Guinea Pigs and 9 Other Animals You Didn't Know People Ate
January 8, 2015
Some cultures around the world eat cats and dogs, but unusual sources of meat don’t stop there
Prized as a delicacy in the Middle East, camel is known to taste like beef or lamb and be a good source of vitamin E. It is not eaten every day; in parts of the Middle East, camel is often served as a delicacy as weddings and other special events. In Syria and Cairo, for example, there are special butchers you go to for camel meat. The hump of the camel is often said to be the best part as it is more tender and meatier than other parts of the animal. Camel are often slow- cooked with curries and marinades.
Cane rats, served in Ghana as well as in Cameroon and Nigeria, have a sweet taste. Despite their name, cane rats don’t look like rats at all; they are about the size of cats and look like guinea pigs. Cane rat meat is lean, and it is low in cholesterol. It is commonly served as a soup or on a plate with rice.
In Switzerland, some restaurants have cat on the menu and serve it in white wine or garlic sauce. People in parts of China and Peru eat cat as well. This winter, Newsweek reported on a petition in Switzerland by animal rights activists to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.
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Emus, flightless birds native to Australia, are a healthy protein (low in fat and high in vitamin C) and their oils are used to relieve arthritis and muscle pain.
Guinea pigs are served as a dish called cuy in South America, usually with potatoes and rice. During the annual Peruvian Guinea Pig Festival, animals are dressed up and paraded around before being killed and barbequed. The taste of cuy is similar to that of rabbit.
This delicacy, popular in Iceland, is rotten shark from Greenland that is gutted, fermented, and buried in sand in a shallow pit for up to five months before being dug out and hung to dry for another four or five months. Hákarl is said to have an overwhelming stench of ammonia.
A popular dish for winter in Greenland, Kiviak is made from small seabirds called auks, is eaten for holidays and birthday celebrations. It is said to smell and taste like cheese. The seabirds are fermented inside seal skin for months before they are ready to eat.
Exotic animals like the sweet and gamey zebra are mainly eaten in South Africa. Like that of many wild animals, zebra meat is low in fat.