There are some types of meat that seem to be universal – beef, pork and chicken come to mind – and there are some that are very regional. It does not mean you can’t get different kinds of meat all over the world and depending on various religious practices or dietary issues, some of even the most common kinds may be hard to find or even forbidden. Some cultures may even eschew from eating meat entirely, based not on a sense of morality but because of the expense and effort traditionally associated with it.
If you’re up for trying something different when you’re abroad, give sampling the local meat a try. You would be surprised how similar many of them will taste to things you already know and if you can get over whatever apprehensions you have over the idea of consuming a certain animal, you may find something delicious.
Moose (Northern North America/Europe)
Depending on their diet and how it’s seasoned, moose can taste anywhere from slightly gamier beef to a rich and hearty protein source. Most moose originates from hunters and while it is a staple of many indigenous cultures, it is something of a delicacy when put up against beef or pork on local menus. Try it in a stew, burger or straight up as a steak – these giant animals are sure to become a favourite if you find yourself travelling abroad in the northern climates.
Much the same as deer in North America and Europe, kangaroos have somewhat of a pest status in various parts of Australia, making them frequenters on vehicle hoods. If you can overlook this and their cute nature (make no mistake though – they are quite dangerous if crossed in the wild), kangaroo tastes pretty darn good. Tasting similar to beef, kangaroo steaks can be the life of any barbecue if seasoned just right, providing a rich source of protein for a reasonable price.
Rat (Southeast Asia)
Like many meat sources, most originate from what is most common and in this case, rat is plentiful. While not the strangest thing you will find on the menu or even the least appetizing sounding, rat is something of a delicacy in many restaurants, resembling stringier chicken. As is true with all of these animals raised in the wild and unfamiliar with you, be sure to eat it from a trusted location to avoid gaining a harmful parasite.
Horse (many places)
Maybe it’s the close relationship formed between people in North America and their noble steeds, but horse meat never really caught on as a food source in comparison to the rest of the world. That being said, horse meat is quite often an option in grocery stores and restaurants alike around the world, from France to Japan. Tasting similar to beef, horse is nonetheless an option for dinner if you find yourself abroad and looking for something different.