Day and night, the ducks arrive at the small farm next door, in bags and baskets on mopeds. They are shy and confused when they first walk into the farm, but soon get comfortable mingling with the dogs and quacking with the rest.

Sometimes there are more than one hundred ducks. Then slowly the number reduces, as they are delivered to the market as fresh meat and blood. I have not seen the slaughtering process which usually begins around 3am – apart from on those days prohibited according to the lunar calendar and Buddhist traditions – but according to a friend it is quick with the veins of the neck.

U Cafe does not serve ducks on the menu, and our guests can only enjoy the chorus of quacks drifting through the bamboo leaves at this point. We may come across a tasty local recipe and create a new dish, but until that day, the ducks should have no worries when I look down from the cafe window.

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