Assorted Livestock 14: Masked Palm Civet (果子狸)

It is hard to find palm civet in fresh form. To prepare dry-cured civet, steam it with sweet wine lees until done, and served it cut into slices with a sharp knife. Be sure to soak dry-cured civet in rice water for a full day to remove excess salt from the meat. Civet is more tender and oilier than a dry-cured ham.


Eat it and a bunch of people are going to get angry at you. (Credit: Denise Chan)

If people consider it beautiful or majestic, you can bet there will be many out there crying foul if you try to eat it. If it’s fuzzy and adorable, that outcry will be worse. But add “threatened species” and “Chinese” to this and what you get is a hoard of angry people screaming things tinged with covert racism.

Well, thankfully the Masked Palm Civet is not endangered or even threatened. But it is still cute. This means that if you mention eating it to anyone well-colonized or otherwise outside the culture, it will certainly bring about sneers and jeers of disapproval.

Sure, if an animal or plant is harvested until it is threatened or endangered it has to stop. But what right does anyone have to say that I cannot eat dogs, turtles, and civet cat and then morally judge me for being okay with it? Just because one had restricted themselves to only eating certain animals and pride themselves in doing so does not mean that everyone else have to follow. This is the same sort of crap that the Inuit have to deal with when they go on subsistence whale hunts or when the Newfoundlanders go on seal hunts. It’s a lot of international cross-cultural finger wagging and people crying foul, then everybody goes back to gorging on their bottom trawled seafood and endangered tuna, all while complaining about those shark’s fin eating Chinese.

As for what fresh or dry-cured civet tastes like, I have no idea. Duck? Chicken? Dry-cured ham? Tell me if you have tried it.

But silently, lest you wish to brave the angry hoards.


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