As part of the Olympic festivities, I was also invited to the Aboriginal Food Showcase at the Pan Pacific. It was the opening night of the Kla-howya exhibit at the hotel. This was my first encounter with Aboriginal food culture, so I had no idea what to expect. And because there really wasn’t any benchmark to measure against, instead of reviewing the food, I will keep it short, making this more of a photo blog and let you take a glimpse of what I ate.
The Pan Pacific hotel lobby was sub-divided into several food stations that served the following items:
- Buffalo Liver
- Cat’s Tail (a water plant, not an actual tail of a cat)
- Goose Neck Barnacles (rather similar to clams)
- Milkweed Buds
- Quail’s Egg
- Rattle Snake
I kid you not – it was a wild menu! In addition to these, there were also regular items such as pork, shrimp, clam, crab, and oyster. I have to say, the menu was very meat-heavy. As much of a meat lover as I am, it was a bit too much. The only “normal” vegetables you could find were the Three Sisters Salad which included corn, beans and squash.
Other than the caribou and rabbit stews, most game meat were roasted. And of all the game meat, I enjoyed muskox the most – although honestly, muskox, venison, buffalo, elk, wappiti and bison have very similar texture and flavour. Rattle snake didn’t taste like chicken; it reminds me of over-cooked eel. It was a really tough piece of meat. I was also told that evening that fiddlehead ferns could be toxic if not cooked properly. I dropped my plate of Fiddlehead Salad as soon as I heard that.
Overall, it was an interesting food experience for me. Kudos to Daryle Ryo Nagata, Pan Pacific’s executive chef, for giving chef apprentices the opportunity to prepare this traditional aboriginal meal, broadening their culinary experience.