Curious, I asked if they had wild boar. “No,” the young hipster of a butcher answered, “but a delivery is coming in tonight. It will be clean and ready tomorrow morning. How much do you want? A whole hog?”

Of course, he was boasting. Sanagan’s Meat Locker in the Kensington Market carries just about any kind of meat and poultry: rabbit, goat, venison, Berkshire, Tamworth and Iron Age pork, quail, capon, pheasant, name it. And you’ll find the animals’ prized internal organs here as well: tongue, heart, liver. I haven’t seen horse meat nor foie gras sold in the store, though. But I’m sure if I asked and PETA wasn’t looking, they could easily score some of this stuff for me. I also love that their meats are organic or naturally raised and locally sourced. The wild boar, for example, was from a small farm near Stratford, Ontario, raised in the same field and forest conditions as its natural habitat.

I was about 8 years old when I had my first taste of wild boar meat. My Tito Dado brought a bayong-ful from Cagayan Valley where he was assigned as captain in the Philippine Constabulary. My young mind conjured up images of a wild hunt, my uncle’s rifle still smoking, a huge, bristly but limp boar slung on his shoulders. I know now that my uncle always told tall stories, but the one about the boar that he stalked for days I believed completely. Tapang baboy rrrramo, he rolled his r as he laid the meat on the table. It was trophy meat, lean, deep red, with a taste as dark and wild as the forests it foraged.

This child never forgot.

Sanagan's at 206 Baldwin Street, Toronto. Open Monday-Saturday, 8am-7pm. Sunday, 12noon-5pm. 416-5939747


I found this recipe for Langgonisa using Baboy Ramo in Memories of Philippine Kitchen. This was the first time I was making sausages, so I opted to prepare and serve this hubad, or “naked”. Wrestle the wild boar into tiny pork casings? I wouldn’t dare.

2 lbs wild boar meat, finely chopped or ground

1 lb pork fatback, finely chopped or ground

2 tbsp achuete oil

2 tbsp rice wine

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1 tsp zest of lime

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Wild boar meat is lean, dark red, gamey - but low in cholesterol!

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix very well to incorporate all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Pan-fry using canola oil.

(Tweaks: Preferring langgonisa with less fat, I used pork belly instead of the pork fatback. For a spicy kick, I minced twice the amount of garlic and added half a teaspoon of chile flakes. I also stirred in a bit more rice vinegar and the juice of half the lime I zested since, well, it was there. Wild boar has a gamey taste and I thought a little more acid would temper this gaminess. And, oh, I used disposable gloves to mix everything by hand. That achuete oil could leave a nasty stain, you know.)