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Crocodile

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I had eaten crocodile once before at a game meat restaurant in Tokyo, though I doubt that there are any crocodiles actually in the country. At least not that I know of. In Australia there are plenty of these aquatic animals, so it’s no wonder they get eaten every once and a while. I had croc twice during my trip. Once as part of a native Australian food platter, where it was served cold with berries and once at an aboriginal show in Cairns where they served crocodile ribs.

The ribs were really amazing. I don’t think it tastes like chicken, like everyone always claims, but it definitely has a similar color and texture. I would say it tasted more like pork tenderloin than like chicken. Anyway, it tasted good, especially in combination with a delicious sweet and spicy barbeque sauce. The cold cuts with berries was perhaps less exciting, but still pretty tasty. Definitely something I’d like to see more off in the future.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 9

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Camembert & Fig Chips

mde

I love camembert and I love figs and the two make a great combination, but how will they pair as a potato chip flavor? I found out in Australia where famous chip distributor Kettle released a line of luxury potato chips called “sensations”. It certainly was not sensational. I couldn’t tell what flavor it was if I hadn’t seen the package. There was a certain sweetness, but that’s where it ended. They were good chips though in all honesty, just not what I expected.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6 

Finger Lime

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When I think of citrus that I knew growing up as a kid it was mostly lemon, orange and tangerines.  China has introduced me to quite a few more varieties such as kumquat and buddha’s hand. In Australia I added a few more to my repertoire including the so-called finger lime. This is an elongated citrus fruit resembling the shape of a finger, hence the name. The unique thing about this fruit is that the flesh comes out in small pieces, almost like pearls. This allows you to sprinkle them over a dish creating a pop of acidity.

I might have had it a couple of times during my trip to Australia, but the one that I remember most was at the Red Ochre restaurant in Adelaide. This restaurant specialises in native Australian produce. On my visit I was served a raw oyster with finger lime, which worked really well in bringing out the freshness of the oyster. The finger lime did indeed pop in your mouth, though perhaps was not as strong in flavor as I had imagined.

 Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8

KitKat Gold

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I haven’t been hiding my love of KitKats on this blog. We don’t usually find them here in China, so it’s often restricted to when I’m traveling. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I found many different varieties of KitKat in Japan, but during my trip to Australia I wasn’t disappointed either. On my first day in Oz, pretty much the first thing I bought was a so-called KitKat Gold. It was named that after its golden hue, but no actual gold was used. Instead the golden appearance was obtained by using caramel. They could have just called it a caramel KitKat, but what’s the fun in that. This KitKat, unlike some of the other ones I’ve had, really delivered on flavor. You could taste the caramel, and it was just a joy to eat.

Fear Factor 0 / Taste Test – 8

Fried duck egg

nfd

A duck egg might not sound all that unusual to you, but I had never eaten one before as it’s not a common ingredient in Holland. During my trip to Bali earlier this year I had breakfast at a little restaurant that’s run by the same people as the famous Locavore restaurant. Here I ordered waffles with bacon and fried duck eggs.

The first thing I noticed was that the yolks were considerably bigger than those of regular hen’s eggs. Though for some reason I was expecting a more orange colored yolk. Tasting it, I could not distinguish any difference from a regular hen’s egg. I know other people say they can, so perhaps I just have bad taste buds. Anyway, the dish itself was really nice with the combination of chewy bacon, fluffy waffles and velvety eggs.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6

Saltbush

rbt
rbt

Traveling is always a great opportunity to sample some of the local products. This has been definitely the case for my visit to Australia with plenty of locally sourced ingredients up for grabs such as kangaroo, emu and wallaby. However, it wasn’t just the protein that was intriguing, but the herbs and spices as well.

One of the more widely used herbs is saltbush. It is a leaf that is known for its salty taste, hence the name. I came across it on several occasions, but it was most prominent in that flatbread with kangaroo I wrote about earlier.

The leaves were fried till crispy and then scattered over the kangaroo for flavor and added texture. For texture, it definitely made sense. The crisp and crunch was a nice addition to an otherwise chewy experience. Flavor wise, however, I was a tad underwhelmed. I was expecting to be smacked in the face with salt, but there was hardly any of that. Maybe by frying it, it loses some of its saltiness.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 6

Mint Maltesers

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I might have mentioned before that it is hard to find a different version of Maltesers as I’ve only seen a handful of renditions over the years. To me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as perfection is a difficult thing to perfect. I really do think nothing’s better than a crispy crunchy Malteser. Australia seems to think otherwise as I not only found a raspberry flavored Malteser, but also a mint flavored one. Mint and chocolate is of course a classic combination, so it’s hardly original or risky, but it’s considered a classic for a reason. It’s just that damn good. I loved these minted Maltesers and wish they’d be released worldwide, but I’ll still take my originals any day.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 9

Rum raisin pretzel sticks

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smartcapture

Every once and a while I try out a new flavour of pretzel sticks or bread sticks such as the famous Japanese Pocky. In China they have recently added a rum raisin variety, which used to be my favorite ice cream flavor as a kid. An alcoholic in the making, perhaps. These sticks were somewhat reminiscent of that ice cream I remember so well, but the taste was not very intense. It was nice, but is nice ever really good enough?

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6

Pigs blood and liver sauce

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While in Bali I decided to pay a visit to Hujan Locale, a restaurant that prides itself in serving lesser known dishes from all over the Indonesian isles. Even though we had a reservation, we had to wait quite a bit for a table, which was a bit of a bummer, but some inventive cocktails at the bar softened the blow. Looking at the menu, there were lots of interesting dishes, but one in particular caught my eye. A confit pork belly in a sauce made of pig’s blood and liver.

The dish was presented nicely with some pork crackling and a fern tip salad, though it did all look a bit gray. Dreading the taste of the sauce I nibbled on a few bits of pork and salad before I was brave enough to try it. My initial thoughts were: “Hey, this isn’t that bad.” that slowly merged into: “Hey, this is actually pretty nice.” The sauce, though slightly iron-y, was also laced with andaliman pepper and other spices and overall had a rich flavor that complimented the pork belly quite well.

Fear Factor – 6 / Taste Test – 7

Kluwak

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The kluwak is an unusual type of nut from Indonesia that is deadly poisonous when eaten straight off the tree due to high levels of cyanide. The locals have found a way around this, however, by cooking the nuts and then burying them in ash for over a month. This leaves the flesh of the nut very soft and black, not unlike black garlic.

I had tried some of it in a few different places in Bali, including the renowned restaurant Mozaic. Here it was used to make a sauce, which was really nice and rich, but that didn’t really mean I’d like the nut itself as so many other ingredients were used. The beauty of this restaurants is, though, that they place all the local ingredients they use on your table for you to touch and smell, and in my case taste. I opened up one of the nuts, and tried a bit on its own. It really didn’t taste nutty at all, but there was a deep rick umami flavor, that was almost meaty. I can definitely see how this is a useful condiment for all kinds of meat dishes.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 7