Growing up in Australia, two things were true. One – when you came home from school you probably watched Skippy. Two – at some point during your life you’ve probably eaten Kangaroo.
Don’t disregard your patriotism just because you’re partial to a bit of kangaroo every now and then. We’re not the only country that chooses to savour their national animal – in fact we’re one of many.
Here are eight countries that eat their own emblem
Australians may love kangaroos, but we love to eat them even more. Kangaroo steak, kangaroo mince, and kangaroo sausages – all are available at your local supermarket. The appeal of kangaroo meat (aside from the fact it’s not too expensive) is that it’s high in protein and low in fat. It’s a perfectly healthy – and cost effective – alternative to chicken, pork and beef.
PS – we also eat Emu but let’s just take it one emblem at a time.
Want a recipe with a twist on the classic burger – here’s a delicious Aussie Kangaroo Burgers recipe
2. Denmark – Swan
The Swan is a majestic and magnificent creature whose beauty is only outweighed by its grace. So it’s a real pity that in Denmark, delicate swan equals delicious meal. In most of Europe, hunting and eating Swan is illegal, but in Denmark you’re still good to serve up a sneaky Swan on a Sunday afternoon. The meat is tough but can be tender if done right –much like a goose.
Did you know swan makes for delicious Gourmet Swan Meat Burgers?
3. Finland – Brown Bear
Eating is one of the bear necessities in life and in Finland they’ve taken this to the very next level. The Brown Bear is officially their favourite animal – presumably because it has so much fur and it’s always freezing in Finland. If you’re in Finland and find yourself invited to a Teddy Bear picnic, bear could very well be on the menu. A fried bear rump roast is a popular winter time meal.
Nothing better than a pot roast hey? How about this one – Bear Pot Roast with Orange
4. Saudi Arabia – Camel
All these years we’ve been told that camels store water inside their humps. Lies! What’s actually inside is a little pocket of deliciousness – or at least that’s what they believe in Saudi Arabia, where they chow down on camel meat daily. Camel curry, camel gravy, camel stir fry – you name it, they’ll put camel in it.
Camel Meat Gravy – A different style of gravy for your next roast.
5. Sweden – Elk
Have you ever wandered into IKEA and questioned why they serve meatballs there? One of the most popular dishes in Sweden is meatballs….made from elk! Given the freezing climate, it’s no surprise that elk, with their generous layer of fat make for a mighty meal. Served with boiled potato and cabbage and you have a hearty meal to keep you warm and toasty.
Just like Ikea – Elk Swedish Meatballs
And for the adventurous foodies, try Tjalknal – a classic Swedish dish of frozen elk.
6. Spain- Bull
It’s fair to say Spain has a pretty complicated relationship with the bull. Sure, it’s their national emblem, but then they also host “Running with the Bulls” – which never really looks like much fun for the bulls. Eating bull is a big part of the Spanish culture. The amazing thing is despite having an entire bull to eat, they tend to opt for just the tail. The most famous dish is Spanish Bull Tail Stew, cooked slowly on a low heat until the meat is tender.
Spanish stew at it’s finest. Try this Spanish Bull Tail Stew recipe
7. Japan – Carp
Carp isn’t technically Japan’s national emblem, but it’s become so synonymous with the land of the rising sun that it may as well be on their flag. Carp are considered very special in Japanese culture, which is why of course they turn them into a soup. Carp soup is great for those who are low in energy, weak or lethargic. The Japanese call the soup Koi Koku which we can only assume translates to “this fish soup tastes amazing.”
Winter soups are the best, especially a Japanese traditional Koi-KoKu Fish Soup
8. Monaco – European Rabbit
Despite the fact Monaco isn’t a REAL country – it’s a principality – they still have an emblem. Monaco actually has three national animals – the rabbit, the hedgehog and the wood mouse. Why these were chosen as national animals remains a mystery. Out of these emblem options, they only eat the rabbit. As a delicacy, rabbit is on the rise and in mainland Europe they’ve been eating it for centuries. Like many game meats, rabbit is tough, so the best way to serve it is braised and tenderised.
Here’s how to make Beer Braised Rabbit
Interested in the recipes above but lack the culinary skills to do the emblems justice? You may find a good restaurant deal with a few of these dishes on the menu.
Have you eaten any of these traditional foods? Let us know how you liked them!