The Myth of Monkey Brains – 2017

Sitting in a Hong Kong dim sum cafe, I reflected on the strange ‘delicacies’ eaten on my travels; snails in France, dog in Indonesia, fried rats and insects in Thailand, alligator in Florida, and sausage pies in the UK, but whenever the discussions comes around the table to the most revolting meal in the world the vote unanimously goes to the fabled Monkey brain feast in Hong Kong, where the skull of the live monkeys are sliced open and the diners scoop out the raw shaking simian cerebellum.

While the Chinese will eat almost anything, live monkey brains are not on the menu according to most international cuisine experts. Dead monkey brains are served in several locations throughout Asia. I’ve seen monkeys eaten in Central American and SE Asia, but never brought myself to dine on them, since the roasted bodies look like little babies.

There are accounts of people eating live brains from the 1940s such as this one.

“The monkey’s head was supported by its neck in a bracket, two pieces of wood with a semicircular hole on each side such that when you put them together, they form a complete circle around the animal’s neck, allowing the head to be exposed above the plank. The hair around the head is shone with a shaving razor. A small chisel and a hammer is used to quickly chisel a circle around the crown, and the top part of the skull is removed. A teaspoon is used to scoop up the brain, which is immediately eaten. This has to be done before the monkey dies.”

Of course this could be urban myth, but I’m not making any effort to find out if it’s true or not.

Above is a photo of chilled monkey brains.

Ain’t for me.

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