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Type: Meat

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      28.04.2002 21:28
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      Game meat is not commonly available in this country. Although, I have heard that some restaurants in central London are offering more and more diverse meats, and I have seen Ostrich steaks for sale in a local Sainsbury's. My experience of eating Game, came whilst I was in various African countries. PORCUPINE - I sampled this in Douala, Cameroon. It is a dark, rich meat with an extremely strong flavour. It has a coarse stranded texture. Personally, I found the taste too strong. Another thing which put me off were the huge pore-like holes in the skin where the spikes had obviously been pulled out. WARTHOG - The first time I had this was whilst on Safari in Tanzania. Seems strange, doesn't it, to eat one of the animals that you had been fascinated by watching earlier in the day. Anyway, the warthog here was barbecued. The meat was light, and looked similar to roast pork. The taste was not too different in character, although it definitely was more flavoursome. I ate some more game at a restaurant called The Boma, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The restaurant is a popular destination for the many tourists that visit Victoria Falls. It is set in the Gusu Forest, and the name 'The Boma' literally means, 'Place of Eating'. The restaurant itself is exposed to the outside. It is constructed so that the sides are open, with wooden pillars and cross beams supporting a traditional-style roof. You pay a set price, (which was around £20-£25 back in Dec 2000), and then eat as much as you want/can. The starters are a selection of traditional nuts, followed by soup - but I'd advise against wasting too much stomach space with these, for there are bigger and better delights to come! There is a vast array of food being cooked before your very eyes. You simply take your plate up to the open-style kitchen and tell the chef what you would like. If there isn't any of the particular mea
      t ready that you would like, then it only takes a minute or two to barbecue, grill, or fry it up. There is a vast selection of Game meat available, but for those people who do not want such delights, there are other meats such as chicken and fish available, as well as lots of vegetarian dishes (eg vegetarian lasagne), and a large salad bar. The Game that is on offer depends upon availability on that day. BUFFALO - Very similar to beef in every way. I found it to be very tender, succulent and full of meaty juices. IMPALA - This was my number one, favourite game meat that I sampled. It was cooked spit-roast, and there was literally a whole impala, being turned around a traditional open fire. The chef would freshly carve off your meat. This is a light meat, similar in texture to roast pork, but slightly greyer in colour (as I remember). Being spit-roast, it was slightly drier than some of the other meats, but had a beautiful taste that got your saliva flowing. Well worth trying, if you ever get the chance. OSTRICH - I found this meat to be very tough and fatty, with a slightly nasty taste. I suspect that farmed ostrich available in this country may be different, probably much more tender and lean due to its different lifestyle. I didn't enjoy this meat in Zimbabwe, but I'd be tempted to try it again. WARTHOG - Of course, warthog again. Once again, consistently full of flavour and with a really meaty texture. I also tried THOMSON'S GAZELLE here, and washed it down with lots of local beer, like the aptly named Zambezi beer. The Boma, also offers other features which help make it a truely cultural experience. For a start, you wash you hands at the table. The waiter brings a bowel, water and towels to you before you eat. Then during the meal, there are Ndebele dancers who perform traditional dance and music, which makes a fantastic atmosphere. A Sangoma - a traditional story
      teller - also works his way around the tables, loudly telling you short stories, which all have a local, cultural meaning or teaching. After the meal, you can visit the Witchdoctor who will attempt to predict the future by throwing bits of old bone around his little hut. Should you wish to continue your sampling of weird and wonderful foods, you can sample the mopane worms in peanut butter, for which you will obtain a certificate (mainly aimed at children). The restaurant is very popular and we were told that you noramlly have to book at least a couple of days in advance. (We went shortly after the trouble with the farm repossessions and were able to book the same day, but the place was still packed out.) So, that's it, my experince of eating Game meat. There are many new and fabulous flavours to be experienced. As time goes on, who knows how many of these animals will come to be farmed in Europe. I'd certainly recommend trying any of them, if you get the chance.

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