A panel from Les Séductions du Palais, with a recipe from the Shang dynasty (1570 to 1045 B.C.) for bear paw states that the ”the bear paw cannot be eaten immediately after it is cut off. It is necessary to let it go rancid for one or two years before cooking.”
Here’s a sample recipe:
“1 bear paw, 2 ounces of honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, 20 ounces of chicken broth, 1/3 ounce of ginger and 7 ounces of grain alcohol.
The paw was to be peeled and cleaned, coated in a thick layer of honey, cooked in a pot at low heat for an hour, rinsed, then simmered for three hours in a pot with the chicken broth and seasonings on the embers of a fire.
“Today, bear parts are in high demand at black markets throughout Asia. The prized organs and extremities have reportedly been used in medicine to cure anything from sexual impotency to a fever. On the dining table, bear paws are used in soup and have even been known to get turned into ash trays.”
Heartbreaking black markets of Asia | The Week