Indonesian restaurants take bat stew off menu – for now

Local delicacy: Paniki is well-loved among the Manadonese and is often served during special occasions. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

MANADO: In light of the novel coronavirus outbreak, restaurants in Manado, North Sulawesi, have temporarily stopped selling bat dishes. “We haven’t sold (bat dishes) for a week. We are worried because we’ve learned that bats may be carrying the virus, ” Mereyke, who owns a restaurant near Tikala Manado street, said on Tuesday.

Mereyke said bat meat stewed in coconut milk had been one of his best sellers, along with other bat dish variations.

“There are a lot of people who love to eat bat dishes. Most of them come from Minahasa, ” he said.

Paniki (bat stew or curry) is well-loved among the Manadonese.

It is often served at special occasions such as house parties or church events.

“Bat meat indeed tastes delicious. The cooking method and the spices used are no different than other dishes, only we add coconut milk and turmeric to it, ” said Helpy Poluakan, a paniki enthusiast.

Restauranteur Nicolina Pelealu took bat off the menu at all of her restaurants in Manado after learning that it may be carrying the virus.Nicolina, who manages Minahasa’s famous Tanta Ola Restaurant, said she did not want to risk her business by selling paniki.

“Virus issues aside, we are afraid that people will spread rumours to put us down if we’re still selling paniki, ” she said.

“So, I have decided to take it off the menu at my restaurant.

“Although we have temporarily stopped selling bat dishes at the restaurant, I will still cook for personal orders, especially the ones coming from my regulars, ” she added. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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