Recently I was in the African bush of Kenya, going on safari after a business trip. The city of Nairobi has a state park located next to it that is 350 square miles of pure African Savannah. What does this have to do with Churrasco, you ask? Our guide picked us up in a specially outfitted land cruiser. The one with special roof hatches for riding out of the top and taking photos. We spent the day riding around the park looking for the beasts of the wilds. And it didn’t take us long to find what we were looking for.
As soon as we rounded the first series of bends, we were encountered by a lookout. One that overlooked onto the massive savannah plains stretching out before us. We paused and went to the lookout. And a stare through the binoculars showed us that the light brown specks everywhere below us were a herd of eland. A type of deer native to the central African plains. They also explained that the Black specks on the horizon were cape buffalo.
When we were done seeing all the wildlife, it was time to retire to dinner before catching our flight back to London. Our guide took us to a place that’s famous the world over for an African angle on the concept of churrasco, called Carnivore.
Carnivore, the African Churrasco Diner
Originally set up to satisfy diner’s cravings for the tastes of wild African, Carnivore used to serve all manner of wild African bush meat. Including lion, elephant and many other kinds of delicacies of the plains. As we entered, I saw the familiar charcoal pit, churrasco skewers and racks I’m familiar with seeing in a Brazilian rodizio. But this is a slightly different flair. This is a more masai warrior angle. The skewers are shaped a little bit more like spears, and the meat is slightly different too.
When we sat down to our table, a small plaque greeted us. They informed us that Kenyan government had banned the game meat such as lion and elephant in 2004. And that they no longer served it as it would only encourage poaching and the depletion of stocks of great wildlife that the country is famous for. Though slightly disappointed, we had to acknowledge that it was ultimately wise. After just coming back from south Sudan, where during the civil war, they had killed off all of the wild animals in the country for food. And now they had none, and potentially none left also for a tourism industry.
They regaled us with a hefty assortment of delicious meats nonetheless. Such as ostrich, beef, lamb, alligator and ox testacles. The ox testacles were not the taste I knew. Just merely bad, but the rest was delicious. I could tell that the Churrasco recipes were the same the world over. Rubbed with coarse salt and set over a coal fire, the results were absolutely delicious.