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Kangaroo is a cute animal native to Australia. It is also considered Australia’s national animal and is displayed in the country’s coat of arms. However, do Australians eat kangaroo meat?
The answer is yes, although there are various controversies surrounding it. In this article, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about kangaroo meat before you try them.
History of Kangaroo Meat as Human Consumption
As a native Australian animal, it comes as no surprise that kangaroo meat was already consumed far before the white settlers landed in Australia. In fact, Indigenous Australians have been eating it for more than 40,000 years. This animal played an important role for the indigenous people of Australia. It was hunted for both its meat and skins.
When Europeans arrived in Australia in the late 18th century, they also consumed kangaroo meat. At the beginning of the 19th century, not many people were eating this animal and people only started to rely on kangaroo meat during the 1890s depression.
In most of the 20th century, the attitude towards kangaroo meat changed as its trading for human consumption was prohibited in several states in Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.
Today, kangaroo meat is easier to find as they are sourced from wild animals, and hunting was part of the population control program. However, non-indigenous hunting of most kangaroo species is outlawed. Only those licensed with commercial hunters can hunt a small number of kangaroo’s larger species with higher populations.
Four states in Australia which include New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia, allow commercial harvest of kangaroos. The meat also has been exported since 1959 to European countries, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia. However, kangaroo meat import to Russia was suspended in 2009.
Not All Australian Consuming Kangaroo Meat
Do Australians eat kangaroo meat? The answer is yes, although not many of them do eat this meat. Kangaroo meat is readily available in Australian supermarkets and served in restaurants; however, many Australians refuse to eat it. It is considered novelty meat just like crocodiles and emu. It is something that people try once, not the kind of food Australians have at home. Many of those who try kangaroo meat at the restaurant are tourists or out-of-town visitors.
The controversy surrounding the consumption of kangaroo meat is because it is Australia’s national emblem. Another reason is due to what is widely known as the “Skippy factor”. Skippy, the Bush Kangaroos, is a TV series aired in 1960. This show encourages Australians to see kangaroos as cute animals and too adorable to cook, just like how you would view a pet.
Kangaroo Meat Is Nutritious and Sustainable
People in Australia consume kangaroo meat due to its impressive nutrition. Since the animal is not farmed, the meat is free from any growth hormones, antibiotics, or added chemicals that are commonly used on the farm.
The meat is high in iron, zinc, and proteins and has low-fat content. It is also a great source of omega-3, which is good for the heart.
Another reason kangaroo meat is consumed is that it is a more sustainable meat option. This animal emits less methane and uses much less water compared to other farm animals.
Best Place to Try Kangaroo Meat
Kangaroo meat is served in various ways. Some of the most common are cooked as steak, diced as served as stews, casseroles, or curry, or cooked as Kanga Bangas or kangaroo sausages.
Kangaroo is a lean red meat due to its low-fat content. Therefore, it cannot be cooked like other red meats. The recommended methods are slow cooking or quick stir-frying.
If you would like to try kangaroo meat specially prepared by a skilled chef, you can visit The Meat and Wine Company restaurant in Darling Harbour that serves Kangaroo steak. The other option is pepper kangaroo served at the Australian Heritage Hotel.
Plenty of other restaurants in Australia serve kangaroo meat, so you just need to ask!
Now you know why do Australians eat Kangaroo meat, although most of them still choose to avoid it. Kangaroo is indeed a cute animal and understandably, many people hesitate to try the meat. However, if you visit Australia, you should at least try this Australian delicacy once in your life!