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johung

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  1. It is very different yet again in NZ. We tend to have tarakihi, lemon fish (shark), hoki, blue cod, snapper, Dory, or gurnard as the fish. Blue cod or Dory are pricier and also harder to find. Strike it lucky you get fish that is lightly crumbed on the day it is prepared, but strike it unlucky you get an overcrumbed mess that has also been crumbed for who knows how long ago. But no matter how poorly the crumb is made, the fish and chips are almost always made to order. This is one thing that NZ tourists to Britain on their OE always hold their noses over the British varieties of fish and chips.
  2. Robert Oliver has published a new cookbook Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific covering a topic rarely discussed - the cuisines of South Pacific Island nations. 6 countries are selected: Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. The cuisines are very much in the Madhur Jaffrey vein which is what people actually eat at their homes and entertain guests, rather than tourist fares you see in resort hotel buffets. The cost is NZ$75.00, which is probably one of the most expensive NZ cookbooks I have ever seen (The French Cafe by Simon Wright tops it at NZ$110.00), but it is valuable, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before it is also available in Australia, the US and Britain because this subject has been very poorly covered in English.
  3. Pinging an old thread started by myself, there is a new book published in New Zealand last week about cuisines of a number of Pacific Island nations including Tahiti. Me'a kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific is written by Robert Oliver. In addition to being tourist destinations, NZ's traditional links with the Pacific Island nations (Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau are still overseas dependent territories of NZ, while Samoa was a former colony, and Tonga and Fiji have had a very close relationship with NZ politically) and there are in fact more Pacific Islanders living in Auckland than the Pacific Island nations combined, means the Islands are regarded in NZ as being brothers and which NZ has a responsibility to aid. http://www.randomhouse.co.nz/data/media/documents/press%20releases/April_2010/Me%27a_Kai_PR.pdf "...Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands to track down the most skilled local cooks. Adapting their recipes for modern kitchens, this outstanding, landmark book brings together a treasury of South Pacific cooking, arranged country by country, with 90-plus recipes and stunning photos that capture the essence of the Pacific. And there’s much more than just recipes. As well as showcasing traditional and modern South Pacific cuisine, Me’a Kai, meaning “come eat” in Tongan, covers fascinating encounters with local cooks and food producers. Flipping through its pages is like going on holiday! And it will inspire readers to seek out local food on their next Pacific holiday. It is a book with a clear mission: to support sustainable tourism in the South Pacific...Robert’s goal is to improve the quality of food offered to the South Pacific region’s tourism market and to contribute towards rural prosperity in the Pacific by creating an increased demand for locally grown foods. Underpinned by a philosophy of sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cuisine, Me’a Kai is much more than just a cookbook, it is a fundamental part of this process."
  4. I have been to Detroit a few years ago as I have family living there. From what I gathered Detroit is far far from Melbourne in terms of food quality and variety. Detroit is no Melbourne because it is primarily a 2nd/3rd tier city and not a 1st tier type of city - indeed I dare say Melbourne is the same level of international city and urban and cultural significance as San Francisco or Chicago. The average suburban food fare at shopping centres' food courts, such as at Somerset Collection, is vastly better than the comparable suburban food fare in Melbourne, sure, but the urban dining scene is rather lacking. I believe there are a few good restaurants serving good Greek food and good soul food and barbecues, but there is nothing like Nobu Melbourne, Flower Drum or Bistro Vue. I think others have more information about the special eats for example, and I had been to suburban chain restaurants for most of the meals I had when I was in Detroit. Still, keep an open eye, because there should be some good surprises cropping up. If you are into Chinese food, give Hong Hua a try. It's no Flower Drum but is still fairly good and is on par with Chinese food in Auckland, for example: http://honghuafinedining.com/ Hong Hua Fine Chinese Dining 27925 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334 Hope this helps. PS My relatives went to Sydney last year and they were absolutely wowed by the food compared to Detroit, even if they didn't step into the likes of Neil Perry or Matt Moran or Justin North's restaurants. This would show how great the gulf between food in Melbourne and Detroit would be considering Melbourne has superior food than Sydney.
  5. johung

    German Cookbooks

    Hi all, I'm trying to locate some good and comprehensive German cookbooks in English. I looked up at amazon.com and it appears a lot are rather old and seems to omit dishes from the former East Germany (GDR). I have Konemann's Culinaria Germany but obviously it can't attempt to cover everything. Does anyone have good suggestions in addition to Mimi Sheraton's The German Cookbook or Nadia Hassini's Spoonfuls of Germany? It needs not be confined to homestyle cooking only, any good book covering dishes that are more restaurant, or bakery/cafe type would be welcome. Thanks,
  6. Just to prop up this old thread again, does anyone know there will be a trimmed and reduced version of Thai Street Food any time soon? For example, cutting most of the picture galleries and leaving just the recipes and recipe photos, and reprint it in A4 size for A$40.00. There will be plenty of market for such books... I guess a reason I was (and am still) negative towards the book is: imagine a publisher in Asia publishes an A3-sized coffee table book showing artistic pictures featuring American diners, fast food chains, clam shacks, hot dog stands, and lists recipes for fried chicken, burgers, French fries, lobster rolls, and apple pies etc, asking for US$70. Would you think it is worth the cost?
  7. This is quite useful information Adam Balic, and interestingly David Veart touched on the subject of people differentiating themselves from other socio-economic groups (that is common/polite circle NZ speak for class) in the NZ contexts in his 2008 work First, Catch Your Weka. Traditionally New Zealand had an enforced form of egalitarianism, which means that everyone cooked largely the same dishes whether they were upper class stuffy people living in Fendalton in Christchurch or welfare beneficiaries living in Mangere in Auckland. There was a very big prejudice against any deviation from lower middle class tastes. So everyone would prepare scones, colonial goose (roasted stuffed lamb legs), etc. And also don't forget that for example, in 1946 NZ's population was something 98% European/white, and 99% of "Europeans" were from the British Isles or their descendants. An implication of this is that both the rich and poor read and cooked from The Edmonds Cookbook, and cookbooks published in NZ served the whole community. This only changed in the 1970s when non-British influence started to creep into NZ and it became easier to purchase non-NZ cookbooks. And in the 1980s, it finally became more acceptable for people to exhibit different culinary preferences according to class and wealth. So it fact, NZ was rather unique that there was indeed a uniform national cooking style up until a generation ago.
  8. Hi all, This is aiming to stimulate discussions on what actually a national cuisine is. I got myself involved in editing the Wikipedia entry on New Zealand's cuisine at one stage. Before we move on, NZ's traditional diet is basically derived from 19th century-1960 British cuisine, pavlova, meat plus three vegetables (usually roast lamb legs, beef, or pork) for main meals, and baked cakes, scones or biscuits/cookies at teatime, fish and chips, and meat pies. From the 1980s onwards, the Pacific (Asian) and Mediterranean ingredients became progressively more popular, such that you probably see butter chicken and sushi being eaten just as frequently as fish and chips. I remember that I noted antipasto has become very widespread in NZ eating cuisine in the Wikipedia article. A PhD academic from the University of Auckland disputed my entry, and she argued that anything "new" technically isn't representative of NZ cuisine per se, because even though they may be eaten in NZ, they are not iconic of the nation in the first place, and secondly, what is touted as popular doesn't automatically follow they are really popular and served across the whole spectrum of socio-economic status. In that sense, we would have to go back to the old fish and chips, meat pies, pavlova, meat and three vegs when we talk about NZ cuisine, but which if you read the current cookbooks published in NZ, they don't have much of these dishes anymore and they do look pretty old-fashioned? Does anyone have more comments? That Cuisine of New Zealand is a much narrower definition. If we follow the "must be iconic" argument, we can argue 90% of foodies food can't be counted as national cuisines at all. Thanks,
  9. An observation I have towards the local food sentiment. If you were to tell people over in Hong Kong to "eat local", 99.9% of the people will want to rush you to a psychiatric ward for assessment on any signs of mental degeneration. In much of Asia, local food movement simply doesn't exist.
  10. johung

    I'm Off to Asia

    Sorry to be off topic and a bit too forward, but I would have thought Hong Kong has good cocktailbar choices as well. May I ask if there is any reason you are skipping HK in your travel plan?
  11. Hi all, I found it interesting that there are so few good new books written by current good French chefs published into English. When you look at the 1950s to 1980s you literally see every French chef with good names and famous restaurants rushing to publish English translations of their cookbooks. For example, Raymond Oliver, Paul Bocuse, Michel Guérard, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, all have their signature cookbooks published and English translations are always available. You can even locate Escoffier's translations. It is the same with pastries Fast forward to 2010, and I found it extremely frustrating to locate any good new French chefs books from the current crop of cooks. Yes, you can find Alain Ducasse's signature compandium books, but he published 5 for the whole Grand Livres de Cuisine series, and only the main book and dessert are available in English. For Joel Robuchon, I haven't been able to find any of his restaurant books in English. And Guy Savoy only has one "cooking for home" type of book published in English. Guy Martin: same case, just one vegetable cookbook in English. Pierre Gagnaire: he has one yes, but it is a very thin "showcase" publication rather than somerthing like his lifetime complete testimony type of cookbook running to over 900 pages long. Is there a reason why it is now so? Contrast this with the English-speaking world, where every famous restaurant chef and 90% of good chefs have thir restaurant signature cookbook. From Martin Bolsey in Wellington to Daniel Boulud in New York, from Thomas Keller in North California to Neil Perry in Sydney, from Paul Wilson in Melbourne to Gordon Ramsay, you literally seee cookbooks everywhere, almost to the point of overflow.
  12. I think these 3 weakness are still there despite we have entered the iPad era, and yet to overcome: 1. Digital media, because of their search capabilities, means you jump straight into reading what you need, but you will never have the urge to explore other dishes in the book. 2. A lot of people read not just to obtain information, but to "feel" the information as well. If using the modernist terms, it is a combination of left and right brain activities. I personally find it hard to "feel" the reading process if it is read on electronic media. 3. A lot of people will concur as well, you will always miss reading something if it appears in front of an electronic display, versus of reading it on paper. (I'm a heavy electrical engineer in my day job, and trust me, no matter how convenient electronic media are, you will always find you missed reading the entire sections when you read the hardbound copy of an engineering standard versus reading it on your computer screen or PDA)
  13. I think so too, although I would say it is modified by the Californian obsessions with seasonal local "natural" (i.e. organic non-GE) produce and lighter preparation (which Californian cooking adopted from Mediterranean, chiefly southern France and Italy), with a couple of Pacific Rim style dishes thrown in as well. Compare that with Paul Prudhomme or Marcelle Bienvenue and it is obvious to see Link's quite influenced by Californian cuisine. Not surprising since Link developed much of his craft in San Francisco.
  14. This would be news to me if true. I would have thought scores of Chinese restaurants in Vancouver and Torinto, that few Westerns are aware of, that are equal to or better than Flower Drum in Melbourne.
  15. One thing that caught my eye is the description by Helen Rosner that "keep it simple" as related to just "a flash in the pan" quick preparation method may well be over in its excesses. I remember reading a culinary journal of an anonymous British chef about his experience of learning to cook in France that said largely the same thing. Judging on the sales and popularity of more traditional French cooking at bookstores and online booksellers, I guess we may be on the brink of a partial return to a more elaborate, more sauce-involved, more transforming style of cooking compared with the trend in the English-speaking world from the mid 1970s until now.
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