Kitchen & Pantry

Crocodile meat available in the Philippines

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My home office underwent a minor renovation last week so it can double as a small photography studio. To mimic daylight after the sun has gone down, lights have to be chosen carefully and positioned even more carefully. So, we had to shop for new lighting fixtures. We went to the Marcos Highway branch of Wilcon Home Builders but the first thing that caught my eye was the glass-door freezer near the entrance. Dundee crocodile meat, said the sign. When I saw the crocodile meat for sale, I wondered for a moment if some compassionate genius had started slaughtering politicians to make them truly useful.

Allegory aside, Alex was grossed out. Eating crocodile meat might be rather common in some cultures but not in the Philippines. We don’t eat rabbit meat and horse meat either, nor guinea pigs. But rabbit is food in Europe, China, South America, North America and some parts of the Middle East, according to Wikipedia. Huffington Post lists ten countries that love horse meat. When Sam had a pet guinea pig, we all did our research on how to feed it properly and learned that guinea pigs are eaten in Peru. I make no moral judgment; it’s simply a culture thing.

I recalled a discussion with my friend Lisa, a proponent of rabbit-for-food to feed Filipinos better and more inexpensively. She claimed that with the speed that rabbits reproduce, rabbit meat would be plentiful. I was skeptical. It wouldn’t be easy to sell as food the meat of an animal most consider a pet.

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Since we were at Wilcon to buy lighting fixtures, I didn’t have time to check the crocodile meat labels. I was happy enough that I had photos of the products taken through the freezer’s glass doors. It wasn’t until much later that I wondered whether the crocodile meat for sale came from locally-bred crocodiles or whether the meat is imported then seasoned and repackaged in the Philippines to suit the local palate. I Googled — Dundee crocodile meat comes from a crocodile farm in Palawan and croc meat is served in quite a number of restaurants around the country.

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If you look at the prices, kilogram for kilogram, croc meat is much, much more expensive than chicken, pork and beef. Whether that is due to low supply and high demand or whether the high prices are meant to suggest that croc meat is gourmet, I don’t know. I didn’t buy anything. We were there for the lights, like I said.

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