What Does Hippo Meat Taste Like? Can You Eat Hippo Meat?

If you’ve ever wondered what hippo meat tastes like, you’re not alone. Hippos are a big part of the African ecosystem, and their meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. In this blog post, we’ll explore the taste and texture of hippo meat, as well as whether or not it’s safe to eat.

What Is Hippo Meat?

Hippo meat is the flesh of a hippopotamus, which is a large, semi-aquatic (that is why hippos are called river horses) mammal native to Africa. Hippos are herbivores, and their diet consists mostly of grasses and aquatic plants. Hippos are actually the third-largest land mammals in the world, behind elephants and rhinos. They can weigh up to six tons and grow up to 16 feet long!

Hippo meat is not easy to find and is illegal in many countries, including the USA. However, hippo meat is exported to Europe and Canada. In Africa, hippo meat is common and is prepared in many ways, including grilling, BBQing, frying over an open flame, boiling, or stewing. If you want to try real hippo meat and enjoy its high protein content, Africa is the best place to go!

In 1965, The New York Times even wrote that the population of hippos got to that point where they were ruining their surroundings and had to be rebuked. As a result, hippo steaks became a popular item of restaurants’ menu.

Even though hippo meat is scarce, it has a unique flavor that cannot be compared to any other type of meat. Let’s see what hippo meat tastes like.

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Hippopotamus Flavor Profile – What Does Hippo Meat Taste Like?

Hippo meat is a topic of debate. Some people say that it tastes like beef, while others say that it tastes like pork. Some people even claim that hippo meat tastes fishy. So what is the truth? What does hippo meat taste like?

Hippo meat has a rich gamey taste with subtle earthy and sweet notes. Hippo meat is chewy and tough, so it is often marinated before cooking. Hippo meat texture is similar to beef, but it is chewier. Hippo meat is not spicy or bitter and has pleasant nutty notes.

Hippo meat has a mild flavor with a slightly sweet taste. The texture of hippo meat is similar to beef, but it is more tender and flakier. When cooked properly, hippo meat can be quite delicious! Hippo meat can be cooked just like beef, pork, or venison – it can be boiled, fried, grilled, barbecued, slow-cooked, or broiled.

Some say that hippo meat is similar to beef, while others find the taste more akin to pork. In terms of texture, hippo meat is said to be quite tough and chewy. This is likely due to the fact that hippos are such large and muscular animals. One way to ensure that hippo meat is tender is to marinate it overnight before cooking. Another tip is to cook it slowly over low heat until it is falling-apart tender. Whether grilling, smoking, or slow-cooking, hippo meat is a delicious and unique choice for your next meal.

Can You Eat Hippo Meat?

Most people would probably balk at the thought of eating hippo meat. After all, these massive animals are more commonly associated with zoos than dinner tables. However, hippo meat is actually a popular delicacy in some parts of Africa. While it is certainly not for everyone, those who have tried it often describe the taste as being similar to beef or venison.

See also: Can You Eat Giraffe? What Does Giraffe Taste Like?

Of course, there are also some practical considerations to take into account before serving up a hippo steak. For one thing, hippos are known to be aggressive and dangerous animals, so hunters need to be very careful when approaching them. Secondly, hippo meat must be bought only from trusted suppliers to avoid food poisoning – there have been cases of anthrax poisoning after eating bacteria-contaminated hippo meat.

In addition, hippo meat is notoriously difficult to cook due to its tough and chewy texture. As a result, it is often necessary to slow-cook the meat for hours or even days in order to tenderize it.

Is Hippo Meat Legal in the USA?

Hippo meat is illegal in the USA, therefore, it is not exported from South Africa, and you cannot buy hippo meat in the country. If you see a hippo steak in the US, it was brought to the country illegally, meaning it was not stored and transported properly. All this could lead to food poisoning and sometimes even death due to deadly bacteria in the meat.

No matter how much you would like to try this exotic meat, do not buy hippo meat in the US. One dinner is not worth putting your life at stake!

See also: What Does Horse Meat Taste Like? How to Eat Horse Meat?

Is Hippo Meat Legal in Europe?

Unlike in the USA, hippo meat is legal in Europe and can be found in many exotic meat shops and even restaurants.

Is Hippo Meat Legal in Canada?

Hippo meat is legal in Canada and can be found in butcher shops or restaurants.

How to Cook Hippo Meat?

Hippo meat can be cooked like other red meat, including boiling, stewing, roasting, broiling, grilling, BBQing, or slow cooking. Hippo meat can be added to soups and meat and vegetable stews, paired with spices, broiled and served with rice, pasta, bread, or veggies.

Since hippo meat is fairly chewy and tough, it is best to marinate it before cooking. Any marinade will do, but I like mayo and spices the most as it tenderizes the meat and makes it juicier. I like slow-cooking hippo meat to break down all tough fibers and make it aromatic. However, it is important not to overcook it as the meat will become dry and chewy.

Pairing Hippo Meat – What Does Hippo Meat Go With?

Just like beef, pork, and venison, hippo meat goes well with:

  • Roasted or grilled vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Cornbread
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Eggplants
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Au gratin potatoes
  • Baked potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • French Onion Soup
  • Roasted sweet potatoes

When pairing hippo meat, the options are almost endless! Soups, stews, salads, or even sandwiches and burgers? You name it!


Hippo meat is a popular protein source in many parts of Africa, where the animals are hunted for their meat. Some believe that hippo meat could be a sustainable and humane alternative to traditional livestock, as hippos are not considered endangered and reproduce quickly.

Hippo meat is usually cooked over an open fire, and it has a deep, rich gamey flavor with sweet, nutty notes that many people find pleasurable. Hippo meat is high in protein and nutrients, making it a healthy option for those looking for an alternative to traditional red meats.

As such, hippo meat is not for everyone. However, if you are adventurous and open-minded when it comes to trying new things, you may just find that you enjoy the taste of this unique meat.

Hippo Meat Taste FAQ

Is hippo meat safe to eat?

When purchased from trusted suppliers, hippo meat is safe to eat. However, there were cases of anthrax poisoning from eating diseased hippo meat, and some even led to death. When buying hippo meat, ensure the animal was vaccinated. Hippo meat should always be eaten cooked.

Is hippo meat like pork?

The taste of hippo meat is often compared to that of pork and beef. However, the taste of hippo meat is more gamey and lean than pork, and it has a chewy, tough texture, so it is often marinated.

Is hippo meat halal?

Hippo meat is halal since hippos are herbivores, so their diet consists of grasses and aquatic plants.

Where to buy hippo meat?

Hippo meat can be bought online from exotic meat markets or on African markets. Hippo meat is exported to Canada and Europe and can be found in local meat shops. Hippo meat is illegal in the US, so you can’t buy it here.

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