At the beginning look, nothing stands out concerning the Shennongge medical delicacies hot Pot restaurant in Liuzhou, southern China, however you could get the meat of endangered animals right hereâ€”if you know a way to ask for it.
The restaurant gives an assortment of unique dishes, among them stewed wattle-necked softshell turtle, chopped snake with spiced salt, the endangered big salamander, and a weird however otherwise innocuous-sounding â€œsliced caterpillar fungus.â€
The â€œfungus,â€ coming in at a whopping 1180 yuan (about $180) per order, is no fungus at all, but meat from the well-nigh-extinct Chinese pangolin.
Chinese pangolins are a relative of the anteater. The animal is about two ft. lengthy and is lined in armored scales. only just a few thousand are nonetheless alive in southern China and bordering statesâ€”a fraction of populations estimated within the Seventies. Pangolins are a chief goal of poachers, who hunt the animals in their inaccessible and largely unregulated habitat.
by means of local perception, pangolin meat is respectable for blood circulation, depending on oneâ€™s body class.
The sale of pangolin meat is illegal in China. Offenders, if found out, can also be sentenced to over ten years in reformatory, be fined, and have their property confiscated.
Diagram showing the slaughter and practice of Chinese pangolins. (via Peng Pai)
The scientific cuisine hot pot restaurant began using the equipment of passwords a few years in the past when the authorities cracked down on its open sale of endangered meat, the Nanguo Morning news suggested. in accordance with one elderly local, to get pangolin meat one ought to both ask for â€œearthwormâ€ within the native dialect, or inquire â€œif there was any fresh caterpillar fungus imported recently.â€
Insiders regular with the poaching enterprise advised Nanguo Morning information that give of pangolins in China is tight, so most of the animals have to be smuggled from Southeast Asia. This has jacked up expenses to 2,000 yuan (about $300) for a kilogram (about 2.2 kilos) of pangolin meat.
alas, the increasing rarity of the meat seems to have conveniently made it a extra conventional merchandise for shoppers with the cash to spare, according to one consumer. an additional advised Nanguo that he was interested when you consider that he changed into feeling sick and become searching into food remedy.
Shennongge is the best restaurant in Liuzhou that sells pangolin meat, and it has a very good acceptance among its shoppers, many of whom have been government officers eating on taxpayersâ€™ funds.
â€œseveral years ago, when eating on public funding was now not as well-regulated, this restaurant become crammed to capability,â€ one customer said.
With numerous anti-corruption measures having been instituted in the final few years, demand has dipped, however nonetheless necessary to make reservations to get a desk in the evenings.
Restaurant workforce printed that they constantly cheat their clients. whereas a element of pangolin meat is advertised as containing 500 grams (about a pound), the actual weight is between 200 and 300 grams. but in accordance with the group of workerâ€™s member interviewed through Nanguo, the shoppers, who satisfaction themselves on their manners, are unlikely to pursue the depend.
â€œHow would such people be inclined to weigh the meat instantaneous?â€