One the most fascinating things in travel is a menu, it is a glimpse into the soul of a country. It is a peak into it’s culture and its people and the pride they have in their culture and the foods that are a part of it, some of which will surprise, sadden or even anger you but it must be respected. Years ago my sister and I took our mother to Greece for mother’s day. Now for those of you that have been to Greece or are familiar with their culture, lamb is a food tied to their culture.
On one particular day we were in an open air market with foods native to Greece for sale – from fruits and vegetables, seafood and meat and among the animals you could buy was a skinned baby lamb, you would think they were human beings the way my mother reacted ‘how can they do that?’ ‘what is wrong with these people?’ Just protesting on and on and on. ‘It is a very large part of the Greek culture, and by the way you just had a cheeseburger’ I had to remind her.
My favorite food will forever be the New York Sirloin and with a mother from the south I have had ever single body of a hog and pig to the point I’d rather starve than ever have pork again and turkey and chicken were a constant. In my seventeen years of travel many of the other meats here the ten that I loved, once I got passed what the animal was.
- Camel – I can only say WOW!!!!! What a surprise, it tastes like lamb and beef combined and it is delicious, it can compete with the NY Sirloin, actually it can’t but it can surely hold its own, order it at a perfect medium, some white rice, broccoli with a perfect malbec and enjoy.
- Elk – to my surprise this actually had more flavor than my sirloin, it does not taste gamey and like a sirloin or burger you never want to overcook it Elk is also quite healthy as it is low in fat and high in protein. For those of you that do try elk one day pair it with a perfect cabernet you will be a very happy person.
- The Brown Bear – this was an unexpected surprise having ‘winnie-the-pooh’ for dinner but I absolutely loved it, it is a bit gamey but it is a lean meat and can best when it is grilled well threw you can’t go wrong. The one and very big drawback eating under cooked bear meat can cause trichinosis, which can cause severe sickness or even death in humans. Most times it is cooked in a stew but for those that don’t mind their meat medium well of higher enjoy it grilled.
- Ostrich – I am sure many of you that read this may not find ostrich but as a man that grew up eating chicken and turkey for bird it was quite a change for me, and it was a good change, it was in New Zealand when I first tried it and have loved it ever since. It has a bold flavor and a meat high in protein and because I was in New Zealand I paired with a sauvignon blanc and enjoyed every bite.
- Antelope – during my year living in Buenos Aires I owned a jacket made of antelope so if I had no problem wearing it, why not eat it as well. ‘Antelope Meatball Stronganoff’ to be exact it was in a creamy broth with mushrooms, onions and hints of garlic. It had a mild taste too it, similar to venison and finely grained – add a nice syrah and enjoy.
- Wild Boar – what I saw immediately was how much less fat it has than many of the hogs I had and sweeter with darker meat. Marinate and spice it up and it is quite a meal and the best pairing is a beer of your choosing.
- Alligator – another food I never thought I’d try. Now I did enjoy it but it does have a very strong taste similar to rabbit and depending on the part you are eating it can be tough to cut with the choice cut but the best meat is in the the tail which is white and a smooth texture. I think a chardonnay pairs best.
- Quail – another red meat with sweet nutty flavor and a delicate texture. It is tastier than chicken with a stronger bold flavor that will match well with any merlot.
- Moose – who’s up for a moose burger? I am. What another pleasant surprise. Moose is another meat that is similar to beef. It is leaner and tastier, while I didn’t try a steak the burger kept me quite happy and the beer I had with it made it even better.
- Buffalo – after steak buffalo is my favorite meat, the taste, in my opinion can not be matched. A strong bold flavor that will always stand with my NY Sirloin and my an Australian shiraz and I am happy.