Rather than “total prohibition”, [the Tongan word “taboo”’s] original denotation had to do with sacredness and uniqueness.

Many of [Hoi An’s new restaurants] specialized in fish and seafood, but others served expensive animal flesh attributed with virility, strength, and sexual potency, such as he-goat or wild animals. The virility and potency embedded in the flesh of these animals was further exacerbated by the hot, libido-enhancing spices such as chili, lemongrass, ginger, and rau răm. […] these venues were practically brothels.