- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sampled charred kangaroo for lunch at Melbourne eatery Charcoal Lane.
- Though not commonplace outside Australia, kangaroo has long been a staple source of protein for indigenous Australians.
- Over the last decade, kangaroo meat has become a part of mainstream Australian culture with a rise in people eating kangaroo meat for ethical and environmental reasons.
- Charcoal Lane says it aims to both provide opportunities for Aboriginal Australians in the food industry, and promote native and traditional Australian cuisine.
Among the meals served to the Duke and Duchess at restaurant Charcoal Lane were an entrée of mushroom and quinoa nest and chargrilled kangaroo, and main courses of wild boar, saffron risotto, and barramundi (a fish native to Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea).
Charcoal Lane – run by the charity Mission Australia – says it wants to bring awareness to traditional recipes and ingredients that have been used in indigenous Australian cooking for generations.
Chef Ben Shewry, who has become an ambassador for the use of native Australian ingredients, has received worldwide critical acclaim and been featured on shows like Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.” His Melbourne-based restaurant Attica, which is ranked as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, is known to serve kangaroo, with the current season’s menu boasting a red kangaroo dish that ostensibly pays homage to Truganini, widely considered to be one of the last native Aboriginal Tasmanians.
Kangaroo meat often looks like beef before preparation, and at times may be used as a substitute in dishes that call for beef, while some have compared the taste of kangaroo meat to venison.
While some Australians in recent years have said they feel strange about eating kangaroo, it wasn’t always considered an unconventional meat. Kangaroo tail was favoured by Aboriginal Australians, the meat was eaten by European settlers, and, according to a BBC article that cites historian Barbara Santich, kangaroo recipes were commonplace in cookbooks up until the 1930s.
Over the last decade, kangaroo meat has become a part of mainstream Australian culture. Speaking to The Telegraph in 2010, Peter Ampt, a lecturer of natural resource management at the University of Sydney, shed light on the rise of “kangatarians” – people who eat no meat with the exception of kangaroo. According to Ampt, kangaroo meat appeals to some for ethical and environmental reasons, since kangaroos don’t emit as much methane as other animals like cows and sheep. It is also “ethically produced,” Ampt said, “in the sense that kangaroos aren’t battery farmed or penned up like pigs in small stys or industrially farmed.”
Australians have even been encouraged to eat kangaroo meat. In 2017, ecologists and landowners cautioned that there were so many kangaroos – nearly 45 million, according to 2016 government figures cited by the BBC – that they worried millions would starve to death if there were a drought.
Though kangaroo meat has been a fixture in the Australian culinary scene for some time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may help make it become an even more popular meal after their own experiences with the dish.
A representative for Charcoal Lane did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s request for comment.
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