Derek Harkness, Living and working in China since 2006.
Originally Answered: Why are people in China eating bats, even though they're known to carry horrible diseases that can spread to humans?
Chinese people do not eat bats.
Let's look at another simpler disease outbreak for comparison.
MERS is a coronavirus that appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is believed to originally come from bats. Do people in Saudi Arabia eat bats? No. The disease is thought to have first infected cammels and the people caught it from the cammels. Do camels eat bats? No. Do people eat cammels, maybe, but so what. People caught MERS from camels because people are in close contact with camels.
The same will be true for 2019-nCov. While it may have come from bats, there was likely some other intermediary animal.
Derek Harkness 自从2006年起在中国工作和生活
Michael Zhang, lives in Wuhan, Hubei, China
I was worried that people would start asking questions about this “Bat soup”
NOOOOOO people in Wuhan had never heard anything about any kind of food made from bats. And nooooo we never eat bat soup.
The wet market that sells wild animals for meat is the source. Yes the bats are the origin of this virus. But that does not mean we eat bat soup or anything bat related. We are not Batman for god sake.
This virus has the ability to pass on from animal to another kind of animal, likely from a bat to a snake, from a snake to a lizard etc. Based on my knowledge there are cases where people like to eat wild snakes which they consider to be a delicacy. So that’s where I would say that passes the virus from animals to human.
And so no. Bat soup was never eaten in Wuhan and it is never a delicacy by normal standards.
Michael Zhang 生活在中国湖北省武汉市
Richard Li, Knows a thing or two about China
LOL nice one. But no. There’s a very strong possibility that it’s wild animal but as to what kind, they don’t know. Unfortunately the seafood/dodgy wild meat market where the whole thing started has been shut down and the place is cleaned out, so it’s very hard to pin down the original carrier.
But people really need to watch what they eat. SARS should’ve been a big enough lesson but I think after many years people just forgot how IT got started.
Plus, there’s also those with cash want to flaud their riches by eating things other people find repulsive, immoral and unethical.
Richard Li 对中国了如指掌
Alan S Tan, studied at Pennsylvania State University
Yes and No. Bats are a good omen. That being said, there is also a saying that goes, the Chinese eat anything with legs and a spine that faces the sky. I know some Chinese eat fruit bats or fox bats. Indonesians take it with gusto, again, it is not mainstream. Bats hang upside down and defecate on themselves. It stinks. There is a pong.
I wouldnt eat it. But I am told it does wonders for your libido. THen again, someone told me Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Alan S Tan 在宾夕法尼亚州立大学学习
Norman Tan, Frequent visitor to China since 1996
I don't know. The last time I was in Wuhan was about 6–7 years ago and I didn't see bat meat vendors lining up the streets.
And the most widely distributed pictures of a young Chinese woman eating bat soup turn out to be pictures from her trip to Palau. They are promotional photos for Palau tourism.
I'm not saying nobody eats bats in Wuhan. It's a big city of 10 million. Slightly bigger population than New York City. You can find all kinds of human behaviors in a population that big.
But, bat eating is not a widespread practice in China or in the Chinese diaspora. It's like possum eating is confined to the Appalachian region and not popular in the rest of the US.
Norman Tan 自1996年以来常回中国
Cho Tze Yun, Chinese, lived in Taiwan and Mainland China.
Originally Answered: Is eating bat a delicacy in Wuhan, China?
First lets look at why people eat what they eat and how the environment they live in determins the type of food they get.
Obviously those living close to the ocean or water etn to have more fish in their cuisine so lets look at geograpic regions.
If you look at the places that have exoctic animals as food available they tend to be closer to the equator, within 30 degreees above and below. The climate is warn and forest and jungles are lush with a lot of very different terrain. This is the kind of environment that is perfect for all differetn types of animals to survive. For thousands of years people have been exposed to these exotic animals so it is natural that they incorporate them into their diet. You’ll find people eating bats and other exotic animals around the pacific rim and africa. I’m sure a lot of the indeginous people in S America also consumer exotic animals however the Eruopean settlers that came later were not accustomed to consuming exotic animals.
Then look at Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and N America. The environment is only suitable for a certain kind of animals therefore you dont’ see them eating exotic animals.
Its the same thing with fruit. In western countries you’d typically find Bananas (shipped in from S America), Apples, Pears, Oranges, Peaches, and berries. Thats what they typically eat year round depending on season. But in Asia you’ll find so much more and people are accustomed to all sorts of tropical fruits.
This is exactly like why people from some parts of the world will say “Disgusting” when they see bats, snake, field rats being eaten. They are just not used to it. It’s like back in the 80s and 90s people go “Yuk” to Sashimi but they love it today.
The thing with bats is that in some parts of the pacific rim, these animals are eaten regularly. People in Sulawesi or West Papua, Indonesia or Palau may eat it once a week. People in Wuhan for example would normally not eat bats. It’s the Chinese appetite for thier curiosity and willingness to try different food that pushes a small percentage of people to try food that is normally not regularly consumed. Bat is not a regular ingredient in Chinese dish it’s way far from delicacy, much further from sharkfin or abalone. It is a very rare food that meets the curisoty of a very small portion of the population.
So I’d say it’s not just in WuHan, but don’t get me wrong, it’s like like as if half the population are advanturous. I’d say less than 0.1% of people in China or Wuhan are advanturious eaters in that sense.
Cho Tze Yun 居住在台湾和大陆的中国人
Daniel Churchman, lives in Wuhan, Hubei, China
Originally Answered: Why is bat soup eaten in Wuhan? Is it out of necessity, or is it considered a delicacy?
Why is bat soup eaten in Wuhan? Is it out of necessity, or is it considered a delicacy?
Certainly not the former; there are plenty of dietary choices in Wuhan.
But I’m guessing the real issue here is that your are somewhat shocked or even repulsed by the idea of eating bat.
I’m in Kazakhstan right now. They like eating horse meat, and drinking mare’s milk. The meat I like (though it is rather rich). The milk is sour, however, and all my life, sour milk meant you better not drink it! I just can’t get past that.
I reckon there are a lot of meat eaters out there who would not eat horse. They are so intelligent, and can be like friends.
So can pigs, yet in the USA, we commonly eat cow and pig. How many people do you know go nuts over bacon!
But you know there are entire populations that look upon those meats as forbidden.
People eat the strangest things.
Just remember that “normal” is subjective…
Daniel Churchman 生活在湖北省武汉市
Qi Chen, Electrical Engineer (2017-present)
No, it is a piece of fake news and have been debunked.
The story was actually about traveling streamer, who have had visited regions near Indonesia, where locals have dishes made from bat. Her stream of bat soup is from near Indonesia region in Southeast Asia.
The corona virus (and its relative SARS) are from Chinese bats.
The streamer did apologize over the matter and removed the content.
Qi Chen, 电气工程师（2017至今）
Huang Yi, lives in China (1995-present)
We know that most kinds of the coronavirus can be found on the bats, and SARS is a kind of coronavirus. But did Cantonese ate bats and got the virus? No. They ate the civets from Yunnan, and those civets were fed by people. The bats had contacted them, and they brought the virus to the east.
Cantonese are believed “eating everything”, that used to be a bias, and now it has become a meme, but that’s true that you can find more kinds of animals in the dishes of Cantonese. However, they don’t eat bats. Even the Cantonese don’t eat bats, people in Hubei have no reason to eat them.
Huang Yi 生活在中国（自1995至今）
Ian Gourlay, former Retired Senior Lecturer at Royal National Institute of Blind People (1975-2003)
The Chinese "will eat - anything". Which may relate more to the high levels of dirt-poverty still widespread in rural areas, well away from the glitzy cities thst China likes to see projected to the west as examplars of modern Chinese life. But while you're considering the diseases that bats might carry, remember that our poultry is infested with salmonella bacteria. We know that pork carries parasites that can kill us, and it's only a few years ago that we had an outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in the UK that came close to annihilating our export trade in beef and beef products. If curious, look up "Prion Disease".
Mad Cow Disease caused what in humans had previously existed as CJD (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease) and "Scrapie" in sheep. Although the latter seems not to be transmissible to humans.
Add all these up, you might find that your view of what WE eat is also capable of improvement in many ways.
Ian Gourlay 英国皇家盲人学院前退休高级讲师 (1975-2003)
Daniel Churchman, lives in Wuhan, Hubei, China
Why are people in China eating bats, even though they're known to carry horrible diseases that can spread to humans?
Why do Americans eat so much fast food, when they know it’s seriously bad for their health, encouraging heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, etc?
Maybe the locals don’t know of the dangers? Certainly, they consume a lot of such things all the time without ill-effect.
Maybe you wonder why the central government doesn’t stop the practice. Well, maybe they will. More likely, they’ll consider imposing some kind of controls on the industry.
But for all their tight control, they still have to be careful. This is a traditional practice, and you don’t rip that away from over 1 billion people without consequences.
Besides, the country runs on guanxi. This isn’t necessarily illegal, but it usually means flaunting the rules and laws to some extent. Many times I’ve seen some law passed down. You see compliance for a short time, then one or two ignore it, nothing happens to them, then a bunch ignore it, nothing happens, then everyone ignores it until the next crackdown.
A lot of Chinese, even in the cities, are still very poor. Many are still uneducated, especially the older ones. These are deep, traditional practices, often bolstered by Chinese Medicine practices and beliefs.
It’s harder to stop than you think.
Daniel Churchman 生活在湖北省武汉市
Donal Kirk, former CEO of US Co. Bus. Cons. Pharmacist, Photographer
Donal Kirk 美国巴士公司前首席执行官 药剂师 摄影师
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