Bat as food

Paniki prepared with fruit bat meat cooked in spicy rica green chili pepper. An exotic Manado (Minahasan) dish. Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Paniki in yellow soup

Bats are a food source for humans in the Pacific Rim and Asia, where they are sometimes known as chicken of the cave.[1][2] Bats are consumed in various amounts in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Guam, and in other Asian and Pacific Rim countries and cultures.[1][3] In Guam, Mariana fruit bats (Pteropus mariannus) are considered a delicacy,[4][5] and a flying fox bat species was made extinct due to being hunted there.[1] In addition to being hunted as a food source for humans, bats are also hunted for their skins and guano.[1] Hunting techniques include netting and with a shotgun.[1]

The 1999 version of The Oxford Companion to Food states that the flavor of fruit bats is similar to that of chicken, and that they are "clean animals living exclusively on fruit."[1] Bats are prepared in several manners, such as grilled, barbecued, deep fried, cooked in stews and in stir frys.[1] When deep fried, the entire bat may be cooked and consumed.[1] Bats have a low fat content and are high in protein.[1][2]

During cooking, bats may emit strong odors reminiscent of urine. This may be reduced by adding garlic, onion, chili pepper or beer during cooking.[1][2]


Eating fruit bats is linked to a neurological disease called lytico-bodig disease. Paul Alan Cox from the Hawaiian National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kalaheo, and Oliver Sacks from Albert Einstein College in New York, found the bats consumed large quantities of cycad seeds, and – like some eagles, which were shown to build up levels of the pesticide DDT in fat tissue – probably accumulate the toxins to dangerous levels.[6]


Paniki is an exotic dish of Minahasan from North Sulawesi made from fruit bat .[7][8]

Soups, stews and curries using bat meat are prepared.[1] In Palau, bat soup is considered a delicacy.[9] Fruit bats are used in a Palauan soup that includes coconut milk, spices and ginger.[9]


Bat stew is a stew prepared from various types of bats.[1][2] Fruit bats are used in some versions of the dish.[2]

Estufa de morcego is a bat stew delicacy in the cuisine of São Tomé and Príncipe that is served on saints days and during fiestas.[10]

See also

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