An Asian grocery store in Southern California is facing an investigation by the Los Angeles County health department after video surfaced of the store’s selection of frozen raccoon meat.
The store is Metro Supermarket in Temple City, Calif., CBS Los Angeles reports.
Metro Supermarket is located amid never-ending sprawl, next to the House of Mandarin Noodle restaurant and in the same parking lot as a really cool-looking donut and ice cream hut.
What sets Metro Supermarket apart is the fact that it is a fine purveyor of frozen, bagged raccoons at the totally reasonable-sounding price of just $9.99 per pound.
A customer, Christina Dow, spotted the raccoon meat for sale and shot video of it on her cell phone. She uploaded the varmint video onto social media.
Dow also called the county health department, according to CBS Los Angeles.
“The way it’s packaged in the store. It’s so real and it’s so fresh, and you don’t see chickens with their feathers and blood all over them, and their expression, with their tongue hanging out,” she said, according to the station.
Employees at Metro Supermarket told CBS Los Angeles that raccoon meat is considered a Chinese delicacy.
The accuracy of this claim is not clear. In 2013, DNAinfo Chicago discovered that people in Chicago’s Chinatown believe raccoon is a delicacy in China.
Raccoon meat is also available around the nation. Back in 2009, The Kansas City Star told the story of the local raccoon market.
Over at Yelp, several users are apoplectically upset about the frozen raccoon carcasses on offer.
For example, Maria S. from Pomona, Calif. posted a capitalization-filled screed on Wednesday.
“DEAD RACOONS! Yes, FROZEN DEAD RACOONS!” Maria S. ranted (with nary a mention of chickens, cows or whatever is in Spam).
“We live in America, not only has this got to be illegal but it’s disgusting!!” the Yelp user also wrote.
Maria S. also posted what she claims is video of the frozen raccoons.
Another angry user worried that raccoons “are more likely to carry rabies.”
Before the current critter clatter broke out, Yelp users were calling Metro Supermarket “convenient,” “clean” and “pretty cheap.”
“I usually get peanuts, aloe vera, and chicken wings here,” said Kenny N. of El Monte back in 2013.
The county health department told CBS Los Angeles that raccoon meat can be sold locally but it depends on the origin of the critters.
Metro Supermarket has temporarily stopped selling raccoon meat until county officials give an fresh approval.
In the meantime, if you must get your raccoon fix immediately, Exotic Meat Market (about an hour from Temple City) sells whole, dressed raccoons — but at substantially higher prices. (There are also raccoon hot dogs as well as bobcat, lion and iguana.)
Raccoon aficionados say the best way to eat the meat is to brine it and soak it overnight. Boil it for a good two hours. Then smoke the critter or barbecue it to tender perfection.
Some raccoon enthusiasts say the meat tastes like dark-meat chicken — of course. Others compare the taste to a gamey pot roast.