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The meat of the nutria, or coypu, a kind of river rat, is being championed by chef/restaurateur Takhir Kholikberdiev, who owns several restaurants in the city and other chefs and food fans are starting to catch on. The meat is high in nutrients according to Kholikberdiev and stays moist however long you cook it.
“It’s a really clean animal; not only is it a herbivore but it washes all its food before it eats. And it’s very high in omega-3 acids. A lot of doctors and dieticians recommend it,” he’s reported as saying.
A burger is not the only option available: you can try a hotdog and dumplings too. Eating nutria became popular in Southern parts of the country where the nutria is largely found in the 1990s when poverty-stricken Russians began farming them (they breed rapidly) to make cheap fur coats and decided to cook up the carcasses, but this is something entirely new for Moscow.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters/Wikimedia Commons
The nutria is large with striking orange teeth and the meat apparently tastes somewhere between pork and turkey and though juicy, is a little bland.
While many in the West would balk at eating rat, cooked rat is popular in India, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan African countries.