The latest food trend has hit Russian restaurants and the primary ingredient involves rodents.
Nutria, also called coypu or "river rats," are large rodents of South American origin raised in many parts of Europe, Asia, and North America, primarily for their fur. Those found in southern Russia weigh around 12 pounds and have commonly been used for their fur in the fashion industry, according to Nutria.com.
Attempts to promote the use of nutria as meat in Louisiana and elsewhere have not been successful. However, chef Takhir Kholikberdiev of Krasnodar Bistro in Moscow is serving nutria burgers, in which nutria meat is ground into hamburger patties and piled with toppings, according to The Guardian.
The association between rats and food may not be the most appealing, but Kholikberdiev believes people are misinformed.
“It’s a really clean animal; not only is it a herbivore but it washes all its food before it eats,” Kholikberdiev told The Guardian. “And it’s very high in omega-3 acids. A lot of doctors and dietitians recommend it.”
Not only are nutria reportedly easy to obtain, but Kholikberdiev said they were also easy to cook, as they stay “juicy however long you cook it.”