Interested to know what peacock tastes like? Some people say peafowl tastes a lot like turkey, while others say it’s very similar to other game birds like pheasants and quail. If you’ve not tasted any of those meats, it’s going to be hard to explain!
Do We Eat Peacock and Peafowl Meat?
First of all, I have to clear something up. Peacocks are male peafowl. Peahens are female peafowl.
There is a common misconception that peacock is the name for all peafowl. I think this is because it’s the peacocks that have the magnificent tail feather display, so they’re much more commonly seen than peahens.
If you were to eat peafowl, it would more than likely actually be a peahen than it would a peacock.
Anyway, back on the topic of eating peacocks (or peafowl), the answer is; yes, we do eat peacocks. At least, in most countries, it’s fine to do so.
There are a couple of exceptions that I know of;
- China - the Green Peafowl is on the list of endangered species and protected under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They do eat the Blue Indian peafowl in China, however. In fact, I was able to find some farms dedicated to raising peafowl for human consumption in China.
- India - The Blue Indian Peafowl is the national bird of India, so it will come as no surprise that they do not eat it there. It has a really interesting history and a strong connection with various gods and some other spiritual meanings. It’s illegal to kill or eat the Indian Peafowl there and is actually punishable with time in jail.
In the U.S and most of the western world as far as I can tell, it’s perfectly fine to eat peacock meat if you so wish to do so.
On the other hand, finding peacock meat isn’t so easy - and it’s not cheap. If you want to buy some meat yourself from an exotic market, expect to pay well over $100.
Dining in a restaurant, peacock is also not easily found on the menu. If you do find it, it’s expensive and you might even need to let the chef know you’re going to be ordering it ahead of time.
What Does Peacock Taste Like?
It depends who you ask, but generally speaking, if you ask someone who has tried peacock what it tastes like, they’ll tell you it tastes ‘gamey’.
This is because peacocks are game birds. Game birds are wild birds like pheasants and quail that are typically hunted for sport or food.
Peacocks aren’t commonly hunted, but they do live in the wild in many places in the world and are wild by nature.
The taste of any meat is influenced by the animal’s diet. You can test this for yourself, just try some chicken raised on premium feed that was allowed to free-range and compare it with commercially produced chicken.
There is no comparison, honestly. Chicken or any animal that is allowed to exercise freely and eat foods that are natural to them tastes better. It’s been tested and proven time and time again.
This is also why it costs more to buy organic or free-range chicken though.
So, keep in mind that peacocks raised for their meat in captivity will not taste exactly the same as wild peacocks.
It will still taste more gamey than chicken though. But if you do get the chance to try some peafowl, I’d ask how it was raised to help you get a better understanding of why it tastes how it does.
Why Is Peacock Meat so Rare?
The reason why peacock meat is so rare comes down to basic supply and demand economics.
There is not a lot of demand for peafowl meat, so therefore it’s expensive to produce. Because it’s expensive to produce, not many people are buying it.
It’s a vicious circle, but it makes perfect sense and is the same rule that applies to a lot of foods and consumables.
It’s the opposite of chicken meat, for example. (Almost) everyone loves chicken, and it’s in huge demand.
So much so, that farmers and scientists have selectively bred chickens for years to be bigger, fatter, faster to grow to butchering age, and essentially quicker and less expensive to get the meat on the supermarket shelves.
The reasoning runs a little deeper with peafowls, however. A couple of the reasons why peacock meat is in such less demand are because:
- Taste preference - Gamey meat is a preferred taste and not for everyone. Personally, I like it, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to eat it as often. Chicken on the other hand is much more palatable to a wider range of people.
- Cost - It costs a lot more money and takes a lot longer to raise a peacock to butchering age than a chicken. They also yield a lot less meat than chicken, so peacock is always going to serve a different part of the market.
I hope I’ve helped explain what peacock or peafowl meat tastes like. Obviously, what anything tastes like is a little subjective and will vary from person to person.
But despite peacock being extremely rare across most of the world, it’s perfectly edible and I’m yet to find anyone who didn’t like the taste.
It’s more of gamey meat than chicken and some other meats we eat more regularly. For all you foodies out there, peafowl is one to add to your bucket list and try if you ever get the chance.
Image credits - Photo by Nabih El Boustani on Unsplash