19th May 2006
Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix Soup.
A tradititional recipe from the Guan Chou province of China made from snake, cat and chicken. In a country renowned for eating dishes containing unusual animals some of which are viewed as pets in other parts of the world the eating of cats has dropped sharply since the outbreak of SARS a few years back. Now very few restaurants are prepared to risk ignoring the government ban on cat eating in order to prepare Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix Soup. The Chinese rate freshness of produce highly and so the animals included in this dish are all brought to the restaurant alive and killed immediately prior to cooking. The snake is decapitated but the head remains alive for a further 24 hours and its bite can kill a human in just 2 minutes. The chicken is plucked and its wings and feet are cut off while it is still alive. Most disturbing to western sensibilities is the killing of the cat. It is hit over the head while in a sack to stun it and then once out of the sack more blows to the head kill it, then the carcass is plunged into boiling water and the fur pulled and scraped off. The cat remains looking very domestic until it is beheaded and has it feet removed. All of the meat from the animals is cut into small pieces and boiled with a collection of roots vegetables and seasoning. The soup is then served in small bowls and accompanied by a sauce.