Saturday, September 16, 2006


"You know you're in Finland when there is reindeer on the menu"

This was the text from Marc that came in around 2 am my time (I went to bed so late, I was still in a light enough sleep to hear the beep-beeping of my mobile from two floors up!) I guess he was looking for a meal at Helsinki airport.

Reindeer would be at the mild end of the 'unusual food' spectrum for him. Working in Asia will do that for you. He, fortunately, has a cast iron gut (and an adventurous spirit) and has been able to impress the locals by at least trying anything that is served. In Asia, no body part of an animal is wasted... (and I have a theory that the reason so many Asian dishes are ultra spicy is to disguise what they are eating! - plus the compulsory sculling of glasses of almost pure alcohol in toasts to anything and everything -ok, that was mainly just in China - would numb your mind to what you were eating.) Eyes, ears, brains, all sorts of innards... Plus a variety of other creatures, the most offputting (to me) of which was scorpion!

I've yet to hear whether he gave the reindeer a go. Would an airport food court be the place to try such local fare or would you wait to try it in a half-decent restaurant? (He will be spending several hours in Helsinki on Monday so he has the chance.)

Would that be akin to trying kangaroo in Sydney airport? (or is reindeer the Finnish equivalent of an all-beef patty?)

And here's where I make a big confession. I'm an Aussie, but I've never tried kangaroo!

I hear it's good, but I've, frankly, never been game.

What if I hate it? I'm not keen on gambling the price of a main meal at a restaurant on trying something I might despise. I see kangaroo steaks in the foam trays in the supermarket meat departments, but the 'meat quality' snob in me thinks they might not be the best there is to buy, and if you're going to try kangaroo, then you should do it properly. (It doesn't stop me from picking up lamb, beef or pork from the meat display in Woollies or Coles.)

I don't tend to notice kangaroo in the 'proper butcher' displays, and even if I did, I'm not really sure of the best way to cook it.

Am I being un-Australian? (Or a dinki-di Aussie by not wanting to eat our national emblem!) Or just an unadventurous cook?
Kangaroo meat is nice, with the added benefit that's its low in fat. But its not everyone's cup of tea because its best eaten medium-medium rare. So if you're a 'well-done' girl, then it might be a challenge.
I am a medium/medium rare girl, as is the BBQ King of the household, so it might work. Suppose I should take the plunge some day.

Ha, Marc didn't eat any reindeer; I'm so disappointed. He was spewing about how much it cost him to buy a burger and a beer at Helsinki airport. Almost $40 AUS. *boggles*

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