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Lifestyle : Taste of Asia 2012
1HERSA1 E018 To be published Tuesday September 25, 2012 The Sydney Morning Herald Good Living Section will publish a special feature on the exotic experiences of uniquely flavoured foods originating from the Middle East. To advertise or for more information please contact Tina Patchell on 02 9282 3303 or firstname.lastname@example.org Booking Deadline: Tuesday 18th September 2012 A Taste of Middle East jimmy liks 10 years. Thank you Sydney! 186-188 victoria street potts point tel 02 8354 1400 www.jimmyliks.com now open friday lunch Szechuan Garden Restaurant MODERN SPICY CHINESE Shop 1 / 599 Pacific Highway, St Leonards (02) 9438 2568 | 0412 386 298 www.szechuangardenrestaurant.com.au Tapas and wine (Gub Glam) Neutral Bay 1&2, 4-6 Rangers Rd Ph: 9953 8988 or 9953 9988 Manly Shop b 11-21 Wentworth St Ph: 9976 6488 or 9976 6599 Lunch: Thursday to Sunday 12 Noon - 3pm Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday 6pm - 10pm AG5381138AA-110912 18 Tuesday, September 11, 2012 smh.com.au good living taste of Asia special report Adventure bears fruit As spring arrives, it's time to try new varieties of exotic produce, writes Ellen Connolly. Supplies and demand . . . Fiat Malaniyom at his Moore Park stall. Photo: Steven Siewert A t Fiat Malaniyom's market stall in Moore Park, customers stock up on tender stalks of Chinese broccoli, crisp bunches of ong choy, vibrantly coloured Japanese eggplant and pungent supplies of cumin basil. It was not always this way, but Malaniyom -- a grower, consultant and supplier of Asian fruit and vegetables -- says the range and quality of Asian produce in Australia has grown considerably. ''We now have a couple of hundred varieties [of vegetables] depending on the time of year . . . including our locally grown exotic mushrooms: namenko, woodear, chestnut, king brown and enoki,'' he says. Malaniyom says Asian greens, once unheard of or considered exotic to Australians, are now everyday items on shopping lists. ''The public is now much more aware of many Asian produce, and they know about different varieties and like to try to cook with new ones,'' he says. His stall is open every Wednesday at EQ Markets, Moore Park. He deserves some of the credit for the popularity of Asian produce. He established his business in 2005 after a friend, renowned Thai-food chef David Thompson, made an off- hand remark that Sydney lacked quality and consistency in its Asian produce supplies. Malaniyom set out to change that, opening Sunrise Asian Produce. He now has 10 regular growers Australia-wide, but they change according to the seasons. In spring, the former cafe owner looks forward to the arrival of jackfruit, one of his favourite foods. ''It has a seductive perfume and a fantastic flavour,'' he says. Part of the allure of this fruit is the anticipation -- it takes three to five years for a jackfruit tree to mature. ''It's truly worth the wait -- it has a sweet, golden yellow-orange fragrant flesh. It tastes like the sum of tropical fruits,'' Malaniyom says. He encourages people to experiment with jackfruit by adding it to curries, salads, desserts or eating it on its own. Basil is also plentiful during spring and summer and he says people should try new varieties, including Thai white holy basil, which has a ''distinct pungent aroma and peppery flavour''. ''If we are lucky with enough rain we should have turmeric leaf and fresh bamboo shoot,'' he says. Malaniyom's produce finds its way into dishes served at some of Sydney's top restaurants including Quay, Sepia, Universal, Claude's and the Rockpool group. ''For the restaurants I have seen our Asian produce migrate to many modern Australian dishes because of its versatility and great taste,'' Malaniyom says. Among the dishes are Quay's jackfruit snow egg and, at Universal, Sichuan duck, seared scallops with smoky eggplant and Thai radish pods. Malaniyom says he enjoys working closely with growers and relishes the chance to introduce his customers to new ingredients. Wholesaler Tony Chiefari, of Top Class Fruit, agrees that educating the public on new produce is one of the joys of the business. He has started to attach information brochures and recipe ideas to some items, including ''drinking coconut'' from Thailand. Also marketed as ''young coconut'', it has the outer shell partially removed and looks like a white cylinder with a point at the top. Chiefari, who has specialised in Asian fruit and vegetables for more than two decades, says the juice is a nutritional goldmine and a thirst- quencher, and the soft meat can be scooped out to eat or added to smoothies or stir fries. ''The Asian culture has been drinking it for centuries, and around Bondi you see all those people into fitness are now drinking it,'' he says. Chiefari, who supplies to Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets, also recommends Asian green mangoes, in particular the Thai-grown nam dok mai, which are in good supply and can be used in salads, soups or stir-fries. ''One of the great things about Australians is they are happy to try anything. They are always keen to experience new foods and flavours,'' he says.
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