Planet China

Snappy idea

Cantonese restaurants often display tanks of seafood to showcase that their produce is fresh. Apparently prompted by food safety concerns, a stall in Beijing has been doing something similar – although it is alligators rather than lobsters on display.

The stall, which sells grilled alligator meat, also shows off a two-metre long main exhibit. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, the live alligator has his mouth taped shut and is tied to a table. “It’s cold blooded and that’s why it doesn’t move around in the cold weather,” the shopkeeper told the newspaper.

Next to the chopping board, there were three alligator heads and other bits of unidentifed carcass, Beijing Youth Daily says. Signs offered “barbecue” alligator for Rm15 ($2.5) a stick. But while the stall attracted a lot of onlookers, few were buying the meat. According to the newspaper, some tourists screamed when they saw the alligator heads. The shopkeeper said it is the first time that he has tried selling barbecued crocodile as Lunar New Year fare. Sales were “disappointing”, he admitted.

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