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This week’s Cultural Close-up is brought to you straight from my own back yard, here in Australia

When I first visited Australia, one of the things on my to do list was to try kangaroo meat, which I thought was just as strange as, say, eating insects in Asia. It wasn’t until I moved here, that I learned that consuming kangaroo meat isn’t actually all that rare. In fact, kangaroo meat is widely available in most Australian supermarkets along with emu, crocodile, camel and other “game meats”.

Kangaroo meat at the Queen Victoria Market on Melbourne

Kangaroo meat at the Queen Victoria Market on Melbourne. Photo credit: Wikipedia CC

Camel Sausages in Australia

Camel sausages on sale at the Adelaide Central Market

Croc sausages on sale at the Adelaide Central Market

Croc sausages on sale at the Adelaide Central Market

Kangaroo meat had been consumed by indigenous Australians for centuries, but it was only in the last few decades that it’s been legalised for human consumption across Australia.  So why do Australians eat their national animal? Because of its impressive nutritional profile. Kangaroos in Australia aren’t farmed so the meat is always free of antibiotics, growth hormones and added chemicals. It’s low in fat, high in iron and zinc, high in protein and serves as a source of heart healthy omega-3!

Despite that, not every Australian is jumping on the kangaroo bandwagon. Many still find it weird to eat Skippy and prefer to stick to beef, chicken and pork, like the rest of the world.

Oh and in case you are wondering… Max and I eat kangaroo meat on a weekly basis. It tastes very similar to beef, but it can get pretty tough, if you don’t cook it right. Kangaroo mince is the easiest, a great replacement for minced beef. Kanga Bangas (kangaroo sausages) are pretty good too, but kangaroo steak is by far the best. When cooked properly it’s really tender and absolutely delicious!

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Cultural Close-ups is a series of photographs and stories from around the world that go beyond the pretty sights and famous attractions. If you’d like to contribute a photo and a short story to Cultural Close-Ups, please email your submission to [email protected]

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Tourist trap or reality? Do Australians really eat kangaroo?