beef across the continents

If you’re ever travelling in the USA and you sit down in a restaurant and order a Porterhouse steak, don’t be surprised when they put a (probably oversized) T-bone down in front of you. And don’t be too taken aback if they have no idea what you mean when you want a piece of rump - in most of the US, it’s called a Round.

 

Just like Americans call a boot a trunk, or the Scots call tea “brew” (which can be so confusing when you thought you were getting a beer), terminology for various cuts of beef differ from country to country - and that’s just a couple of English examples. It gets far more complicated when you’re communicating in a whole other language. That’s why we thought it would be nice to demystify a few beef-related words and chat about a few unique delicacies from around the world.

Argentina

If someone offers you a Bife de Chorizo while you’re visiting Argentina, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re about to get served some tasty, spicy beef sausages. In fact, what will find its way to your plate is a sirloin steak. If someone offers you Asado, you’ll either be heading for an Argentinian braai, or you’ll be served ribs, you’ll just have to wait and see - in fact, the chances are you will be getting both, as the short rib is one of the favourite cuts of meat for Argentinians to throw on the grill.

England

England isn’t all roast beef and rain. One of the island nation’s favourite delicacies is black pudding - a sausage primarily composed of blood. They’re not the only ones who enjoy a blood sausage, either; it’s a very popular dish across South America, Europe and Asia… and yes, Africa too. Many South Africans pull up their noses at the idea, but a properly prepared morcilla, boudin, or blutwurst is very tasty. The Spanish and Italians even make a sweet version!

Jamaica

Anyone who’s ever enjoyed the crunch of chicken “walkie talkies” will know that even the foot of an animal can be savoury and delicious. A Jamaican favourite is Cow Heel Soup - and yes, that’s not just a name, it’s made with actual heels from cows.

Japan

Everyone’s heard of Kobe beef, but in Japan, it’s referred to as Wagyu - which literally translates as “Japanese Beef”. The cattle from which this meat comes are a uniquely Japanese breed, and the farmers who farm them are not keen to share their genetics with the non-Japanese. However, they are quite happy to allow us mere mortals to enjoy the rich, heavily marbled product of their careful breeding and incredible pampering. Just be warned, this beef has a staggeringly high fat content compared to other breeds - there is no such thing as lean Wagyu! You will be breaking your diet on this.

USA

When you think of American food - especially beef - the first thing most people think of is enormous steaks and hamburgers. But if you ever find yourself in the American Midwest, look out for Prairie Oysters. Yes, they are a bull’s testicles. No, they’re not playing a joke on you. Just ask the Australians - they love this one too.

France and Belgium

When they’re not enjoying a boudin, the French are very well known for Steak Tartare - raw, seasoned mince served with onions and capers, with a side of Worcestershire sauce. But that’s not the only raw beef dish the Europeans enjoy. France’s neighbouring Belgium has Filet Américain, which is ground beef mixed with various herbs and spices, then blended until it’s fairly smooth. This is frequently enjoyed spread on bread, like a paté.

 

There’s absolutely no reason why you should ever get bored of beef. There is an entire world of possibilities for how to prepare and enjoy, and, as always, we encourage you to spread your culinary wings and try new things.