What Do Snake and Other Exotic Meats Taste Like?
Life is good at the top of the food chain. If you really wanted to (and don’t mind the risk of being mauled or thrown in jail), you could eat basically any other animal in existence. Heck, we’ve even figured out how to eat toxic animals, like puffer fish. But contrary to what you might have heard, they don’t all taste like chicken. We did some research, and learned what five exotic animals actually taste like when cooked properly.
“Rattlesnake tastes, when breaded and fried, like a sinewy, half-starved tilapia,” according to The New York Times. Called “desert whitefish” in the Southwest, it’s reportedly “bland and difficult to eat,” tough, sinewy, and full of little bones. There’s very little in the way of actual flavor.
Frog legs are fairly commonly eaten, and we can tell you from experience that it tastes like a cross between chicken and fish — namely, the texture of dark-meat chicken, the flavor of a mild fish. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get over the slight cognitive dissonance, it’s not an unpleasant dining experience.
According to some posters on Yahoo! Answers, alligator tastes quite a bit like frog, but maybe with a hint of rabbit and crab. It’s difficult to cook because it’s so low in fat, and the end result is usually tough and chewy.
Bears don’t turn up on menus too often (if at all), but plenty of hunters have eaten it, usually reporting that the meat is very tough, greasy, and gamey. One hunter, who wrote an article for Slate about cooking bear, took a different approach: he dry-aged it to tenderize it, and when pan-seared, it wasn’t tough or strongly flavored, but had a flavor similar to venison. Bear burgers were also a big hit.
Zebra has virtually no fat, and one breed — the Burchell zebra — is the only one that can be farmed for meat. According to the Independent, it’s a little bit sweeter than beef, with a slightly gamey flavor. Because it’s so low in fat, it’s also very tough and chewy, and is best cut into thin strips and quickly pan-fried, or slowly braised.