One pleasure that comes from travel is the opportunity to try all sorts of new things. Whether you’re interested in skydiving, shopping in a bizarre, or trying new foods, traveling often encourages us to test our limits. One aspect of cuisine that is often crucial in any countries’ culture is their meat. In America we are used to our meet coming in pre-packaged, aesthetically pleasing shapes. But in some countries, where meat is more than a means of sustenance, there are often unique national dishes that will definitely encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. So dig in, grab your big-boy knife, and enjoy these interesting meats.
I went into eating pigeon with an open mind. “A small chicken”, I thought. I was incorrect. Pigeon, was in death as it was in life–grimy, greasy, and unsavory. Pigeon soup, as it’s served in Morocco, is essentially a pigeon carcass floating in a bath of broth. Although the soup was not to my liking, other meat-eaters at my table were blown away. The pigeon was well prepared and the broth was tasty. I just couldn’t get over the idea that the might have plucked the bird from the medina steps outside.
Camel meat, especially the hump, is considered a delicacy in many desert nations. Traditionally roasted whole (imagine the size of that spit!), camels are now renowned for their tasty rack of ribs and loin. Weighing up to 1,400 pounds, camels provide a bounty. While the meat has become more commonplace, being transformed into burgers and BBQ delicacies, camels blood and milk, often still consumed in certain nomadic tribes, offers an even more extreme gastronomic experience.
For those of you with pet Guinea Pigs, please skip this section. Guinea Pigs, or Coy were bred for centuries in South America as food products before they made their cuddly way into the heart of Americans (see G-Force). Guinea Pigs reproduce much faster than traditional livestock and take up less room, making them an ideal and sustainable form of meat. Guinea’s are a crucial aspect of South American culture and are often used in religious ceremonies as well as in traditional meals. Just be warned, the Guinea Pig will look like a Guinea Pig when it’s on your plate.
It wouldn’t be European if it wasn’t a catch-all meat pouch stuffed with more meat. When it comes to combining innards and serving it in other innards, the Scots have it covered. Haggis, the traditional meat of Scotland, contains the sheep’s pluck (lungs, liver, and heart) as well as a few other odds and ends. It is then all stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and simmered for several hours. It is traditionally served with neeps and tatties (I’ll let you figure out what those mean) and. of course, a good glass of Scotch.
Often referred to as the squirrels of Australia, the Kangaroo has transformed from cuddly marsupial to overpopulating menace. Kangaroo was a source of sustenance way before English settlers came to Australia and today it offers locals and tourists a tastier and healthier alternative to beef. With nearly 2% fat and antidiabetic properties, there is more than one reason to try a Kangaroo burger.
Say what you will about the mysterious origins of Spam, if you don’t think about it, and close your eyes, it’s delicious! Since the rationing days of WWII Spam has become a staple in Hawaiian diets. Whether you serve it with a heaping bowl of fried rice or eat it raw on sushi, Spam, although pink and gelatinous, is a salty and tasty treat.