HoT sTuff!

Live Monkey Brains

Posted in asia, culture, lifestyle by Kenji on April 10, 2008

Tomoe, a teacher here, sent me a link…about a certain Chinese tradition of eating live monkey’s brain. Amazed and since the link was in Korean, I decided to search it on the net and found these…


In one forum, it says…

The cooks first force the monkeys in the cage to drink rice wine to make them drunk, then pull them out from the cage and bind their limbs ( to prevent them from awakening), then they chop open their skulls with a sharp knife, and then scoop out the white brains, the blood vessels still pulsing, easily visible. They serve the brain as soon as possible, and dig the brains out when they are still warm, eating them with some seasonings, such as pickled ginger, chili pepper, fried peanuts, cilantro and so on. The gourmet chews and swallows the brains and feels great, while the monkey kicks the bucket still drunk!

The Execution

  • Take one (1) living monkey. The story does not work without the kicking and the screaming and the biting. Just eating monkey brain stew is not particularly interesting or shocking.
  • Strap beneath special table with hole in center. The monkey must be strapped beneath a table with its head poking up through a hole.
  • Bop monkey on the head, scoop and serve. The diners usually deliver the fatal blow themselves with hammers, the skull is sawed off and the brains are scooped out with spoons.

Is It True?

  • Eating live monkey brains as a delicacy is highly unlikely and the canonical tale is almost certainly not true. Key elements are unbelievable and undocumented. This includes that the monkey is live (and conscious), strapped below the table and that the diners excitedly bop the screaming, kicking monkey on the head, while blood squirts all around. Then they presumably wipe off the blood, have a good laugh and enjoy the delicious brains. Yum!
  • Eating live monkey brains as medicine is much more believable, but I’d only put even money on it. This is not the standard version of the tale, but it is a horrific and commonly reported variation. Paying money to have the chef prepare fresh monkey brain sushi is only one step removed from selecting a lobster from a tank and boiling it alive.
  • Eating fresh (but not live) monkey brains as medicine is more likely still , given the large number of reports. Powdered monkey brain in a medicine shop seems quite plausible. Still, there is always room of skepticism.
  • Eating cooked monkey brains is also believable. Monkey brain stew might even taste good.


2 Responses

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  1. Kenji said, on April 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm


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