Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've previously mentioned my disdain for the term "gamey" in describing the flavor of meats. It's not just that the word itself sounds somewhat infantile but that it's rather ill-defined and simply suggests boldness or pungency. So it's all I can do not to use this dreaded adjective in my following attempts to communicate the taste of alpaca meat.

alpaca meat

A good whiff of the steaming hunk of flesh gave me the impression that I was in for a salty beef or venison analogue but, while it was indeed rather salty, the characteristic flavor of the meat was wholly distinct from any other I have so far had the opportunity to savor. Pardon the negative connotation but the initial taste was something like a kick to the tongue by an incredibly agitated musk ox. Musk... musk... the sole word I was capable of producing in my mind whilst chewing that fist morsel. With an effect similar to a first encounter with wasabi sauce, the flavor hung in my nasal passages like a thick fog.

The texture was very similar to that of a thin, lean, tender steak and succulent in spite of the low fat content. The flavor, despite its incredible pungency, was pleasant but I imagine it could become overbearing if the portion was increased by much. If you're traveling in the Andes and aren't opposed to eating cute beasts with soft fur and grotesquely undershot jaws then definitely give it a try.

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