Danny Henley: What’s not on the menu

Danny Henley

Planning on making a trip to China for the Olympics?

Neither am I, but if you were and happened to stop at one of the officially designated Olympic restaurants, you would not be able to order any dishes made from dog meat.

No, I’m not confusing dog with hotdogs or even hushpuppies. Apparently in some areas of China, as well as some other Asian countries, dog is “man’s best friend” for an entirely different reason.

In Chinese, the word for “dog” - xiangrou - translates into “fragrant meat.” It is eaten by some Chinese for its purported health-giving qualities.

Reportedly, canine dishes are being banned by Beijing out of concern it might offend animal rights groups and Western visitors. Interesting, though, is the fact that while Olympic attendees will not be able to find a “bow-wow burger,” dishes made from donkey meat will still be on the menu.

If the thought of eating dog meat doesn’t have your stomach “growling,” there are an assortment of unique meats out there on the market. Shaun Parker, our sports editor here at the Courier-Post, was sharing with me recently an online list of exotic meats that he was being given the opportunity to order.

Available were burgers made of wild boar, ostrich, bison, elk, venison, antelope, llama, yak and kobe.

Pardon my ignorance, but I wouldn’t know a kobe if I caught one sniffing around my trash cans. However, if I could catch that kobe loitering around my trash cans it might be worth my while since its meat is billed as the “king of all burgers.”

In case your taste buds have never been exposed to such unique meats, here’s what you are missing:

Ostrich, which reportedly has a flavor similar to beef, is an extremely lean, very red meat that is low in fat and cholesterol, and high in protein.

Bison burgers, called a healthy alternative to beef burgers, are said to have a “rich and robust” flavor.

Wondering about elk meat? Low in fat and cholesterol, it is supposed to have a mild, beef-like flavor.

Wild boar is not just another white meat. It reportedly is leaner than domestic pork with a much deeper, almost nutty flavor.

Kangaroo patties are called a traditional Aussie alternative to the beef burger.

The scouting report on yak meat is that it is “somewhat similar to beef,” but with a flavor that is more delicate.


Before you break out your “Kiss the Cook” apron and barbecue grill, you may need to know this exotic meat isn’t cheap. Ten pounds of ostrich meat will cost you $117.50.  If you find that hard to swallow, kangaroo runs $11.25 per pound. Kobe and wild boar both sell for $9.50 a pound. Bison costs $8.75 per pound.

Considering the minimum order is 10 pounds, and that overnight shipping will add another $30 to your bill, the total charge for the meats mentioned will start at $125 and go up from there.

Since that amount is typically more than my family’s total grocery bill in any given week, it’s safe to say if you receive an invitation to a cookout at the Henley homestead, chances are your burger will likely be made of $1.59 a pound ground beef that was purchased on sale by my bargain-conscious bride.

And besides, the way things come off my grill, elk or elkhound, bison or basset, with a little ketchup everything winds up pretty much tasting the same.

Hannibal Courier-Post