Adam Liaw asks are we really what we eat?
In his new book, Destination flavour Adam Liaw examines the many cuisines of the world, so who better to ask, ‘what is Australia’s food identity?’
The discussion on Australia’s food identity in this country might be the longest conversation we’ve ever had with the fewest words spoken. There’s no doubt we love our food, but we also find it difficult to put our finger on exactly what it is.
Have you ever been asked by somebody abroad about Australian food, only to mumble something like “Oh, we eat all kinds of stuff…” and change the subject? How can we describe the taste of home?
There are, of course, things we do very well. Our diversity of cuisine is the best in the world. We might assume the rest of the world eats as widely and as well as we do, but they don’t even come close. Our cuisine has drawn from all over for centuries, and we flit from one inspiration to the next with barely a thought.
A chiko roll and a couple of dim sims might not seem the most exciting example of Australian food, but in the 1980s, for the descendants of Irish stew and siu mai respectively to sit together so comfortably and mainstream? It wouldn’t be possible in any other country.
Others may match us for British, American and European influence, but nowhere covers the breadth of Asian cuisines as well as we do, and that includes the countries of Asia.
The overall quality of our produce is also truly impressive. There are many countries with greater biodiversity and where many ingredients surpass our quality, but as a complete package, if I could visit one good greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger in any country to make a meal, I’d do that right here at home.
For the full story and recipes from Adam, pickup a copy of the Sept/Oct 2018 Selector issue from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.
OUT NOW: Destination Flavour People and Places by Adam Liaw (Hardie Grant, RRP $50).