The world knows the wonders of kung pao chicken, but have you tasted goat genitals? As doctors and scientists race to trace the animal from which the Wuhan coronavirus originated, they’re running through an extensive list of the animals which were sold at the Huanan wet market in Wuhan.

From the looks of what’s on that list, from badgers to bamboo rats to bats and God knows what else, a Chinese kitchen could very well be a hellish menagerie.

Reports say that SARS probably originated from bats, and the virus infected civet cats before it jumped to people. The Wuhan coronavirus is also thought to have come from bats, which then infected snakes before it jumped to people. Poorly regulated live-animal markets where illegal wildlife is also traded provide the perfect hotbed for interspecies viral contamination.

We did some digging and here are seven bizarre exotic meats that some people eat in China.

1. Raw alive monkey brain

How it is prepared:
It is eaten raw with a teaspoon, like in the 1984 adventure flick Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Some people claim that a live monkey is placed under a table with its head poking out through a hole for the brain to be eaten out of.

Why even eat it:
It is said that some people buy the dish to prove their wealth and bravery as it is very expensive. Some claim that monkey brains is a health remedy to cure impotence.

Is it legal?
The dish was banned in China, but can still be found in some areas.

Popular in: Guangdong

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2. Live braying donkey sashimi

Live braying donkey. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
With the donkey’s body held down and its legs tied, the chef cuts the body and carves out the meat right away.

Why even eat it:
There are a lot of donkeys in China and apparently, its flavour really suits the Chinese palate. Why they eat it live is still a question that needs answering, though.

Is it legal?
It has been banned by the Chinese government, but can still be found in certain areas.

Popular in: Henan, Hubei

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3. Live baby mice

Live Baby Mice. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
Also called “Three Squeaks” because they scream three times before being eaten, baby mice are eaten alive with chopsticks. They are sometimes soaked in liquor and served with a spicy sauce.

Why even eat it:
The Chinese consider it very nutritious and especially good for women to eat after childbirth.

Is it legal?
Some sources claim that the dish has been banned in China.

Popular in: Guangdong

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4. Goat genitals

Goat Genitals. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
While other animal genitals are eaten as is in other Chinese dishes? What do you mean by “as is” in this context?, goat genitals are more commonly turned into a soup.

Why even eat it:
Chinese people believe that different body parts can be replenished by eating the same body parts from other animals. With that reasoning, eating genitals could make a man stronger and improve a person’s sex life.

Is it legal?
Yes.

Popular in: Chaoyang. Dongcheng, Haidian, Xicheng, Hangzhou

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5. Badgers

Badger. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
The meat is stewed – sometimes even with the badger’s genitals.

Why even eat it:
In China, badgers are considered a nuisance. They are everywhere, causing havoc to farms in the country. While there aren’t any special health benefits, the Chinese catch them and eat them for the meat because it’s free and will keep their farms free of pests.

Is it legal?
Yes, it is legal to hunt and eat badgers in China. They can even be found in various wet markets around the country.

Popular in: many provinces around China

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6. Bamboo rats

Bamboo Rat. Image from Zaobao.com.

How it is prepared:
Bamboo rats are marinated, stuffed with vegetables, and roasted until completely cooked. They can also be used in soup.

Why even eat it:
In China, bamboo rats are considered as agricultural pests that feed on crop plants like sugar cane, bamboo, and tapioca. Bamboo rats are also considered valuable as food, being full of protein.

Is it legal?
Yes. Bamboo rats are actually farmed for their flesh.

Popular in: Jiangxi

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7. Bats

Bat. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
There are various ways to prepare bats. They can be barbecued, grilled, deep-fried, stir-fried, or cooked in a stew.

Why even eat it:
Bats are said to treat various illnesses, including gonorrhea, malaria, and coughing.

Is it legal?
Yes.

Popular in: Wuhan

(Source)

8. Snake

Snake. Image provided by Shutterstock.

How it is prepared:
Sometimes, the snake meat is fried; but it can also be turned into a soup.

Why even eat it:
The Chinese believe that snakes have healing powers, such as easing the symptoms of arthritis, boosting one’s sex drive, improving blood circulation, and curing coughs.

Is it legal?
By law, catching snakes is illegal, but this law isn’t strictly enforced.

Popular in: Guangzhou, Guangdong

(Source)

The latest coronavirus that is spreading most likely began in Wuhan’s Huanan Market, where wild animals were allegedly being illegally sold. The practice of selling live and dead animals, with their blood and poop mixed together in the same place, makes it easier for interspecies cross-infection. The first reported patient with the Wuhan coronavirus was said to have worked at this market.

Being a little adventurous in terms of the food that you eat is fine; but know your limits, choose your food wisely, and please do not forget to prioritise your health above all.