Typically, one would be unhappy to find rat in his or her soup. But caldo de rata, or rat soup, has been eaten in the Mexican state of Zacatecas since colonial times, and now a local politician is trying to promote it so it regains its popularity. It's currently eaten mostly by older people who may harbor the belief that it has healing powers, but other than being sold in some cantinas as a hangover cure, it's not often found in restaurants. Guadalupe Flores, a member of the state legislature, is looking to change that, the Guardian reports. She recently hosted a festival on the state legislature's steps celebrating the dish.
As Flores explains, she wants to "demystify the consumption of field rats, a clean animal, which is not related in any way to the species in the sewers." She says she wants to keep the tradition alive, destigmatize rodents as food, and possibly draw culinary tourists. Other than field rat, the soup typically contains corn, zucchini, and other vegetables and is flavored with oregano. Flores insists even skeptics who give in and try it typically end up liking it, explaining that rat meat is similar to rabbit meat but more flavorful. "It has a very high protein content and a very high vitamin content, too," adds a university professor who has studied field rats.