Times are tough for Russia's cooks. After several Western governments imposed sanctions on the country due to its actions in Ukraine earlier this year, Russia responded by banning imports of food products from the US, the EU, Canada, Australia, and Norway. As a result, beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and other dairy products much harder to come by.
But the Russian government has a plan to close the meat gap: eat crocodile instead. (No, not krokodil.)
Rosselhoznadzor, Russia's food safety watchdog, announced this week that the largest crocodile farm in the Philippines has been granted a permit for exports to the country.
The meat itself will come from Coral Agri-Venture Farm Inc., which offers frozen crocodile meat as well as crocodile leather and skulls (priced at a mere $90 each). It also provides several recipes on its website for crocodile meat newbies, often substituting crocodile for pork in classic Philippine dishes. Croc adobo, anyone?
The supplier notes that while croc meat is a little high in cholesterol, it's low in fat and high in protein, with a flavor and texture similar to chicken or pork. "Light tropical fruits" are the preferred compliment, it says.
The Guardian reported that, in addition to crocodile meat, the Russian government hopes to import more meat from Brazil and cheese from New Zealand to sate the country's hunger pangs for its usual foodstuffs.
But you can't feed a nation on Brazilian beef alone. The Moscow Times noted that Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the state-run daily, recently published an article "extolling the culinary qualities of meats that have otherwise remained exotic for the vast majority of the country's population," including kangaroo, shark, ostrich, and hippo.
Let's just hope those hippos aren't coming from Pablo Escobar's compound.