Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport!

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!

KangaI 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!


5 responses to “Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport!”

  1. One reason to avoid Dog/Cat is because of what they eat – it’s always a bit dangerous to eat carnivorous species because of the increased chance of parasites. So there’s a biological reason to avoid eating Dog/Cat/Tiger and so on. Kangaroos are herbivores, so are generally safe to eat. Historically they weren’t because it was perceived by the colonists as a native food (early colonists wanted to terraform Australia into Europe – foxes, carp, sparrows – one noted that Australian birds were “too bright and colorful”). Any crocodile you eat will be from a farm (well worth visiting a farm to watch them be fed)

  2. You should definitely go to the Sydney Zoo. It is one of the finest in the world but be sure and take the tram up to top of this small mountain that the zoo is built on, so that you can walk down.

    At the zoo, you will see hundreds of different varieties of kangaroos among many other animals.

    Remember, you can get in lots of steps.

  3. You should also know that kangaroo as a food (KaaF) is relatively recent here in Australia, it didn’t start getting served (or sold) until the late eighties. Until then it had been used as pet food, and as material for jokes. Paul Hogan did a skit in the 70’s where he opened the lid of a meat pie and heard the Skippy theme song.

    But nowadays, it is healthy and possibly healthier than beef or lamb. It’s a very lean meat, and cooked properly it very tasty. Badly cooked and it’s like shoe leather.

    As you noted, there’s also crocodile, but these days there are also places that serve Camel meat, which I’ve heard is also very nice.

    It does sound like you’re trying out our local cuisine. I hope you find it all to your taste. Enjoy!

  4. Happy to read that you had fun

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