Although often bred rather than hunted, the three most popular game meats served up in the region’s restaurants are goose, venison and quail. Goose is a real favourite with the Chinese, either roasted or as a core ingredient in many classic dishes. In the West, goose is associated with feasts and religious holidays, as well as being a common ingredient in game pies.
Cooking wild goose presents chefs with the problem of judging a bird’s age, for this reason, many recipes call for slower clay pot-style technique or methods that retain the juices, like wrapping in bacon. At about 5-6kg, this versatile bird is much larger than a duck and just as rich in taste.
Venison, meanwhile, has a flavour and texture similar to beef but is much leaner. Steaks are the most common cut and are generally served medium rare in rich sauces. As with all lean meats, overcooking makes the meat tough. Most beef recipes can be adapted for venison with venison ceviche, for example, being a real favourite. Minced venison is a great lean beef substitute.
The last of the trio is the diminutive quail. Something like a flavoursome mini chicken in both texture and appearance, there are over 100 different species of wild quail, mostly in Asia and North America. Quail are especially delicious roasted whole with a nice, crispy skin, easily achieved by rubbing salt, pepper and olive oil into the skin, then roasting for 8-10 minutes at 200C. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before eating.