There’s no denying Russia’s contribution to the food world. The nation has brought us all kinds of tasty treats like borscht, beef Stroganoff, Caviar and blinis, chicken Kiev, dumplings, and many more specialties that are beloved by locals and travelers, if not always ubiquitous on restaurant menus worldwide. Now there's a new addition to the list:
The Rat Burger.™
There’s no actual trademark for that, but there could be soon, if Moscow’s latest culinary craze keeps catching on. According to The Guardian, Muscovites are lining up at eateries around the Russian capital to enjoy burgers, hot dogs and stews created using the meat of locally-sourced (#BuyLocal) “river rats.”
While on the surface that sounds like a bad joke and/or the start of a second Bubonic Plague, it’s important to note that the “rat” in question is actually an animal called the nutria or coypu. The nutria, which looks more like a beaver than your classic NYC dumpster rat, is a fairly clean animal that’s also high in omega-3 acids.
This information comes from Takhir Kholikberdiev, a chef and restaurateur, who, as the Guardian reports, slings together a range of nutria-based dishes at his Krasnodar Bistro. Beyond its use as an inexpensive protein choice, Kholiberdiev loves using nutria because it’s so easy to cook with: "Mess up the cooking time of a rabbit and it will dry out in a matter of minutes, but nutria tastes nicely juicy however long you cook it for," as the Guardian reports.
In addition to burgers, diners at the Krasnodar Bistro, at least the ones who can get past the mental thought of gnawing down on the whisker of a river rat, can enjoy nutria filled dumplings, nutria hot dogs, and nutria wrapped in cabbage leaves. (Good luck selling your kids on Cabbage Rat).
So, most important of all, how does it taste? The Guardian describes it as “Pale, juicy and fairly bland, somewhere between turkey and pork,” but goes on to give it the seal of approval, summing it up with a simple “It tasted pretty good.”
Guess you’ll need to pack your bags and try it out for yourselves.
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