Monday, January 11, 2010

Monkey Brains

The Jakarta Globe
11 January 2010

Take a Bite on the Wild Side

Marcel Thee

[The food stalls lining the main road of Mangga Besar in West Jakarta offer a diverse range of meats, including monkey. All the cooks and vendors there that the reporter questioned said the practice of eating the brains of live monkeys no longer occurs. One food stall owner was quite happy to recount how monkey brains were served "back in the day."]

“The monkeys are strapped into a wooden cage, where their heads pop out of a hole about the size of their neck [so that their heads are secured in position]. The cooks bring them out and either cuts the top part of their head in half, or drills a hole in it, so that the brain is exposed.”

That made my stomach turn, but I bravely continued and asked him how the monkey brain was served.

He said that sometimes the cook would scoop out the brain onto a plate and mix it with strong wine or herbs to hide the smell. But there was also another, even more grotesque, method.

“The cook pours some wine onto the brain, and then you take a straw and suck out the brain juices.”

He eagerly noted that while all of this happened, the monkey retains consciousness as it dies slowly.

It is worth mentioning, however, that this description of serving monkey brains seems very close to the urban legends promulgated by depictions in popular culture, with films such as “Indiana Jones” portraying it on screen. [...]