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12 Bold Dishes to Cross Off the MPLS Meat Bucket List

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The Midwest isn't often seen as a place to explore the culinary world's outer reaches but that doesn't mean locals don't enjoy trying new things. Let's not forget that Andrew Zimmern, Bizarre Foods aficionado, calls Minnesota home. Move on from Juicy Lucys, gyros, and smoked trout— it's now time to delve into food's underbelly, literally. Here is a handy guide to some of the city's more extreme meat dishes.

Got something else worth trying? Leave a comment and let us know.
—Theresa Swaney


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HauteDish

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Not quite ready to venture all the way down the extreme meat rabbit hole? Then Haute Dish’s General Tso’s sweetbreads are a great choice. These sweetbreads— thymus organ for the uninitiated— are slathered in that familiar spicy-sweet sauce and fried up into bite-sized crunchy pieces.

Little Szechuan

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When you are in the mood for something different, head to Little Szechuan, open the menu, and point. Jelly Fish? Check. Chicken Feet? Beef tendon? Pork intestines and kidney? Check, check, check. Want more than one? Try the Szechuan Adventure, a hot pot with mixed meats and vegetables.

Butcher & the Boar

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It is no surprise that Butcher & The Boar has some interesting dishes on the menu— the name alone hints at curious items. From chicken-fried veal brains and wild boar headcheese to seared Hawaiian marlin, there is a lot of flesh to explore at this upscale eatery. For a simple but unique treat, order the wild boar hot link, dip it in mustard, and enjoy.

New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus

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Glancing over New Bohemia’s menu, it appears to be your average Central European nap-inducing fare. But stare for even a second longer and you realize this sausage and beer hall isn’t restraining itself by tradition. In the adventurous sausage section, one can find sausages made from elk, duck, buffalo, boar, alligator, and the kicker: a rattlesnake and rabbit jalapeño sausage.

Lu's Sandwiches

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Cold cut bánh mi sandwiches are found at a few Vietnamese shops around town. A visit to Lu’s Sandwiches on Eat Street is necessary to enjoy a top-notch bánh mi stuffed with chả lụa, a dense steamed pork roll, and headcheese, a roll made from the ears, tendons, skin, and other pig parts.

El Taco Riendo

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South-of-the-border cuisine sees its fair share of extreme meat options. Visit El Taco Riendo in Northeast to enjoy a plethora of meats in your standard taco. Look for beef tongue, beef tripe, and pork rind tacos served with soft corn tortillas and cilantro, onions, and salsa.

Himalayan Restaurant

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A staple of Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine, yak meat most closely resembles beef, but is naturally lower in fat and cholesterol. Of course when Himalayan Restaurant wraps the yak meat in dough and deep-fries it to a golden brown to make their Kothe dumplings, it doesn’t really matter how healthy it used to be. You can also get the yak meat in the steamed momo dumplings.

Safari Express

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Safari Express in the Midtown Global Market offers camel burgers to any passer-by willing to try. Marinated overnight in spices, topped with a slice of pineapple, and placed on a Salty Tart bun, Safari’s camel burger gives this majestic creature a whole new perspective.

Dilla's Ethiopan restaurant

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While Dilla’s in Cedar Riverside might not be your go-to Ethiopian eatery, it sure doesn’t shy away from the raw meat department. A dish called Kurt Sega is simply “raw meat” served with spicy red pepper sauce. Or try Dulcet, a mix of lamb tripe, liver, red meat, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and Ethiopian butter. Of course, it all comes with spongy injera so that no bite will be missed.

Hong Kong Noodle

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There are legitimately hundreds of dishes to choose from at Hong Kong Noodles. Among them is the crowd-pleasing roast pork and smoked eel fried rice. The rich, smoky, oily flavor of the eel is matched only by the succulent pork and comfort of the familiar fried rice. Visit late on the weekend— it’s open until 2 a.m.— for a culinary and cultural experience.

Bar La Grassa

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Trying to impress the in-laws? Stop by Bar La Grassa for a few antipasti before dinner. The menu boasts items like chicken and foie gras polpettone, or meatloaf. Next, pick from grilled sweetbread kebabs or chicken liver mousse.

Sea Change

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Sometimes referred to as sea hedgehogs, sea urchins are small spherical marine animals littered with spikes. Luckily, Sea Change found a way past these spikes to find the animal’s prized uni. Sea Change serves the delicacy on a piece of toast with fennel butter and citrus chutney.

HauteDish

Not quite ready to venture all the way down the extreme meat rabbit hole? Then Haute Dish’s General Tso’s sweetbreads are a great choice. These sweetbreads— thymus organ for the uninitiated— are slathered in that familiar spicy-sweet sauce and fried up into bite-sized crunchy pieces.

Little Szechuan

When you are in the mood for something different, head to Little Szechuan, open the menu, and point. Jelly Fish? Check. Chicken Feet? Beef tendon? Pork intestines and kidney? Check, check, check. Want more than one? Try the Szechuan Adventure, a hot pot with mixed meats and vegetables.

Butcher & the Boar

It is no surprise that Butcher & The Boar has some interesting dishes on the menu— the name alone hints at curious items. From chicken-fried veal brains and wild boar headcheese to seared Hawaiian marlin, there is a lot of flesh to explore at this upscale eatery. For a simple but unique treat, order the wild boar hot link, dip it in mustard, and enjoy.

New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus

Glancing over New Bohemia’s menu, it appears to be your average Central European nap-inducing fare. But stare for even a second longer and you realize this sausage and beer hall isn’t restraining itself by tradition. In the adventurous sausage section, one can find sausages made from elk, duck, buffalo, boar, alligator, and the kicker: a rattlesnake and rabbit jalapeño sausage.

Lu's Sandwiches

Cold cut bánh mi sandwiches are found at a few Vietnamese shops around town. A visit to Lu’s Sandwiches on Eat Street is necessary to enjoy a top-notch bánh mi stuffed with chả lụa, a dense steamed pork roll, and headcheese, a roll made from the ears, tendons, skin, and other pig parts.

El Taco Riendo

South-of-the-border cuisine sees its fair share of extreme meat options. Visit El Taco Riendo in Northeast to enjoy a plethora of meats in your standard taco. Look for beef tongue, beef tripe, and pork rind tacos served with soft corn tortillas and cilantro, onions, and salsa.

Himalayan Restaurant

A staple of Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine, yak meat most closely resembles beef, but is naturally lower in fat and cholesterol. Of course when Himalayan Restaurant wraps the yak meat in dough and deep-fries it to a golden brown to make their Kothe dumplings, it doesn’t really matter how healthy it used to be. You can also get the yak meat in the steamed momo dumplings.

Safari Express

Safari Express in the Midtown Global Market offers camel burgers to any passer-by willing to try. Marinated overnight in spices, topped with a slice of pineapple, and placed on a Salty Tart bun, Safari’s camel burger gives this majestic creature a whole new perspective.

Dilla's Ethiopan restaurant

While Dilla’s in Cedar Riverside might not be your go-to Ethiopian eatery, it sure doesn’t shy away from the raw meat department. A dish called Kurt Sega is simply “raw meat” served with spicy red pepper sauce. Or try Dulcet, a mix of lamb tripe, liver, red meat, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and Ethiopian butter. Of course, it all comes with spongy injera so that no bite will be missed.

Hong Kong Noodle

There are legitimately hundreds of dishes to choose from at Hong Kong Noodles. Among them is the crowd-pleasing roast pork and smoked eel fried rice. The rich, smoky, oily flavor of the eel is matched only by the succulent pork and comfort of the familiar fried rice. Visit late on the weekend— it’s open until 2 a.m.— for a culinary and cultural experience.

Bar La Grassa

Trying to impress the in-laws? Stop by Bar La Grassa for a few antipasti before dinner. The menu boasts items like chicken and foie gras polpettone, or meatloaf. Next, pick from grilled sweetbread kebabs or chicken liver mousse.

Sea Change

Sometimes referred to as sea hedgehogs, sea urchins are small spherical marine animals littered with spikes. Luckily, Sea Change found a way past these spikes to find the animal’s prized uni. Sea Change serves the delicacy on a piece of toast with fennel butter and citrus chutney.

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