地産地消・Food Tourism

May 6, 2018

The latest food trend is super local food tourism. Led by Chefs like Rene Redzepi of Noma and Ana Ros of the Hiša Franko.

I have never talked with Rene or Ana nor dined at neither of these establishments so I can only talk with my perception of what information there is in the media and with second or third hand information about Brisbane Chefs that have worked at Noma, so some might rightfully be appalled for me to compare or even talk about my humble ramen shop in the same page as these super stars but I wanted to talk about it. Honestly, I think what they are doing is great and I love their passion and it is inspiring but I don’t envy them or idolize them at all. I know what my concept is and I think we are on the same plane in the context of providing a delicious food experience, but we are on the opposite sides of the spectrum.

Noma and Hisa Franko, they strictly stick to super local produce and forage for the ingredients themselves. Of course ingredients are fresh and by foraging, they are able to embrace the wild flavours sometimes unavailable in commercial or domesticated farmed ingredients. Chefs know the ingredients deeply so it is super traceable. The down side is, as a customer, you are paying for Rene and his superstar chef team to forage wild ingredients. This is super inefficient, so uneconomical and basically goes against why man planted a seed in the beginning to start farming. Of course the food mile on the plate is super low but to dine at Noma and Hisa Franko, customers are travelling super long miles to get to that table and forking out a fortune for the meals. Of course this is all good and I would love to dine at these restaurants once in my life and that is what it is, an once in a life experience to travel and immerse yourself in what the local land and sea has to offer, presented by the experts of the land, through a culinary experience.

The reason why I fell in love with ramen is because it was so delicious and affordable at the same time. It’s made with bones that would have been thrown away and have no prime value and the plating is so systematic you don’t need Academy trained Chefs or silverware, linens, back office staff to take reservations or in the case of Japan, cashiers even. You cue up in the line, once inside, put your money in the ticket machine, wait for the cooks to assemble the soup, toppings, noodles in a few minutes, eat, clean your bench, and leave, vacating the seat for the diner behind you. Easy it is, but delicious it is… That soup has been meticulously calculated and perfected time and time during the history of the shop or maybe even longer when you consider the added history of any mentors the shop owner might have had. The charsiu has been boiled and marinated to perfection, the egg has been intricately prepared, all the hours of hard work, condensed into the single bowl and yet, due to the simplified process and efficiencies you can enjoy it for less than your hourly wage. You can afford to enjoy it every day if you wanted to.

We don’t forage but I also believe in local produce like local shallots, sprouts, organic eggs, where possible and where it is important. The freshness is great and often irreplaceable. but in some instances, we use frozen produce like Edamame. Pork, my good friend jolly Pat drives it up from Bangalow weekly so my hundreds of customers don’t have to travel 300km. Well it’s a balancing game. I like to make my own noodles using locally milled unbleached flour with our small noodle making machine and that is less efficient compared to purchasing large scale factory made noodles. So I think, to my customers, just as Rene is to his customers, I am being a trusted expert to be the guide to combine various quality ingredients and passion to produce an experience but in my case, we factor in economy so that I can provide an every day food experience. The dollar value of this everyday experience is of course a fraction of the price of a meal at Noma and so I am able to offer this to more people on more occasions. So it gives me great satisfaction in providing so many local Brisbane people with an authentic delicious but everyday food experience. And the accessibility and repetition creates a relationship. During the 8 years of serving ramen to Brisbane, I have seen babies born, kids grow up, and even a few regulars pass away. I feel a strong connection with my customers and when I see a top haute cuisine chef talking on the media or receiving an award with their proud expressions, I somehow feel happier than them and reinforce my belief in keeping at what I do.

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Oktoberfest

October 14, 2012

Came to the festival for the first time. Yes I admit, the catch copy of “you had me at pork nuckle” was the persuading point.

Tried all three biers. Lager, wheat and dark. All very good. A festival with German tap beer as the main spot light. It’s good stuff.

Sausages supplied by Goitzinger. Purchased the Frankfurter and Bratwurst. Brat looks appealing with pepper and herbs and frank looks relatively bland but the frank is about the smoking. The meat and skin are crispy having had enough moisture taken out through the process. Both very good though. The knuckle was perhaps more a novelty. I am sure I can do much better considering the potential of the meat. It’s got all those good inter connecting cartilage tissue that would turn into great gelatinous moist chunks of meat as long as its been cooked properly. The meat was roasted too long and skin was dehydrated and even the insides became a bit dry. And the seasoning ha not seeped in enough. Still an exciting dish to have in front of you with cold beer!

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ekka

August 17, 2012

Ekka, the once a year event where you pay heaps to enter a park to spend heaps for rides, games, overpriced food and grog. And pay again and again, and again… Have to admit the once a year novelty and the kid’s sheer expectations to the extent that they will actually behave if they want to be taken to ekka does loosen the wallet.

Since last year, starting off the festivities with fresh SA coffin bay oysters and some bubbles has become a routine. Actually not a bit of respect paid to the agricultural highlights of QLD but what the heck. The Ocean Kings were a bit of a let down this year. The oysters superb, and the Seppelt sparkling, fleur de lys? was really good. The can bottles of crown lager were cute too. Mini hot dogs from goitzinger not bad at all.

Obviously we can’t go home without the strawberry sundaes.

We passed the dagwood and went for meat on the bone. A roasted turkey leg and pork ribs with chips. Both a feast for the eye but unfortunately not equally great in the mouth. Both meats a bit gamey and lacking flavoring. Perhaps too spoilt as I always get to eat Bangalow Sweet Pork. Tons of BBQ sauce to save the lack of flavoring!

Not pictured, also let our appetites roam free on coffee, frozen coke, honey doughnut puffs, strawberry gelato from the Greek Youghurt Company. beautiful and the kids only day in the year when they can have two ice cream in the space of 30minutes!

My show bag! Beautiful proper smoked small goods from goitzinger!

The kids got their rides and daddy tried to impress them with the hammer scale game which ended up a pretty average 118 out of 150, with a pretty average prize being a smallish stuffed snake.

All in all, had a great time!

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Best Sushi in Brisbane? easy answer…

February 2, 2011

“Sushi” well-recognized by Brissies thanks to outlets like LR and Top Sushi, frankly, is not authentic sushi.  The term sushi means vinegared rice so technically, the “sushi” these outlets sell are sushi but they are more accurately “sushi rolls” and nothing more.  We also sell sushi rolls, however I would never say that I am a sushi chef.  I simply do it to offer healthy safe eating options to complement my cafe menu.  My sushi rolls use gluten-free ingredients, premium short grain rice and organic seaweed.  Anyway these sushi rolls are not “The Sushi” Japanese people refer to when they speak about the delicacy they love and sometimes do not hesitate forking out fortunes for. 

There is probably only one outlet in Brisbane that I can highly recommend in this regard.  This is “Fresh Sushi Co.”  Being jointly run by the fish market, you are guaranteed freshness.  And the skills of co-owner Narita san, the executive sushi chef, is magnificent.  So accurate and the presentation is simply pure finesse.   

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/337/1434707/restaurant/Queensland/Fresh-Sushi-Co-Fortitude-Valley”><img alt=”Fresh Sushi Co on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1434707/biglink.gif” style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>

Look at these beautiful plates. 

Chirashi

Moriawase

I can also recommend Hatsuhana in the Gold Coast Sea World Resort and the Tsuruya restaurant in Yeppoon Ridges Capricorn Resort.  These resorts are both run by Japanese companies that have extensive knowledge and high standard of service in Japanese hospitality industry.  Yuga in Surfers used to be really good but I have heard their chef changed and since have not been back to check myself.


Menu

September 11, 2010

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Drink Menu

September 11, 2010

Someone asked me why the drinks menu is so cheap in comparison with my food.   This is a rather inaccurate statement.  I firmly believe both the liquor and food are reasonably priced.  Again, I only use the best ingredients for my ramen.  When I say the best, I mean unthinkably good from the ramen norm, such as using hormone free fresh good eating chicken wings for my golden triple soup, using bangalow sweet pork for soup and charsiu.  And with everything homemade it means my food is a labor intensive slow food, I am pretty sure that the preparation time that goes in to prepare my bowl of ramen is comparable or longer than any dish in haute cuisine.  I also don’t rip my staff off.  I hate being talked about on the same level with other outlets that don’t even abide by the law and only able to thrive by taking advantage of their staff. 

As for the liquor, I do understand these are pretty reasonable prices.  I am hoping it will perhaps be a small attraction in making Taro’s a gathering spot for diners during dinner time. 

Current price list is as per below. 

<<Drink Menu>>

Beer

Cascade Light                                           $3.80

XXXX Gold                                                             $3.80

Victoria Bitter                                                  $4.20

Asahi                                                                $6.80

House Wine by the glass                                  $6.00 each

Wines by the bottle

Fairhall Cliffs Sauvignon Blanc 2009                                           $29.00

Bridgewater Mills Chardonnay 2008                                           $33.00

Penley Estate Hyland 2007 Coonawarra Shiraz                            $27.00

Grant Burge RSZ8 Reserve Shiraz 2008                                           $49.00

Tatachilla Limited Release Cab Sauv 2008                                          $42.00

Taro’s Private Collection

Mitake Imojochu (Japanese Distilled Liquor made from Sweet Potato) from Yakushima                                                        `                            $6.90/shot


Bamboo Basket

September 9, 2010

先日久しぶりに外食しました。South Bankに出来たBamboo Basketです。妻がネットで評判よかったと調べており、それ以上の情報なく特に期待せず行って見たところびっくり。おそらくディンタイフンをかなり意識した点心専門店ですが、なかなかどうして。台湾で食べたお店の記憶には劣るものの日本やシドニーのディンタイフンには引けをとらない美味しさでした。

羽付餃子。贅沢をいえばもう少しやき色がついているほうがBetter.でも噛むとと肉汁たっぷり。

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