Bat meat is still popular in some parts of Indonesia, despite research suggesting the deadly virus might have originated from bats before passing on to humans. Meanwhile, the virus has killed over 1,000 people and infected over 43,000 people in China, international media reported.
Bats are traditionally eaten by the Minahasan people from the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi in the form of a curry-like dish called Paniki. Whole bats are used in the curry including the head and wings, international media reported. Coronavirus has not affected sales, said bat seller Stenly Timbuleng at his stall in Tomohon, a city in North Sulawesi, south of the provincial capital of Manado. He added that the bat meat is always sold out.
On an average day, Timbuleng sells 50-60 bats and during festive periods, he can sell up to 600. Bats are the favourite indigenous protein, particularly in North Sulawesi, Indonesian culinary expert and author of multiple cookbooks, William W. Wongso, told international media. He added that his favourite part is the wings.
Glands from the armpits and the neck of the bat are first removed, it is then grilled or torched to get rid of the bat's hair before being chopped and cooked in a stew of herbs, spices and coconut milk, international media reported. The coronavirus is believed to have originated in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health experts think it may have originated in bats and then passed on to humans, possibly via another species,
According to the latest reports, the coronavirus outbreak has claimed more than 1,000 lives and over 42,000 new cases have been confirmed in the country as of February 10. The country recorded its highest number of deaths in a single day since the outbreak as it reported 108 deaths on Monday.