Eat chinese gorilla
Are Living Monkey Brains a Traditional Cuisine?
The question in the title is different from the question in the text.
The answer to the title question is "yes": it is certainly part of traditional cuisine in some parts of the world, albeit extremely rare or luxurious.
Example: The one spoiled by the Qing emperors Man Han Quan Xi (or the Manchu Han full course) consisted of treats such as: camel hump, bear paw, monkey brain, gorilla lip, elephant trunk, leopard fetus, rhinoceros tail, and deer tendon. These are just the eight treasures from the mountain. There are also several other sets of eight treasures that one must put together before they can be called the full course.
These other treasures also consist of a long list of other very exotic things, most of which are no longer widely eaten by most Chinese. With the exception of Bird's Nest and Shark's Fin (which are completely bizarre things to eat for non-Chinese people, but are still very common).
This 2004 article claims it can still be found in Guangxi.
This other 2004 article, also from TVBS, reports that a monkey was adopted by the Taoyuan County Department of Agriculture after the public saw it shaved and "offered for sale" and bought it out of sympathy and then gave it to the department .
The Taoyuan County Department of Agriculture confirmed for the first time that Taiwanese people eat monkey brains to feed themselves ... The police suspect that there are criminal parties raising monkeys for this purpose, and the police are not closely monitoring these activities just like I want also remind the public that gluttony can lead to becoming an accomplice in the crime.
Here is another bulletin board post with what appears to be a very detailed, if unconfirmed, story about a living monkey brain served at a restaurant in Guangdong.
This Baidu article describes the alleged procedure that is traditionally used (over 100 years ago):
The serving table for the monkey brain must be specially made. A hole is cut in the center through which the monkey's head can come out, tie his limbs together and fix them tightly under the table, only the monkey's head comes out, his head hair has already been shaved before while eating the owner use a hammer to crack the skull and open the skull with a knife, pour out the cerebral fluid. The guests then help themselves with a silver ladle and eat everything.
This 2012 article in English tells us that "China is cracking down on the brains of monkeys and other wildlife delicacies" (although it is not claimed to be living Monkey brains that are being dealt with).
The answer to the question in the text ("Is there really such a somewhat common practice?") Is probably "No": nowhere can it be called "something general". (It is of course possible that I am neglecting some undiscovered tribes in the Amazon or what not, or a distant Chinese village somewhere that enjoys indulging in this traditional cuisine.)
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