A kangaroo burger with fries, slow cooked wallaby shanks – there’s a very slim chance that you’ll hear that being ordered at most cafés. And that’s because most Australians and New Zealanders still cringe when it comes to eating native meat.
Although early settlers were quick to understand its value from indigenous Australians and New Zealanders, kangaroo and wallaby meat hasn’t enjoyed widespread appeal. Besides the cultural implications, these meats were also considered too lean to have a place on restaurant menus.
But the trend is changing now with many chefs incorporating kangaroo and wallaby meat into their recipes.
There are several reasons for this: kangaroo meat is considered healthier with a low-fat content; is more environmental friendly that cattle or sheep; and has a wonderful gamey taste.
Star butcher Anthony Puharich, the man behind Vic's Quality Meats and Victor Churchill in Sydney says, "I believe we will continue to see a focus and interest in native meats. I know kangaroo has been hopping around as a protein for a while but there's better awareness nowadays regarding the actual importance of eating this particular type of game meat. It's high in iron, lean and bursting with important trace elements."
Are you game for other meats?
Australia also faces an issue of being overrun with feral boar, deer, hare, goats and rabbits. The solution? Experiment with them, create new menus and serve them!
Puharich agrees. "Eating wild meat, in my opinion, is purely an evolution of everyone's palates improving and our drive to continue to search for flavour in our food."
While adding new meats to your tried and tested list of recipes may make you a little uncomfortable, trying something different could infuse some excitement into your menu and even your kitchen. Who knows, gamey meat may just be the new fav in your café!
Read up to make an informed choice: