What's the latest fashion in exotic dining?
Available in a growing number of American restaurants and a handful of retail outlets, emu meat comes in steaks, fan filets, roasts, and sausages. It is not cheap -- ranging from $9.15 per pound for roasts to $18 per pound for steaks in the Seattle area -- but it is, well, unusual.
Emu joins ostrich, another recent large-bird entree, in the kitchens of chic American restaurants. The creatures that provide the meat are now being grown in the U.S. by enterprising ranchers. Actually native to Africa (in the case of the ostrich) and Australia (the emu), the birds have been domesticated and have found their way to the palates of adventurous diners. Curiously enough, emu meat in Australia is eaten only by aborigines.
The Seattle Times reports that close to 100 restaurants in Washington state now serve ostrich. Emu dishes have not caught on to quite that extent, but they are gaining popularity as most diners find the taste of emu somewhat milder than that of ostrich. Both resemble beef more than any other more familiar meat, and both are very low in fat.
So if you like red meat, need to watch your fat intake, and don't mind the high cost, you might want to give emu a try.
For an unusual source of information about wild animals and zoos, visit the Web site of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, rated 4 stars by the McKinley Internet Yellow Pages.