Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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monkey has long been considered meat for humans. Sophie Coe (1994) records that two species (Ateles geoffroyi, the spider monkey, and Alouatta villosa, the howler monkey) were highly popular among the Lacandon of C. America, who ate them roasted; this in a situation where flesh foods were relatively scarce. Similar examples could be drawn from SE Asia. See under bushmeat for other aspects.

Another dimension is the allegation that in recent times some Chinese have eaten monkeys’ brains as a delicacy, scooping them directly from the head of the living animal. The victim’s head was usually described as projecting upwards through the central hole (designed to take a steamboat) in the centre of a Chinese dining table.