Typically, few images are more nightmare-inducing than finding a rodent crawling its way into your hamburger. But in Russia, “river rat” burgers have been popping up on restaurant menus, and chefs seem more than happy to serve them to customers.
According to the Guardian, chef Takhir Kholikberdiev and Krasnodar Bistro in Moscow is grinding rodent meat into hamburger patties, piling them up with relish, and sandwiching it all between two buns for $8 USD.
For those unfamiliar with the river rat—or nutria, as it’s officially known—the animal is a little different than the trash-foraging pizza rats one might see scampering around the tracks of the New York City subway system. The river rat hails from southern Russia, is larger than city-dwelling rodent, and has a bit more meat on it's bones. Despite the unappetizing nickname, the hairy creatures are actually supposed to be clean and nutritious—well, at least according to Kholikberdiev.
“It’s a really clean animal; not only is it a herbivore but it washes all its food before it eats,” the chef told the Guardian. “And it’s very high in omega-3 acids. A lot of doctors and dietitians recommend it.”
Kholikberdiev says nutria tastes like a mixture of turkey and pork, and photos of the item posted on Instagram actually look better than most $8 burgers available back in the U.S. Still, Krasnodar Bistro isn't the only Russian restaurant putting nutria dishes on the menu. The rodent has apparently become a relatively popular protein in Moscow, popping up at eateries throughout the city.
Our guess is that Michelin-starred chefs in the U.S. will start importing river rats for their own rodent-filled delicacies in a few short years. Don't say we didn't warn you.