It has been a big week of eating, but it has been one that has left me asking questions:

1. Why isn’t more pate used in sandwiches here? For example, a mortadella sandwich but with pate in it.
2. Why isn’t the Vietnamese mayonnaise on banh mi sold at the supermarket, like Kewpie? I feel like we are missing out on a world of possibility.
3. Why isn’t there more collaborative dinners between Indian and Burmese chefs? They truly work well together.
4. Why isn’t pavlova rolled more often? The best thing about Swiss roll can be applied to meringue too.
5. Why is it so good to go to a place where they know your name? We all know the answer to being a local with the chef serving up your favourite dish as soon as you walk in the door (roast pork noodles are a case in point).
6. Why isn’t there more spiced rolls? I understand the pleasures of cinnamon, but why not allspice, nutmeg, saffron, or some combination of all of them.
7. Why isn’t cheese included in the default setting of bacon and egg rolls? They add moisture, and, the best kind of mouth feel.

And that is my week in eating and questioning with thanks to K and SD.


A little while ago I read Colin Ho and Nicholas Jordan’s article ‘Australians love Asian food, so why doesn’t it win as many awards as Italian?’ I found the article insightful and thought provoking. Not only do I agree with their line of questioning that unmasks the racial economics of food in Australia, but I thought their tone and approach were welcome. And so, I wanted to be in dialogue with them; to complement their writing with my own brief set of thoughts. From this, one could think about whether Asian food is a better fit for Australia than European or whether that simply re-inscribes a new power relation that continues to eras Indigenous presences. We could also ask ask whether money and awards are the best barometers of quality. Of course, they go part of the way to explaining good taste. But, the other aspect that matters is to think about popularity and whether this can be a way to have a good life. As an analogue, other arts, including literature, often try to boost the work of certain individuals through prizes and best-seller status. And yet, these might not be the books that linger longest, connect more truly with readers, or are spiritually meaningful for the authors who wrote them. In that way, we can carve out a space that is built on different foundations rather than simply arguing for the assimilation of Asian flavours into European standards of taste and hierarchy on a continent that is truly Aboriginal. This does not mean we should close our selves, and our palates and terroir, off to the Michelin guide. Rather, it is that we can create forms of criticism and understanding that engage the faculties in new and distinct ways and that connect to our individual traditions in a way that matters beyond ourselves. That is why pasta vs. noodles is the wrong question as is lamb ragu vs roast duck vs kangaroo. We must keep talking and tasting to find a true way forward rather than arguing for one side against another in a food fight that no-one can possibly win.