Australia

Eating kangaroo – reprise

Posted by Fuchsia on July 10, 2013
Environment, Food and health, Food safety, Unusual delicacies / 6 Comments

My piece on the Australian relationship with eating kangaroo meat seems to have stirred up a lot of interest and emotion! It was one of the most read and shared articles on the BBC news website throughout the day it was published, and I received a fair number of tweets, emails and comments about it, roughly divided between people who agreed with what I said and those who didn’t. Continue reading…

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Eating your national emblem

Posted by Fuchsia on June 30, 2013
Chinese cuisine, Cooking, Environment, Unusual delicacies / 6 Comments

You can read my piece about the Australian hang-up about eating kangaroo meat here, on the BBC website. And if you like, listen to a different version on From Our Own Correspondent here – it’s the last recording, towards the end of the programme.

Of course, Australian’s reluctance to eat their most distinctive local meat is not particularly surprising, given the deep irrationality of human food choices. Most people in the West, for example, will eat shrimps but not insects, pork but not dog, and beef but not horse meat. History is littered with examples of societies that suffered because they wouldn’t change their eating habits, like the mediaeval Norse community on Greenland, who starved to death because they refused to eat fish and seal like the natives, but insisted on maintaining a tradition of cattle farming that was unsuited to their fragile northern habitat.

Kangaroo meat shop in Adelaide

The interesting question is how much people will be prepared to change their eating habits to accommodate climate change and rising global population. If the UN has its way, we’ll soon by eating insects...

Above, on the right, by the way, you can see my own cooking experiments: Sichuanese kangaroo tail soup; stir-fried wallaby with yellow chives; wallaby with cumin; and mapo tofu with minced wallaby.

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A wild breakfast in Adelaide

Posted by Fuchsia on March 21, 2013
Unusual delicacies / 2 Comments

This excellent breakfast, enjoyed at the Big Table café in Adelaide’s Central Market, might look like a run-of-the-mill fry-up, but it’s not. I’d been browsing the market in search of local specialities, and had inevitably spent a while at the famous kangaroo shop, and another stall called Something Wild where they sell kangaroo, crocodile, goat, buffalo and camel meat. It was my last day in Adelaide, and I was dying to try some of these unusual ingredients, but none of the local cafes appeared to serve them (I think I’d only had crocodile once before, actually in a Cantonese restaurant in West London). But the incredibly kind staff at the Big Table, where I’d eaten breakfast a few days before, agreed to cook a couple of speciality sausages for me as a substitute for the bacon and eggs in their ‘Big Brekkie’. So here they are: a kangaroo country sausage from the kangaroo shop, and a crocodile sausage from Something Wild. And I’m happy to report that they were both absolutely delicious, and not disturbing in any way. The kangaroo banger was dark, juicy and peppered with fragrant herbs (it didn’t taste gamey at all), while the crocsausage was gorgeously juicy and tender, a little like chicken but lighter in texture. Both were wild, sustainable, free-range meats – and in the case of the crocodile, I’d say it’s better to eat it before it eats you. Continue reading…

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Dumpling heaven in Adelaide

Posted by Fuchsia on March 19, 2013
Chinese food culture, Dumplings / 2 Comments

Afghan mantu

I’ve long been fascinated by the connection between Turkish mantı dumplings – and all their relatives across central and eastern Asia – and Chinese mantou (my paper on the subject from a Chinese angle will be published this summer in the Proceedings of the Oxford Food Symposium, along with a paper from the Turkish/Central Asian point of view by the Turkish food expert Aylin Oney Tan). So I was completely thrilled to come across these Afghan mantu in a gorgeous Afghan restaurant in Adelaide – the Parwana Afghan Restaurant. It’s a family business just outside the city centre where the warmth of the welcome and the charm of the ambience match the deliciousness of the food (I only came across it because the daughter of the owners was a volunteer at the Adelaide Writers’ Week and came to talk to me after one of my events, but it turns out to be highly rated by the local restaurant website, urbanspoon.com). Continue reading…

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Chinese food in Sydney

Posted by Fuchsia on March 27, 2010
Chinese cuisine, Chinese restaurants, Ingredients, Restaurants / 3 Comments

There’s a piece by me in the Financial Times today, about the way Chinese and Asian food has been localised in Sydney…

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