Another view of Asian food in Australia: Elizabeth Watson

I am honored to introduce to my first ever reader contributor, Elizabeth Watson, who will tell us about her story growing up in a time in Australia with not so many Asian foods or ingredients around. Now she can cook Asian food at home and she has also been to Thailand ~ Charinya

When I was growing up in Sydney, the only Asian restaurant that I can recall was the Golden Jade Chinese café down in the main shopping area. I did not know of any Australian families who cooked anything like Asian food. Classes were offered at the local TAFE (“Tech” as it was then called) but I still think that the ingredients were very basic Asian. Now of course, even our smallish regional town has three Chinese, an Indian and a Thai restaurant. There are still no true Asian groceries available except the sauces in jars and green vegetables in the supermarket. In contrast I know in Canberra, for example, that Asian groceries are readily available.

On our trip to Thailand we were amazed at the number of different types of foods available. They were nothing like what we had ever witnessed here. The fantastic array of street food was spellbinding. Not that we were adventurous to try much of it! It all tasted so different to what we thought was Thai food.

Now many more people are cooking Asian style. I don’t think it’s any particular country, just Asian with Australian ingredients – garlic, ginger, shallots, chili are the basics.

My husband does the stir fry cooking. Mostly chicken, sometimes pork or prawns. We don’t cook much beef as we have yet to achieve the texture that we enjoy. Of course we don’t pretend that it is true Thai or Chinese, but I think you may have to be brought up in the culture to “get it right”.

Our favourite dishes tend to be red BBQ pork, Charinya’s recipe for sweet and sour pork,Billy Key chicken and sate chicken. Not Thai but not a traditional Australian meal either.


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