Daredevil diners hop along to rabbit restaurants

By Dong Fangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-08-09 07:28:58

Daredevil diners hop along to rabbit restaurants

Beijing's Shuangliu Grandma's Rabbit Head, a well-known restaurant is devoted to making this exotic dish. Rabbit is not just a tasty meat, it is also a healthy one. Dietitians say domesticated rabbit meat is high in protein, but low in calories and cholesterol compared with pork and chicken. [Photo by Feng Yongbing/China Daily]

"Rabbit heads are not only selling like hot cakes in Chengdu (in Sichuan), they have become popular in other regions, such as Beijing, Hebei, and some southern provinces, in recent years," Luo said.

A fist-sized rabbit head costs 8 yuan ($1.29) at Shuangliu Grandma's Rabbit Head, and the restaurant sells about 1,000 heads every day, according to He Yongsheng, the manager.

The heads come in two flavors: "numbingly spicy", and the milder "five ingredients". A diner at the restaurant, a Beijing native who described himself as a New York-based movie director, said: "I like eating rabbit's head because it's such fun. Different parts have a different tastes and textures. The jaw muscles are tender, the palate succulent, the tongue is chewy, and the brain is creamy. Whenever I'm back home, I call my friends to come here. Rabbit head with beer is such a nice meal, and it's great to eat it while having a good chat with my friends."

Another diner said: "There isn't much meat, but the eating process is deliriously satisfying. The more you suck, the tastier they are."

Eating a rabbit head isn't easy, though, and getting the most out of the experience requires a good technique. Manager He offered a few tips.

First, pull open the rabbit's mouth by separating the upper and lower jaws from the skull. Then split the lower jawbone into two to allow access to the cheeks, tongue and chin. Getting at the brain requires a little more effort - gently bite the skull to crack it open and you'll see the brain coming out. To look really professional, be sure to use the bony upper palate to scoop out the eyeballs.

According to He, seasoned eaters don't have to use both hands. The job can be managed easily using just one hand while you wield chopsticks in the other. "You can simply pull out the brain from the skull using chopsticks," he said.

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