Ye wei or yewei (from Pinyin yěwèi) is a form of bush meat or game including exotic animals and wild animals in Chinese cuisine.[1] It is also popular in countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand. Yewei is often sold at Chinese wet markets, and is becoming part of the restaurant culture in China.

Ye wei
Je mei mainlandcuisine.jpg
Ye wei in Hunan
Literal meaningwild taste


Historically members of the imperial courts in the dynastic eras have requested grand animals for their meals. Famous examples include the Manchu Han Imperial Feast. Though today it can be eaten by anyone with access to the wild animals (which can be imported).


The word 野 basically means "wild". As it is the shortened form of (野獸), which means "wild beasts".


There is likely no set cooking methods as different regions may have different names for the dishes. Animals can include badgers,[2] bats,[3] beavers,[4] camel,[5][6] chickens,[3] civets,[7] crab,[8] crocodiles,[5] dogs,[7] donkeys,[2] fish,[9] foxes,[5] giant salamanders,[5] hedgehog,[10] "koalas",[11][12][a] marmots,[3] ostrich,[13] otters,[7]pangolins,[14] peacocks,[5] pheasants,[15] pigs,[2] porcupines,[5] rabbit and rabbit organs,[16] rats,[5] sheep,[2] shrimp,[8] spotted deer,[16] striped bass,[8] turtles,[8] venomous snakes, (including bungarus multicinctus)[17] wolf pups,[5] and more. The animals can be sourced from all over the world.[18]


The consumption of wildlife is not a universally accepted practice in China. In a 2014 survey of several cities in China, 52.7% of respondents agreed with the statement that wildlife should not be consumed.[19]

In certain parts of China, locals boast about eating 'bush meat' and about the variety of animals they've eaten.[14][20]


  1. ^ In the circulated price list, the item described as "koala" is "树熊" (literally: 'tree bear'), which may instead refer to a kind of beaver.[11] Koalas are not found in China except in captivity.


  1. ^ Shah, Sonia (1998). Pandemic. New York, New York. pp. 17–18.
  2. ^ a b c d Haitao Guo; Guangxiang "George" Luo; Shou-Jiang Gao (22 January 2020). "Snakes Could Be the Original Source of the New Coronavirus Outbreak in China". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Schnirring, Lisa (8 January 2020). "Virologists weigh in on novel coronavirus in China's outbreak". CIDRAP. Archived from the original on 8 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  4. ^ Campbell, Charlie (24 January 2020). "The West Blames the Wuhan Coronavirus on China's Love of Eating Wild Animals". Time. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "On the menu at Wuhan virus market: Rats and live wolf pups". CNA. 22 January 2020. Archived from the original on 22 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Wuhan pneumonia: how the search for the source of the mystery illness unfolded". South China Morning Post. 22 January 2020. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  7. ^ a b c Perper, Rosie. "China banned live animal sales in Wuhan, after a food market selling wolves and civet cats was linked to a deadly virus". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d South China Morning Post (23 January 2020). Why wild animals are a key ingredient in China's coronavirus outbreak. Bangkok Post Public
  9. ^ "The West Blames the Wuhan Coronavirus on China's Love of Eating Wild Animals. The Truth Is More Complex". Time. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Here's What It's Like in Wuhan, the City at the Center of Coronavirus". Time. 2020-01-22. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  11. ^ a b "Wuhan virus: a visual explainer". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 2020-01-29. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  12. ^ 网传武汉华南市场“大众畜牧野味”所涉摊位已闭店. The Beijing News (in Chinese). 2020-01-21. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  13. ^ Page, Jeremy (27 January 2020). "Virus Sparks Soul-Searching Over China's Wild Animal Trade". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Pangolin and porcupines on sale in Chinese market despite jail threat". The Guardian. 2014. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" 华南海鲜批发市场西区有十几家贩卖野味的商户. (in Chinese). 2020-01-22. Archived from the original on 2020-01-22. Retrieved 2020-01-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b Shih, Gerry; Sun, Lena H. (8 January 2020). "Specter of possible new virus emerging from central China raises alarms across Asia". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 23 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  17. ^ Guo, Haitao; Gao, Shou-Jiang; Conversation, The (2020-01-23). "Snakes could be the source of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak". CNN. Archived from the original on 2020-01-25. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  18. ^ "Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market".
  19. ^ Zhang, Li; Yin, Feng (6 May 2014). "Wildlife consumption and conservation awareness in China: a long way to go". Biodiversity and Conservation. 23: 2371–2381.
  20. ^ "Asia's appetite for endangered species is relentless". The Guardian. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2020-02-14.