Whether or not you’ve have sampled these delicacies, it is rare to find a local without knowledge of wild meat. Neotropical animals called wild meat in the local vernacular form an important part of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural culinary landscape.
These peculiarly distinctive animals are sought after for various reasons with most Trinis look forward to the open hunting season (October to February) every year to acquire their portions of wild meat.
Some, such as the iguana with its two penises have been endowed with aphrodisiac powers. Its female eggs are sought after as a cure for impotence. Others like the lappe, have been embedded in indigenous folklore where it is told that tickling the nose with the whiskers of a labba will encourage easy childbirth. There is even an age-old Guyanese saying that ‘If you eat labba and drink creek water you’ll always return to Guyana.’
Some have funny names like “Tree Mutton” which is a green monkey and “Mountain Chicken” which is a giant ditch frog. Some have multiple names, so it is not unusual to refer to a Quenk as Wild Hog. Similarly, a Sally Painter is the same as a Matte or Tegu.
Call them what you will, from agouti and lappe, to tatoo and manicou, they are all loved for the gamey taste of the meat. The wild flavour is directly related to what the animal eats. Most of them feed on seeds and plants and found while foraging on the forest floor. As an added bonus, the meat is extremely lean and has higher protein and less fat than chicken.
Listen as we discuss traits of the various species, how the meat is prepared and cooked and share our experiences with foodie, local photographer and vlogger David Wears.
Chune fi buss: Square One and Allison Hinds – Wild Meat
Drink of Choice: Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch