For those raised in South America, close to the lush Amazon rainforest, iguana is a local delicacy. While it may seem strange to North American palates, there’s nothing odd about it. Iguana, like lowland paca stew, monkey, wild bird, and insects, are just another delicious meal.
If iguana is inaccessible to you and you’re curious about the taste, there are a few things you can compare it to. That way, you’ll get an idea of what iguana tastes like.
Iguana tastes like a cooked hen or Peking roast duck. It has a texture similar to chicken. It is slightly tougher than chicken, and not the least bit gamey.
What Does Iguana Taste Like?
Roasted iguana is a regular sight in eateries near dense jungles and rainforests. It’s a delicacy in South America, and definitely worth trying. In South Florida, it’s legal to catch and eat iguana, so you’re likely to find it there as well.
The taste of iguana is comparable to a peking duck. It is savory and meaty, without a lot of grease. There’s a subtle earthiness to the flavor that is reminiscent of game hens. It isn’t considered very gamey.
In terms of flavor, whether or not it ‘tastes like chicken’ seems to be a matter of opinion. Some say that it’s like chicken ‘but better’, with a more mild, interesting taste.
It is also compared to eating frog. If you’ve ever tried frog’s legs, you’ll know it has a somewhat shrimp-like taste, only slightly gamier. This is often compared to the taste of iguana.
Much like chicken, however, it is all down to how you cook and season it. It’s no mystery that chicken can be incredibly bland without a dash of spices. Cooking iguana with paprika, oregano, and garlic can highlight the tasty, meaty flavors.
A common way to eat iguana is shredded up in a salad. This is similar to the way you’d find chicken in a salad. The tender meat mixes well with the leafy greens, and pairs excellently with a tangy dressing. Vinaigrettes are especially tasty with iguana.
The texture of roasted iguana is soft and chewy. Some parts of the animal may be tougher than others, with the ‘breast’ tending to be slightly softer. Roasting it will add a smokiness to the flavor as well.
Be careful when eating iguana; it can have a lot of small bones, especially around the ribs. If you’re deboning it, take care to do it correctly. Check the meat over very thoroughly. If you’re worried that you didn’t get all of the bones out, chew slowly. Swallowing a bone can be dangerous.
When cooked, iguana has a somewhat ‘meaty’ smell, but nothing out of the ordinary from cooking meat. The scent is somewhat like the aroma of cooked shrimp.
Iguana is a delicious food that you can find in South America, and in parts of Florida. It is a chewy, tender meat, that can stand up well to seasoning. Some say it tastes like chicken, while others deny this.
As for what iguana really tastes like, it’s comparable to frog’s legs. Somewhat aquatic tasting with a hint of fowl. It’s also similar to duck or game hen.