Do They Eat Rats In Thailand?

credit: Ronald Woan

Do people eat rats in Thailand? If you travel to Asia, you’ll learn that the people in these countries sometimes eat food you wouldn’t even consider in the west. But they prepare it deliciously, making sure you can enjoy it. So, do they eat rats in Thailand?

Rats are a common protein for people in Thailand, and rat trappers make good money selling rats. Many people eat rats in Thailand, and you can buy whole roasted rats at most street markets. Foreigners who have tried rat meat in Thailand say it tastes better than expected.

Related: Do They Eat Insects In Thailand?

Is Rat A Common Dish In Thailand?

It is common to eat rats in Thailand, especially in the more local areas where there aren’t as many foreigners. People enjoy eating rats since they are flavorful and tender. In addition, rats offer people an accessible protein.

Many consider it a delicacy, even though the rats are more expensive than chicken or pork. Rats are a great source of protein and are readily available, making them a popular dish in Thailand for locals and tourists alike.

Barbecued rats for sale at a roadside stand west of Suphan Buri
Grendelkhan / wikimedia Barbecued rats for sale at a roadside stand west of Suphan Buri

You can find cooked rats almost everywhere in Thailand, meaning it’s a common dish for the Thai people to eat and enjoy.

Why Do They Eat Rats In Thailand?

People likely started eating rats because it is an easily accessible protein source. You just lay out a trap, and the rat will come to you. There are many species of rats in Thailand, and they are easy to catch and cook. Rats also reproduce quickly, meaning they are a sustainable source of protein.

Today, people eat rats because they are easy to come by and taste good. Many locals prefer the taste of rat meat to chicken or pork, despite the rat being more expensive. Many young people consider rats a delicacy, while the older generations consider them a convenient and affordable food source.

Are Rats Expensive In Thailand?

Despite the low cost of catching and preparing rats, they are costly in Thailand. Rats are more expensive than pork or chicken, and giant rats sell for as much as $6. Although rats are more expensive, many Thai people prefer them because of their taste and the tenderness of the meat.

You can also eat the bones of smaller rats, meaning less food wastage. Rats may be expensive, but they offer plenty of flavors and are a great source of protein, making them an excellent dish to feed the family.

However, rats are remarkably expensive, especially because people have no production costs for raising the rats.

Where Do They Catch Rats In Thailand?

People catch rats in all places in Thailand. Professional rat trappers catch rats in rice fields, where they help the farmers by removing the pests and making some money when selling the rats. People also catch rats in the forests or fields by setting traps. People will catch rats wherever they can.

There aren’t as many rats in the cities as in the countryside. But Thai people will not hesitate to catch the rats in the city if they find them too. Rats are easy to catch with traps, and some trappers catch more than 100 rats per day.

What Type Of Rats Do They Eat In Thailand?

Thai people eat any type of rat they can find. Rice field rats are extremely popular in areas with many rice patties. Common field rats are also caught and eaten throughout the country. Cane rats are another type of rat people catch and eat in Thailand, but they aren’t as common as the other two.

Many people say that the different types of rats taste different too. For example, rice field rats taste gamier, while field rats taste more like pork and have tender meat. There aren’t any poisonous rats in Thailand, so any rat is safe to eat.

How Do They Cook Rats In Thailand?

When preparing rats, Thai people often disembowel them before putting them on an open fire to burn the fur off their skins. This removes the fur while ensuring that no edible part of the rat is eaten. Then, they fry, boil, or roast the rats and serve them with sauce.

Some people chop the rats into pieces and serve them as part of another dish with sticky rice. When eating smaller rats, you can eat the entire thing since the bones are small and crunchy. Bigger rats are eaten off the bone.

Each area in Thailand has its own way of preparing rats, so you may see them cooked in different ways across the country.

Is It Safe To Eat Rat Meat?

Field rats are safe to consume since their chances of having a disease are the same as any other wild animal. City rats are more prone to catching diseases, which is why many people don’t eat these rats.

Ensure the rat is thoroughly cooked before eating it and don’t eat rats that have been standing in the sun for too long. If the rat isn’t rotten or undercooked, there shouldn’t be any harm in eating it. Most rats are safe to eat, and locals love them, so they are worth a try.

Where Can You Find Rats In Thailand?

You can find rats everywhere in Thailand. You’ll mostly see them at street markets and in the countryside at little shops and stalls. Some restaurants also prepare dishes with rat meat, but they aren’t as common. Rats are considered a street for or snack, so this is where you will see them the most.

Look for carts with different-sized rats and try one of each. These are likely different kinds of rats, so there should be a difference in taste between them. You can ask around your neighborhood in Thailand to see where you can get the best-tasting rats around.

As mentioned, different areas in Thailand prepare their rats differently and use unique spices and sauces. So if you don’t like the rats in one province, try them again in another one. Perhaps you will like the rats sold there more.

How Does Rat Meat Taste?

Many people describe rats as tasting like pork or chicken. Rats have a thin layer of fat beneath their skin, giving them a rich flavor, like pork. The flavor of the rat depends on how it is prepared and what spices are used, which is why some think rats taste like chicken.

Different species of rats also taste different. The food of the rats also affects their taste. For example, rats who consume rice have a different taste from field rats who consume other plants and insects. Regardless of the type of rat, locals love rat meat and say it is the best-tasting meat in Thailand.

How Many Rats Do People Catch In Thailand?

Professional rat trappers often catch between 50 and 200 rats per day, depending on how many traps they set out and where they place them. Rat trappers in rice fields often catch more rats than those who set traps in forests, as these trappers must compete with other animals looking for rats.

Some stalls sell their rats in bunches of 5 or 6, so many people eat more than one rat in a meal. This means that the demand for rat meat is high, which motivates people to catch more rats. As a result, it is estimated that millions of rats are caught across Thailand yearly.