When I lived in Cairo, I asked the local butcher for ground lamb. What I got didn't taste like lamb. On the next visit, I asked for ground beef. But that ground beef tasted like the Egyptian lamb. During a subsequent shopping trip, I desperately spoke my best Arabic and pointed emphatically to the hanging side of lamb. The butcher ignored me. Finally an Egyptian customer waiting in line with me stepped in to my rescue. He admonished the butcher for taking advantage of a guest in their country, and asked the butcher to stop selling me camel meat.
I had seen the herds of camels crossing major intersections on their way to the local slaughter houses. I knew the meat was out there. Now, it's here in Charlotte.
Where to find it: Camel Meat
Restaurant Depot, 2030 John Crosland Jr. Drive, is open to those in the trade. On their manifest is a collection of camel products: camel chuck tenders, halal silverside meat, halal shanks, halal cube rolls, and halal camel hump fat. (Camel humps do not store water: they are fatty.) Hump fat is used in a Somali soup.
Camel meat is common in northern Africa and Australia. While I have not yet seen camel as an ingredient on area menus, you can order camel meat through some of the halal markets in town.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the QC? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: [email protected] or 704-522-8334, ext 136.