Q: I’D LIKE TO TRY CROCODILE MEAT – WHERE DO I START?

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By Margareta Olsson

I had never seen crocodile meat in Melbourne. But after visiting Darwin two years ago and learning of the meat’s growing popularity—35,000 Crocodylus Porosus are currently farmed in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia – I figured someone must be snapping it up.

Kangaroo was easy enough to track down, but the fillet of Australia’s largest predator proved a tough nut to crack. Yet, crocodile meat, a by-product of the skin trade, has been produced commercially since 1987, and been available for sale in all states and territories since then. It is also sold for export.

This being the case, I was puzzled that Melbourne seemed to be a croc-free zone. I could not find the meat at the supermarket, nor any of the game meat restaurants where I’d most expected to see it.

It wasn’t until I had combed the City, Fitzroy, Southbank and Prahran and then continued westward through the suburbs, that my investigations bore fruit. Yes, a small portion of the 180 tonnes of crocodile meat produced in Australia annually ends up in Melbourne- below is where to find it along with ways to prepare it.

 

Forget the supermarket, find a butcher

Here is a list of inner city and western suburbs butchers who stock frozen crocodile body flesh and soup bones – if you don’t see it on display, ask the sales assistant or check in the freezer cabinet:

  • Binh Hung Fresh Seafood and Butcher
    2/290 Hampshire Road, Sunshine
  • Phuoc Hung Butchers
    52 Leeds Street, Footscray
  • Phuoc Thinh Wholesale Butcher
    75 Nicholson Street, Footscray
  • John Cester’s Poultry and Game
    Stall 506, Prahran Market, Prahran
  • The Chicken Pantry
    Shop 85, Victoria Market, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne City

Order online from game meat wholesalers

If you’re ready to dive in with a large order for, say, a family barbecue or special celebration, check on availability with these suppliers:

Experiment with a few different recipes

You won’t find croc recipes in Dymock’s Asian and European inspired cook books, but these two, shelved in the Australian indigenous food section, list one recipe each:

Warndu Mai (Good Food), by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard – p 128: Salt and Pepper Crocodile, battered and deep-friend in vegetable oil

Fervor, A Journey Through Australian Native Food, by Paul Iskov – p 100: Crocodile/Sea Celery Lime tail fillet, pan-fried or barbecued.

Alternatively, check out the online game meat traders’ recipes, for example:

Australian Crocodile Traders, www.australiancrocodile.com/Meats

Melbourne food writers and big name chefs seem to have given crocodile meat the flick; William Angliss Institute does not offer any expertise; and the National Heart Foundation’s web site makes no reference to the meat’s many health benefits.

Have a bite out

  • Charcoal Lane (Australian Indigenous cuisine), 136 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy; Melbourne’s premier indigenous restaurant does not offer crocodile as a menu item; if given advance warning the chef can get some in from the Northern Territory.
  • Metro Burgers, 12 Degraves Street, City; Crocodile Burger: crocodile tail, outback chilli jam, mixed salad, orange zest, mint mayo, tomato and red onion, $26.90
  • Dahu Peking Duck Restaurant (Chinese), Little Bourke Street, City; this restaurant offers Crocodile Meat in Ginger and Spring Onion Sauce (GF) $29.80; Crocodile Meat in Home made XO Sauce $29.80.
  • The Red Emperor (Chinese), Level 2, Southgate Complex, Southbank; this up-market restaurant’s A La Carte menu, under Dundee’s Selection, offers crocodile fillet with ginger and spring onions, $38; crocodile fillet with XO chilli sauce, $38.
  • First Taste Soup – Noodle House (Chinese), 104 – 106 Hopkins Street, Footscray; Item 3: Coconut and Herbs Stewed Crocodile Meat Soup, $6.90.
  • Nhi Nurong 2 Sisters (Vietnamese), 255 Hampshire Road, Sunshine; crocodile stir fry with X.O. sauce, $35.
  • Song Huong Restaurant (Vietnamese), 71 Alfrieda Street, St Albans; stir fried crocodile with broccoli and onion.
  • Quang Vinh Vietnamese Restaurant,
    66 Alfrieda Street, St Albans; listed under Chinese Herbal Soups, look for Crocodile with Shan Xao, $8.80.

Share the joy with your dog

  • Pet Barn, Highpoint Homemaker City, 179 Rosamond Road, Maribyrnong; check the frozen food cabinets for Leaps and Bounds Grain Free Crocodile and Vegetable frozen patties for Adult Dogs.
  • Pet Stock, 211 Ferrars Street (near York Street), South Melbourne; 2 kg Crocodile and Tapioca Roll, SK-D200, for around $20.

 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Editor. Thanks for this well researched story on the exotic croc.
    Now I know where to buy, I am looking forward to making my BBQ fare a lot more interesting, and giving my friends something to talk about. Away from the BBQ I look forward to trying out the recipes.

  2. This is a very comprehensive review of the availability, or rather paucity of croc meat in Melbourne. I may even be tempted to give crocodile a try myself, but I will let someone else cook it for me. Very well researched and written. Thank you.

  3. Found some at Woolworths recently, they sell tail steak/fillet at Coles also, but the Woolworths one looks like better product. Forget the brand

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