Eat an Orange-Toothed River Rat? They Are in Moscow

Nutria has made its way to the plate
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2016 4:00 PM CST
Eat an Orange-Toothed River Rat? They Are in Moscow
The orange teeth are for real.   (Getty Images/RinoCdZ)

There's an emerging culinary trend in Moscow, but it's not for the faint of heart: meaty dishes such as burgers and dumplings made with rodent meat. Nutria, commonly referred to as "river rats"—which the Moscow Times reports are originally from South America but have been something of a staple in southern Russia for years—are giant, orange-toothed rodents bred for their cheap fur, reports the Guardian. With many Russians on the brink of poverty, the rodents' carcasses made their way into the kitchen, and turned out to be both nutritious and easy to cook.

Now, a native of Krasnodar (a city in southern Russia near the Black Sea) has opened the Krasnodar Bistro in central Moscow, and as his Instagram reveals, he's elected to add many versions of nutria to the menu, including stuffed into cabbages and made into hot dogs. It's actually "a really clean animal," he says, describing it as an omega-3-rich herbivore that washes its food before eating it. Writing for the Guardian, Shaun Walker describes the burger as "juicy and fairly bland, somewhere between turkey and pork." Lonely Planet reports that his bold move has inspired other restaurants in Moscow to bulk up their menu with nutria meat as well, though it remains to be seen whether the middle-class hipster crowd these bistros target will go for the latest take on locally sourced ingredients. (Apparently Bigfoot is also local to the area.)

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