Eating My Way Through Africa’s Game

Meat. Man’s real best friend. Something I’ve likely eaten way too much of after moving to South Africa. I’ve counted and in the last 15 months living in SA, I’ve eaten at least 60 chickens JUST at Nandos. Throw in my bi-weekly visit to steakhouses where I maul throw half kilo steaks, and I’ve done some serious work here. South Africa is the place for meat lovers that want delicious meat at cheap prices (~15$ for a 400g steak). But there’s so much more than just chicken, pork, and beef in this part of the world. Game meats. All those different animals I’ve seen from a safari vehicle can be consumed too, and I’ve done just that, consuming my through as much of Africa’s game as possible.

I’m of the “I’ll try anything once” approach to food. If I don’t like it, I won’t eat it again but how will I ever know without at least giving it a chance? That’s preciously the attitude to have in South Africa as a diet of beef, chicken, and pork, can quickly be supplemented by ostrich, kudu, and springbok! Hell, if someone put a medium rare lion steak in front of me, I wouldn’t think twice about all the times I watched The Lion King as a kid and would chow down immediately.

Most of the game I’ve eaten is not only delicious but incredibly leaner and healthier than beef. Yes, at times it has been strange going on a safari in Namibia or the Serengeti, and eating what I saw immediately after. Nevertheless, anyone traveling through South Africa () should sample some of the local fare.

Where to eat game meat?

Overall, after traveling to many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, I would say that South Africa and Namibia are the best places to find and eat game meats. I ate plenty of game meats on my travels through South Africa.

The locals love their game meat so game meat is easily found at restaurants all around South Africa and in grocery stores. That’s not to say South Africans are out spear hunting their food, game is not eaten every day as people here stick to the usual beef, chicken, pork, lamb. For the more adventurous, there are numerous places in South Africa where one can hunt for game (for a fee), and naturally eat them afterwards.

The Bushman’s sosatie consisting of Zebra, Oryx, Kudu, and Ostrich at Joe’s Bierhouse in Windhoek, Namibia.

The Carnivore restaurant in Johannesburg and Nairobi is the best spot to sample as much game as possible. With a Brazilian churrascarria style buffet, one can eat as many Pumbaas as they can handle. I’ve been here three times now and I’ve chowed on Impala, Kudu, Crocodile, Giraffe, Zebra, springbok, and many more. For the more adventurous types, there are many private game reserves where hunting is allowed (and naturally, eating them afterwards).

The menu at Carnivore in Joburg (game meats subject to change every day)

So without further ado, I present to you all the types of animals I’ve consumed. Don’t worry, there are no endangered animals on this list (that I know of) so I have not tried any rhino meat yet. This will really test my repertoire of synonyms for describing food. For the most part, all wild game meats are lean (much leaner than beef) and while they do have their unique tastes, a lot of it depends on how good the cook is preparing the meat.

The grill at the Carnivore cooking up all sorts of game meats.

For all the vegetarians reading this, you’ve already ready this far so clearly you’re interested in what these meats are all about!

The Game Meats Contenders

Ostrich


Starting with something simple, Ostrich is readily available in Africa, as well as back home in the US. It’s also the leanest alternative to Beef and tastes amazing (with minimal gaminess). I’ve had this meat countless times in SA. It also costs nothing more than a beef steak but you know you’re eating a much healthier meal.

Ostrich is readily available at the restaurants in South Africa but Oudtshoorn is likely where all Ostrich connoisseurs should go as this town has the largest ostrich farms in the world which of course means delicious ostrich steaks all day.

Blesbok


I had not a clue what this animal was but when I went to a Hazel’s restaurant near the Addo Elephant Park that specialized in game meats, and this was a special for the night. It’s a pretty commonly known animal to the South Africans but I had never heard of it before. So I did what any person would do in this situation and proceeded to google image the animal. I looked through some pictures, and told the waiter, “ya what the hell let’s eat it”

Wildebeest


After watching the migration in Kenya,it’s clear there there are absolutely no shortages of these animals so eat away I will. The meat is tender and extremely flavorful. It has that faint gamey taste to it, just enough to let me know it was there but not enough to put me off. Prepared right, Wildebeest reminds me of Kudu a bit and it’s no wonder the lions’ favorite time of year is August/September when these guys are in full migration mode with hundreds of thousands of them migrating from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.

Kudu


Readily available at most restaurants, this is one of the most popular game meats in the country. This is one of my favorites as it is amazingly tender, juicy, and just the right amount of gameyness. Good biltong can be made out of this meat as well.

Giraffe


Giraffe meat is not commonly found as it is a bit controversial. I wasn’t a huge fan of the meat as it reminded me more of horse meat. It was chewy, and tough but it packed a unique flavor to it. It is more tender than zebra and if I had to pick between the two, it would be giraffe. It was more of a novelty item, check it off the list type of thing and that is exactly what I did.

Crocodile


The “tastes like chicken” saying legitimately applies to crocodile. Croc is a white meat and somewhere in between chicken and pork. There’s not much flavor in croc meat but it goes damn good with peri sauce (what doesn’t?). Also this meat must be eaten fresh otherwise it dries up quickly and loses all its texture and taste. Probably why I’ve never seen any crocodile biltong.

Impala


Another antelope that is incredibly tender and juicy. They have it frequently at the Carnivore. I found impala to be more tough than the similar springbok however. Like most of the game meats I’ve had, medium rare is the way to go.

Springbok


Springbok is the national animal of South Africa, and the mascot for all the national sports teams. It is also an incredibly decadent. It’s easily found throughout the country at restaurants and restaurants. It tastes somewhere between veal and beef but like all the other game meats, is a much leaner alternative to beef.

Oryx/Gemsbok


Oryx, also known as Gemsbok in South Africa is commonly found roaming the dunes and plains of Namibia. On my trip to Namibia, I ate this meat numerous times and it’s one of my favorites. The meat tastes quite similar to beef but obviously leaner and just as juicy and succulent. It has less of a “wild” test to it than say kudu. The best place to eat this I found was in Namibia, where Oryx are more commonly found.

Warthog


I’m a big fan of anything pork and warthog is like the tastier cousin of pork. The meat is tender and juicy like pork but leaner and with a side of beef kick if that makes any sense. Warthog ribs are to die and they pack more flavor than their docile cousins. Lot of restaurants will list warthog as “pumbaa” which makes you think twice about eating it but hell, they could name it rack of human and I’d still chow it. The best restaurant to eat this is Boma in Victoria Falls, ZImbabwe.


Not a big fan of this one. Zebras are horses and taste like horses; the meat is extremely red, tough, gamey, and chewy making this my least favorite. Nevertheless, it is still cool to say I’ve eaten one of these black/white striped creatures.

Cape Buffalo


Weighing up to 2000 pounds, this is likely the only one of the big 5 that can be eaten easily. Lions and Leopards are predators so those are a bit too exotic for most. Rhinos are extremely endangered. Elephants are abundant and a bull elephant could probably feed an entire village for a year so I’m not sure why elephant isn’t consumed more. Nevertheless, cape buffalo meat is not easily found but it tastes nearly identical to North American bison meat.

Guinea Fowl


Perhaps not the most exotic of game meats, Guinea fowl are flightless birds that you’ll find all over South Africa just roaming the streets on a regular basis. I always wondered if people just hunted them off the streets or farmed them but there are MANY of them to go around. Regardless, you can find their meats in the grocery stores and commonly at restaurants. It is a white meat similar to chicken but has a gamey taste to it like pheasant. Overall, I find the taste to be quite delicious and from a health perspective, it has 50% less fat than chicken (which is already quite lean).

Continue Reading:
  • Man vs Food Joburg, Part 1
  • Eating Kobe Beef In Kobe: A Life Changing Experience
  • Is Nandos in South Africa Healthy?
  • Hlane National Park, Swaziland
  • South Africa – 5 Reasons You Need To Make It Your Next Holiday Spot
  • Best Hikes in Southern Africa
  • Guide To Lima’s Restaurant Scene And Where To Eat
  • Awesome Safari Parks in Botswana
  • Garden Route Road Trip Itinerary Part 1: Intro and Addo Elephant Park
  • A Tale Of Two Cities Part 2 – Pretoria
  • Garden Route Roadtrip Part 3: Oudtshoorn to Hermanus
  • The Perfect One Week, Two Week, and Three Week Travel Itinerary For South Africa

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What 11 Popular Zoo Animals Taste Like (According to People Who Tried Them)

Have you ever visited the local zoo and found yourself wondering how a juicy hunk of boiled penguin breast might taste? Just about every creature under the sun has been sautéed, deep-fried, and/or sprinkled over a pizza at some point in human history.

(DISCLAIMER: A few of the species on this list are either threatened or endangered. In addition to being ethically dubious, their consumption is illegal in many countries. This article is designed to help satisfy your curiosity and not stoke your appetite.)

1. Elephant

Elephant feet: part of a complete breakfast! While exploring Mozambique in 1864, Scottish missionary David Livingstone was served this pedal delicacy, cooked in the “native fashion,” one morning. Finding it delicious, the traveler wrote, “It is a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous, and sweet like marrow.” Best of all, the meal came with a healthy side of beer.

2. Giraffe

“Properly prepared, and cooked rare,” pens celebrity chef Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, “giraffe’s meat steak can be better than steak or venison. The meat has a natural sweetness that may not be to everybody’s taste, but is certainly to mine when grilled over an open fire.”

3. Penguin

A particularly unflattering description of penguin meat composed by a Belgian seaman in 1898 suggests that it won’t be replacing chicken anytime soon: “If it’s possible to imagine a piece of beef, odiferous cod fish, and a canvas-backed duck roasted together in a pot, with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce, the illustration would be complete.”

4. Galapagos Tortoise

These hardy reptiles were a dietary staple to traveling sailors throughout the 19th century. Though many compared the delicacy to fine veal, a young Charles Darwin was decidedly less enthusiastic. “ breastplate roasted … is very good,” his journal grants, “and the young tortoises make excellent soup, but otherwise the meat to my taste is indifferent.”

5. Lion

Apparently, the king of the beasts makes for one tasty taco. A Tampa Bay restaurant began selling these $35 entrees last year before removing them from the menu a few months later. ” surprisingly tasty,” said one customer of this exotic grub. “The taste is kind like venison, and the texture is kind of like gator.”

6. Python

Looking to capitalize on Florida’s decades-long Burmese python invasion, Evan’s Neighborhood Pizza of Fort Myers now offers “Everglades Pizza” topped with slivers of these 20-foot snakes. “It tastes like chicken but chewier,” said one customer.

7. Camel

It’s the perfect treat for hump day! Eating camel is a fairly common practice in much of the world, especially the Middle East. Chef Anissa Halou claims it reminds him of “a cross between beef and lamb.” Camel steaks are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to conventional red meat in much of Europe and even parts of the U.S.

8. Gorilla

Gorillas are widely hunted down and devoured in parts of Africa, and the simians’ flesh is routinely sold at nearby markets as “bush meat.” Flavor-wise, many have cited their cuts as rich, smoky, and veal-like. Speaking of primates, if you’d like to find out what humans taste like without wandering into Hannibal Lecter territory, Vsauce recently posted an excellent video on the subject.

9. Hippopotamus

In the words of author and hunter Peter Hathaway Capstick, “It is my personal opinion that hippo meat is one of the finest of game foods … The taste is mild, less than lamb and more than beef, slightly more marbled than usual venison. It tastes exactly like, well, hippo.”

10. Peacock

If you’re searching for an exotic alternative to traditional Thanksgiving fare, look no further. The eponymous host of the popular YouTube series “Dave’s Exotic Foods” stated in a special holiday episode that brined peacock sports a light and very turkey-like flavor. However, if certain medieval critics are to be believed, stocking up on some gas-ex first might be a necessary precaution.

11. Sloth

“It was really, really tough and there really wasn’t much meat,” says American composer Aaron Paul Low, who helped catch and eat an unfortunate sloth on a trip to Peru in 2012. Tired of subsisting on nothing but indigenous fruits, Low claims his party “begrudgingly ate such natural wonders as armadillo, turtle, crocodile, toucan,” and many others. Sloth meat, he says, isn’t for the weak-stomached. “ one of the few absolutely disgusting animals we ate.” These adorable tree-climbers are illegal to hunt, but a few luckless specimens still get munched on every year.

BONUS: Panda

Archaeological evidence suggests that prehistoric humans once hunted giant pandas with spears some 10,000 years ago. Since then, the practice has fallen out of favor and no record detailing their flavor is known to exist. However, in 1928, Teddy Roosevelt’s sons Kermit and Theodore IV hunted and ate one while visiting China, but neglected to document its taste.

All images courtesy of ThinkStock

Meet The Man Who Raises And Sells Exotic Animal Meat, From Alpaca To Zebra

Anshu Pathak owns Exotic Meat Market in Perris, California, which sells a roster of exotic meats that reads more like a zoo tenant list than a menu: there’s alligator, alpaca, antelope, armadillo, bear, beaver, bison, bobcat, coyote, camel, suck, emu, elk, reindeer, rattlesnake, and raccoon meat on offer at his store, as well as more than 100 different types of sausages made with more exotic meat blends.

The self-proclaimed meat enthusiast boasts that he carries everything from “A to Zebra” in his shop. Taking his passion a step further, he uses his nearby 13-acre farm to raise his own animals for food. Pathak also imports exotic meats from all over the world to his adventurous costumers. For example, his lion steaks come from farms in the Midwest (he said in 2011 that until he started selling meat, lions were being slaughtered only for their fur) and many of his various cuts of exotic meats are from a farm in Vietnam. Pathak’s is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, a restaurant in Arizona drummed up excitement by advertising they would be selling lion meat tacos. The taco eatery was thrust into national spotlight with the unconventional offering and claimed that they were buying Pathak’s lion meat for the tacos—a claim that Pathak vehemently denies.

Each time lion meat pops up at an eatery, some are outraged at the thought of eating a zoo animal, others worry about whether it could increase demand for wild lion populations and foodies get excited. Gimmick aside, the sale and consumption of captive-raised lion meat is totally legal in the United States. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, game meat, such as lion, can be sold as long as the animal from which it is derived is not on the endangered species list. Some conservationists would like to see lion there, and one Illinois politician even tried to ban lion from menus. Foodies who are interested in the meat find it won’t come cheap: a lion porterhouse steak will set you back $299 right now.

Pathak’s shop is subject to a lot of scrutiny from animal lovers, vegetarians, and skittish eaters alike. He invited LAist to tour his farm to sample some of his exotic meats. He handed us plates of mystery meats without any names so we would have no preconceived judgement about the taste of beaver, lion, yak, beaver, bison, water buffalo, llama and iguana meats. Anshu says that the meats all taste unique, but we couldn’t help compare the exotic animal flavors to more familiar meats. And no, they didn’t all taste like chicken. Lion meat was the best tasting of the bunch. The meat was a bit tough with a mild taste—like a cross between beef and chicken. The second best tasting meat was the beaver, which was fatty with a mild taste—almost like a pot roast. Yak meat was very tender and tasted like beef with lots of fat. Llama meat was sweet and tasted like a cross between lamb and beef. Bison meat is very lean, making it very easy to overcook; the meat itself tasted like a lighter version of ground beef. Iguana meat tasted like a light chicken meat; bison meat tasted like a sweet beef; and water buffalo was tender and very beefy. After the tasting, we spoke with Pathak about how he got into this unusual business.

LAist: Where did your love and obsession with exotic meats begin?

I was born in India where I basically ate everything around. When I was a kid, I would shoot a dove and eat it on the spot. I was born wild, raised wild, and raised to eat raw. I can go with my fingers and take out what to eat from the carcass. I don’t need a knife. I know which parts to take out.

How did you get into the business?

I started selling beef in the 1980s in America. I started with very low-end meat and eventually learned about the different cuts of meat and the aging process. Now, my business has expanded nationwide. I have clients from all over the world that buy my exotic meats. I deliver everything from exotic sausages to zebra.

Tell us about how your process differs from others in the meat packing and selling industry.

The meat business is an interesting business. Once an animal is skinned you don’t know what meat it is. I always have problems with slaughterhouses and processing plants. When you go to the plant, if you are not here, they can put pork fat to add weight or water. My animals are slaughtered at the same slaughterhouses cattle are slaughtered at. The closest one to me is in Fontana.

I’ve caught people many times, so now I physically stand there as they do it. When I kill a reindeer, I take a live picture when we harvest the animals at the USDA plant with the inspector next to it so people know the meat is the same one and upload it to our Facebook page so that there’s no doubt. I make sure my buyers know exactly what they are getting. I am there throughout the whole process to make sure everything goes according to plan.

Tell me about your farm.

I love my animals. I have llamas, alpacas, ostriches, emus, wild turkeys, lambs, goats, peacocks, to name a few. I raise them myself for food. I do tours once a week to show people my farm and the love I have for my animals. I cook for my visitors and have them try meats they would never dream of trying in hopes of having them become more open minded to exotic meats. Have you ever had fresh goat milk from the teats of a goat? I do that on my farm. It’s the best, richest milk you’ll try. It’s all about the circle of life and embracing the animals.

Like many farmers, you love your animals yet you slaughter them for food. Can you elaborate on this?

I’ve learned to detach myself from all that. I’m able to control my feelings. A pet is a pet. It’s not to say that I don’t love my animals because I most certainly do, but I know their fate from day one. It’s hard. I know every single one of my animals, their name, their habits.

Who are your clients?

Everyone is my clientele. People love to show off what they are eating. I can tell right away on their face if they are truly enjoying my meat. I have clients from Venezuela and all over the world that fly to me via private jets just to pick up exotic meats and go home.

Do you find that your international clients are more open-minded towards different types of exotic meats?

I do think that my international clients are changing the way that Americans are eating. People from the Middle East, Asia, all migrate to California. We are a melting pot of cultures and that openness trickles down to eating and purchasing exotic meats.

Do you think the American palate is becoming more open minded to exotic meats?

In the last few years, there’s been a lot more offal, gamey meats popping up on menus so that has lead to a spike in adventurous eaters. TV has also helped to normalize these meats. Americans are flying internationally and becoming more open-minded.

What exotic meat would you recommend to a first timer to try?

I think it’s best to start with alpaca. My alpacas are grass-fed and the meat tastes almost sweet. Alpaca meat is not only rich in proteins, but also low in fat, and has the lowest level of cholesterol of any meat. Or maybe a llama… From there, you could work your way through the camel family.

Have you ever been threatened by animal activists?

I get emails, phone calls, and nasty messages online everyday. Of course, I’ve been doing this for quite some time. I’ve had police and helicopters that show up at my business because they said I am doing something illegal. After they search everything, they see that everything I do is legal and by the books, so that no longer happens. I have all the necessary federal and import permits. I get threats all the time, but I’ve learned to ignore them. I am more than happy to talk and educate others on exotic meats. I give tours of my farm so people will be more open-minded and want to learn more.

What types of meat have you not tried yet and would like to? Are there any meats you feel are off limits?

I’d love to try tiger, rhino, whale, or horse. I don’t feel as though any meats are off limits. It’s the circle of life.

Any future plans for your business?

I have plans to open my own meat processing plant in San Bernardino in the next couple of months. I would also love to open an exotic meats restaurant in the future.

What do you have to say to people who vehemently disagree with your lifestyle and hobby of eating exotic meats?

All the meats I sell are 100% legal. I realize that everyone is not like me. We don’t think the same. We have different philosophies, but I respect them. I’d say come to my farm and keep an open mind. I love, respect, and honor my animals. I want everyone to come to my farm and learn more. I love talking to people and educating them. I’m not here to convince people that my way is the better way. I just want to show that there’s another way of eating out there.

You can check out all the varieties of exotic meats that Pathak sells at his website. He also answers any questions personally on his Facebook page here.

ButtercupPunch – “La clique, c’est chic!”

My lips, this cricket

This is a post designed exactly so that people can weigh in on the most exotic foodstuff they’ve consumed. It’s going to fall heavily on the side of carnivores, for which I apologize in advance, but if you have tasted fresh rowan from the Himalayas, by all means, speak up.

I’ve dined twice at this restaurant in London, Archipelago, which specializes in exotic cuisine. The first time I went, I was too embarrassed to take photographs of our meal, because this is desperately uncool. The second time I had no such compunction and snapped away, as I was truly regretful I had not documented the first time I ate crickets.

While by no means cheap, it is reasonably priced for the quality and rarity on offer, and a great place to bring out-of-towners looking for a bit of a treat. My first visit, I had the ostrich starter (ostrich is always amazing – thready and flavorful) and the zebra steak.

The zebra steak was a bit of a letdown, not because it wasn’t very tasty, but for three specific reasons:

a) If you had told me I was having a nice slab of beef, I would not have known the difference.

b) Embarrassingly, I realized how disappointed I was when they served me, because I somehow thought it would be striped. I know. This was not an expectation I was conscious of until it was sitting on a plate before me, and I was thinking, where are the stripes?

c) I feel a bit shit about eating zebra. There’s really no logical reason to feel worse about eating it than any other kind of meat (save shark or whale), but in my Westernized mind, zebras belong on the nature channel, running freeeeee. Not on my plate. I’m sorry, Zebras! I will never feast on you again, except in the event of the coming Zombiepocalypse if I am desperate for food, in your native land, and can manage to catch one of you. And if you, in turn, become man-eaters, then it will only be justice if you trample me beneath your hooves and grill up some chewy Tailfeather flank. Carry on.

So, on our second visit, here are the delicious details of our consumption:

Japanese unagi with horseradish cream and black vinegar pearls

Unagi is freshwater eel, and it is delicate, yet meaty. The pearls were unusual, only in that I expected them to pop like roe, but because they are manmade, the consistency is very soft. The horeradish cream was terrific.

Crocodile fillet seared in vine leaves with a plum dipping sauce

Croc has a chewier texture than alligator (which I have commonly had fried in the southern US, and truly does taste like chicken). We were all a bit wary of this dish, as most people don’t like dolma, but it turns out grape leaves themselves are fairly innocuous. That said, we preferred to unwind the grape leaves and dip the white meat underneath into the sauce.

Zhug marinated kangaroo fillet with water spinach and choi

For my money, this is the best dish in the house. The kangaroo is well-marinated and the meat itself takes on flavor well. It is also very tender, succulent, and one of the few dishes I’ve had that can’t be easily compared to a more common meat.

Rich gnu & shitake mushroom stroganoff with roasted root vegetables

The gnu, or wildebeest, was also very tender, in contrast to the zebra. While the quality of the meat was generally excellent, there were several fatty bits. My feeling was that is suffered a bit in the stronganoff recipe, which, while tasty, was a bit mundane. I thought the meat itself could have been better capitalized on, rather than drowned in a sauce.

Pan-fried locusts & crickets in chilli & garlic

As a side, we had the Love Bug Salad. The sprinklings of bugs are not hugely generous, but we managed about one cricket and one locust per person in a party of four. The taste is surprisingly good, very smoky and crisp. The crickets are better, but if I were at a ballgame and was offered a bag of Doritos versus a mixed bag of crickets and locusts, I would actually choose the latter. They were crunchy and pleasant, and the salad beneath had a nicely tangy dressing.

The dessert menus are pasted into old, leatherbound books.

I love the atmosphere in Archipelago just as much as the food. It is a deep-jewel color with paintings, sculptures, and artwork from Africa to to Southeastern Asia, cluttered together like the home of an eccentric, traveled, yet tasteful aunt. The ultimate feel is one of cozy and intimate exoticism, perfectly suiting to the offering.

Dessert: Chocolate-covered scorpion

There are a number of neutral and creamy desserts available, but I went for the scorpion, which was much smaller than I expected. In was, nonethess, perfectly preserved in chocolate, and I was rightly warned to chew the tail very slowly. Nonetheless, the stinger, however tiny, hooked my tongue when I was not careful, and I had to mentally applaud the wee scorpion for its tenacity. Whilst mostly chocolate-flavored, I crunched down on its middle bits in a much meatier way that I had with the crickets, and while not oozy, I had a much more visceral sense of innards. Visit from the Doctor”. A medicine chest of 12 digestive potions that will set you off homewards with a spring in your step. The doctor’s concoctions include vodka and vanilla, chocolate liqueur with cherries, sambuca and liquorice, schnapps with 24 carat gold flakes and many more. All served by a gorgeous “doctor” able to cure most ailments.

The final dessert was a “Visit From the Doctor,” as advertised above. There were a number of intoxicating mixes on display, including a jalapeno gin that looked beautiful. In the face of all these intriguing combinations, however, there stood the last:

That is a bottle of Absinthe in which coils a preserved snake

Sold. It was insanely strong – I’ve drunk a reasonable amount of Absinthe in my time, and this was the most challenging – but it did its job. And ultimately, it becomes a terrific story.

Why you should try zebra steak on a stone

After covering kangaroo last week, I thought it might be useful to highlight another exotic meat you can have on a stone, zebra. While steak is still the king of meat, exotic meats are becoming more readily available and more importantly, sustainable. Zebra steaks are just one more example of this.

Zebra are not an endangered species. They are not cute or cuddly and are not hunted for horn or anything else. They are plentiful, they are healthy and they are rapidly becoming one of the ‘in’ meats to try. I do dislike that term but more people than ever are trying exotic meats and loving them.

Zebra steak on a stone

Zebra steak is one of the leanest meats you can buy. With an average 0.5g of fat per 100g, there are few meats that can compete with that. Add high levels of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids and you have the holy grail of nutrition right there. Red meat full of protein and the extras that help use that protein in your body.

A 100g slide of zebra steak will include 175 calories, 0.5g saturated fat, 28g protein and 68mg cholesterol.

But what does it taste like?

It tastes a little sweet and a little gamey. It is difficult to describe while doing it justice. Think of a light steak with a very subtle sweetness and some of the richness of game and you won’t be far wrong.

Usually, lean meat can be hard work to cook and eat. Zebra lends itself perfectly to being cooked on a stone. The best way to eat it is in thin strips cooked over a hot stone so it becomes easily digestible. If there was ever an exotic meat designed for The Stone Grill, zebra is it!

Sustainable meat source

The future could be vegetarian or vegan if you want it to be but it can also include meat. All zebra that hits the food chain is sustainably farmed from the Burchell breed from South Africa. As long as you use a quality butcher, this is an excellent meat to try and has little environmental impact, just like kangaroo.

Zebras are vegetarian and are reared on grass. They spend around two thirds of their life grazing which is reflected in the meat. If you can consume healthy meat that has a low environmental impact when acquired from sustainable sources, there is no need to give up meat altogether.

Why not try zebra steak on a stone the next time you’re at The Stone Grill. You never know, you might like it!

Bored with Beef and Chicken? Try Zebra Steaks

Getty Images

With the popularity of the paleo diet still on the rise, I was not surprised to read about another option for those zealous meat eaters. Move over bison, ostrich, venison, squab, kangaroo, and elk and make room for zebra. Yes, the exact same black and white mammal that for most of us we have only seen in the zoo.

“Game meat, including zebra meat, can be sold as long as the animal from which it is derived is not on the endangered species list,” an official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Time. “As with all foods regulated by FDA, it must be safe, wholesome, labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading, and fully compliant with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its supporting regulations.”

As of today there is only one of the three breeds of zebra that can be legally farmed for consumption: the Burchell breed from South Africa. Known to have a somewhat “sweeter than beef” taste, the edible meat comes from the hindquarter of the animal and is very lean.

A 3.5-ounce serving of lean sirloin contains 182 calories, 5.5 grams (g) fat (2g saturated), 30g protein, and 56 milligrams (mg) cholesterol. By comparison, a 3.5 ounces of zebra provides only 175 calories, 6g fat (0g saturated), 28g protein, and 68mg cholesterol. It surprisingly is very close to a chicken breast: 165 calories, 3.5g fat (1g saturated), 31g protein, and 85mg cholesterol.

RELATED: The 10 Most Pin-Worthy Summer Recipes You Can Actually Make

Since zebras are vegetarian, spending about two-thirds of their day grazing primarily on grasses, their meat is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; it’s also known to be high in zinc, vitamin B12, and iron, the same as other cuts of beef.

Personally I am not ready to try zebra. I am a big fan of black and white, but for now just in my clothes. With so many other tasty lean cuts of beef available, such as sirloin, skirt steak, flank steak, and round roast, I think I will stick with those. How about you? Comment below or tweet us @kerigans and @Shape_Magazine.

  • By Keri Gans

If I kill an animal, can I eat it raw?

Stranded in the wilderness for days, your stomach audibly groans from hunger. Foraging on plants or berries isn’t an option because you don’t know what’s safe to eat. Instead, you hunt.

Drawing on your dwindling energy, you manage to kill a rabbit. Now, the only thing that matters is getting that sustenance into your body fast. Building a fire and cooking could take more than an hour, so you contemplate eating it raw. What’s the harm?

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Not so fast. Sure — in the wilderness, some normal rules of civilization don’t apply. But when it comes to meat, you need heat. If you want to maximize your chance of survival, the U.S. Armed Forces Survival Guide recommends cooking all wild game and freshwater fish because of the threat of bacteria or parasites.

Bacteria thrive and multiply between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 60 degrees Celsius). That’s why you should cook meat until the internal temperature measures at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) to effectively break down the bacteria cells and prevent them from reproducing .

You’re probably thinking: If that’s true, then how have Eskimos and other indigenous groups survived eating raw fish meat over the years? And what about eating raw fish in dishes such as sushi?

The difference is the salt water and the temperature of the meat. Saltwater fish are safer to eat raw because the water actually helps to kill parasites and bacteria. The salt in the water creates a hypertonic solution, where a higher concentration of salute (salt) exists outside of the bacteria cells than inside those cells. To correct that imbalance, the bacteria cells release their water content through osmosis. When they lose that water, they shrivel up and die. In addition, when Eskimos eat raw whale and seal meat fresh, it hasn’t had time to breed more bacteria.

Cold temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) also stop bacteria reproduction. Sushi-grade fish, called sashimi, that people commonly eat raw has been frozen before use to help destroy any remaining bacteria. In case of any lingering invaders, food safety guides do recommend heating all saltwater fish to more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).

Are these cooking precautions merely empty threats? Next up, we’ll take the microscope to the meat and see what potential dangers exist.

Zebra

If you’re yet to enjoy exotic Zebra meat and you’re wondering how to cook Zebra, the best way to discover this medium-fibred meat’s full potential is to serve it medium rare. Since Zebra is fantastically lean, it’s easily overcooked but when Zebra steak is served medium rare, the meat will be deliciously tender and exceptionally smooth. As Zebra meat has a lighter flavour than most exotic meats, it can be used in a range of recipes and it works perfectly as an exciting substitute for venison.

Turn your meals into exotic experiences with luxuriously tender Zebra meat from Meat Me at Home, order from our range of premium Zebra steaks today.

Michelin Star Meat – For You at Home

Meat Me at Home supply the same exceptionally high quality meat as their parent company Freedown Food. For over 20 years, Freedown Food has been supplying the finest meat available to top Michelin Star restaurants in the UK. From exotic game meats to luxurious Wagyu beef, the quality of Freedown Food and Meat Me at Home’s range of meat is only surpassed by the taste.

Discover it for yourself today!

Zebra: The New Red Meat

If you’re looking for the leanest source of animal protein, you can now add zebra meat to your diet. It has one-tenth the fat of beef (zebra has 0.5g per 100g), making it leaner than chicken, and 35 grams of protein per serving.

UK’s fitness food supplier Musclefood.com now provides zebra steaks from the haunches of South Africa’s Burchell’s zebra, the only zebra species that can be legally farmed for its meat. Zebra meat can also be sold in the U.S., say health officials, although it may still be hard to find. “Game meat, including zebra meat, can be sold as long as the animal from which it is derived is not on the endangered species list,” an official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told TIME. “As with all foods regulated by FDA, it must be safe, wholesome, labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading, and fully compliant with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its supporting regulations.”

Like many high-protein meats, zebra is packed with zinc and omega 3 fatty-acids that contribute to muscle repair, maintaining the immune system and improving heart health. Penn State’s Penny M. Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition, recently conducted a study examining heart benefits of lean beef, showing that along with an optimal lean-protein diet, lean meat may help reduce high blood pressure. And for the more adventurous eaters, there are a growing number of options, from bison sausage to ostrich patties and venison steaks. And now, zebra filets, presumably minus the stripes.

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Thread: Zebra meat – any good?

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Do zebras eat meat

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