The world’s worst underground dining club has been caught serving protected birds to government officials in China’s Anhui Province.
The secret club has no signs or other indicators of its presence, but a reporter from the Xin’an Evening News found the illicit spot tucked away in a cluster of posh villas, Shanghai Daily reported.
The reporter managed to sneak into the secret restaurant, possibly by pretending to be an official or big-shot businessman, and he wrote that he found braised peacock on the menu alongside wild goose dishes. Both peacocks and wild geese are protected species in China. The braised peacock was selling for 1,680 yuan, or $274, and the braised, protected goose was 358 yuan, or $58.
A waiter spotted the reporter eyeing the menu and told him to get out, saying the restaurant was an elite private club that only served high-ranking officials and very rich businessmen.
This isn’t the first time a restaurant has been caught selling protected animals. In October another reporter uncovered several restaurants in Jiangxi serving protected rhesus monkeys. Several Jiangxi officials were stripped of the positions after that report came to light.
According to Shanghai Daily, upscale private dining clubs are not uncommon in the villas of Anhui. While the eating of protected animals is hopefully a novelty limited to the one spot, many of the hidden dining clubs are rumored to be used by government officials to host huge, elaborate secret banquets by famous chefs out of the public eye.