When I found out I was coming to Sydney, Australia I made a mental list of things I wanted to do and to see. So far I have checked off seeing the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. While walking around Circular Quay I heard an Aboriginal busker playing a didgeridoo, and in Darling Harbour I saw a shark fin. Of course because I have friends here I knew I was going to be going to a Taekwondo class (which I did Tuesday night). I have even gotten quite proficient driving on the wrong side of the road!
I had not given food much of a thought, beyond my friend Erdal wanting to take me to his favorite Turkish kebab restaurant (which, we discovered, had burned down). What I had not expected, when I opened the Room Service menu at the Sydney Harbour Marriott had an interesting dish on it… Kangaroo Steak.
Wow… I certainly wanted to see kangaroos while I was here, but did I have the courage to actually eat one? The first night I opted for a hamburger. Safe, but not at all interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a good hamburger. However I regretted ordering it almost before I put down the phone. I consider myself to be a very adventurous sort – certainly but not exclusively with regard to food – and I always say that when I travel I don’t want to just eat the same old ‘American food’. I decided that at my next opportunity I would order kangaroo.
Monday evening I was on my own again, and rather than going out for dinner I went for a long walk, then back at the room I looked at the menu again and ordered the kangaroo. I asked the woman taking my order what to expect from the meat, and she told me that it would be very similar to beef, with a slightly stronger taste.
The specific dish (under the category of casual dining) is: Char grilled kangaroo with potato & carrot rosti, macadamia nut pesto & beetroot jus. It looked very much like steak, and the description given by the woman was accurate – a somewhat stronger taste, but not at all unpleasant. In fact, it was quite tasty. It was delivered as several slices (much the same way my steak had been delivered at the restaurant Saturday evening) with the beetroot jus lightly drizzled on it. It was, in a word, delicious.
Now here’s the problem. I have heard people debate why we would eat cows and chickens but not dogs and cats, and the prevailing answer seems to be that cats and dogs are cute. I happen to think that kangaroos are cute too, although that might just be my inexperience – I have heard people say that there are areas down here where they do become a nuisance. Nonetheless I like them, and neither the picture above nor the stuffed roo that I was given to take to my son did anything to dissuade me from that feeling. As much as I enjoyed my kangasteak, I must have felt guilty about it later on.. because only hours later I had a dream I was being chased by a kangaroo, and she caught me, knocked me to the ground, and got right up to my face and stared at me as her joey jumped up and down on my back and head.
For the sake of my dreams I think the next adventurous meal I will eat down here will be crocodile or something… I can’t imagine how badly I would sleep if someone served me koala pie!