning about reports of clandestine rings that captured and butchered strays and pets to pawn off as lamb. Thankfully (maybe not for Xue), it looks like the results didn’t support his hypothesis.
Xue’s findings aren’t an outlier. Apparently netizens have had similar run-ins with shanzai skewers:
Damo Kongming: The first time I ever ate shish kebab was in Shanghai, and I could not taste the mutton. The stall owner told me that all the barbecue stalls sold pork instead of mutton in Shanghai.
Wang YachanYuKi: In my hometown in Henan Province, the chengguan (urban management officers) detained a restaurant owner who used rat meat to make steak. Other fake meat sellers in the market were also arrested. Now I feel a bit safer about eating meat.
Sharp brother still very sharp: The other day, in Xiamen, Fujian Province, I tried to buy mutton for a beach barbecue, but I could not find any in the supermarkets. In the south, the shortage of mutton is very common, just like fake kebabs. But in the north, you need to verify whether the meat is real mutton or not.