31.10.12 Asian Persuasion All Sizzle And No Substance?

31.10.12 Asian Persuasion All Sizzle And No Substance?


Australia’s love affair with Asian cuisine may be more sizzle than substance, with research revealing a surprising number of Aussies haven’t tried key foods from the region and many are confused about the origins of iconic dishes such as Laksa, Rendang, Chicken Green Curry and Beef Vindaloo.

Commissioned by Malaysia Kitchen Australia, the Newspoll survey of more than 1200 Australians aged 18-64, showed half (50 per cent) have never eaten Indonesian fare, 46 per cent have never tried Malaysian food and 40 per cent claim they have never had Japanese.

Awareness of where Asian staples come from was also shockingly low. Only 15 per cent of respondents successfully identified Rendang Curry as Malaysian – a third (31 per cent) said it was Indian and a substantial number (21 per cent) were unsure of its origins.

Malaysia Kitchen Australia’s new ambassador, Poh Ling Yeow, said she is astonished that so many Australians have never tasted Malaysian and is now on a mission to get locals to embrace the original fusion food.

“This survey shows that only two in 10 people know Laksa is Malaysian and less than a third can identify Chicken Penang as a Malay classic which really surprises me! While we love our Asian food here, we’ve got a lot more eating and experimenting to do to live up to our reputation as a real foodie nation,” Poh said.

“Malaysian food combines the best of native Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. I know Aussies will fall in love with the vibrant flavours and want to replicate them at home,” she said.

Poh, a fifth-generation Chinese-Malaysian, first declared her quest to get Malaysian cuisine on Australian dining tables while on MasterChef Australia in 2009. She said the results of this latest poll make her even more determined to help consumers understand Viagra this unique cuisine.

According to the poll, Malaysian food wasn’t the only cuisine confusing Aussies. Only half of respondents (52 per cent) could say that Chicken Green Curry was from Thailand while a third of the population (33 per cent) was unable to identify Beef Vindaloo as an Indian dish.

When it comes to what Aussies do know and love, Chinese food is by far the most popular Asian cuisine with 92 per cent claiming to have tried it and more than one in ten (14 per cent) owning up to eating it once a week or more.

Thai also proved popular with 74 per cent of respondents claiming they have tried it followed by 71 per cent for Indian. Around two in 10 (18 per cent) claim to eat Thai food at least once a fortnight and the same number choose Indian.

“As Australians travel more, their palates are broadening and an appreciation for authentic flavours is definitely growing. I’m really excited about helping people realise they don’t need to be intimidated by South East Asian flavours and exotic ingredients like galangal, belacan, tamarind and pandan, or dishes that might seem complex to make. So often the ingredient lists are longer to read than the method and it’s not difficult at all,” Poh said.

“Working with Malaysia Kitchen, I’ve developed a repertoire of Malaysian recipes that don’t compromise on authenticity but are very user friendly. I really want to see these dishes rival the likes of spag bol on the every-night Aussie dining table,” said Poh.

“There really is a whole new world of taste sensations to gain with Malaysian cuisine. We have such fantastic, authentic restaurants here and access to amazing Asian ingredients so I want Australians who haven’t tried Malaysian to find out what they’re missing out on!”