Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My first taste of wild food goes back to a tour of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria market. Interestingly this tour is also referred to as the foodies dream tour and why not, the food halls are truly exceptional. Everything seemed to be freshly plucked or caught that morning. Huge great doorstep steaks of Emu, kangaroo and crocodile were on sale. The fish stalls were amazing and I also discovered Yabbies (blue crayfish) here. A true blue foodie had to try the Kangaroo and trust me far from putting off; I was a convert, as it is delicious and tender (provided it is cooked right as the meat is very lean). This experience got me into exploring more.


For years the Australian Aborigines having been living on a vast range of foods and medicinal plants found on this great continent for a healthy lifestyle. They lived as Hunter gatherers and hunted and foraged for food from the land and water which run the gamut from insect larvae known a “witjuti grubs” (which by the way is considered a delicacy) to the delicious fresh water “Barramundi” fish. Magpie geese and their eggs make for a traditional meal in the north. Stingray accompanied with tetragon leaves was the first recorded European meal eaten in Europe. The Aboriginals have even devised methods to process, store and cook these indigenous ingredients with their own regional diversity. They even use a variety of wood, cones and leaves as fuel.


Salt and sugar cured Kangaroo, seared fillet of Tasmanian wallaby, smoked Emu; yabbies in beer are some common and magnificent recipes. Both the Kangaroo and wallaby are lean and protein rich meats and are quite organic in nature hence is used these days as an alternate to red meat because of its healthy and nutritious nature. The wallaby is usually divided into nine pieces as it is smaller and the striploin is its most premium cut. The kangaroo tail is supposed to be very flavorful and hence goes great in soup with vegetables; the legs are usually roasted owing to the size. The Aborigines rely a lot on shell-fish too and what caught my fancy was the recipe of shucking oysters onto hot coals causing the lid to open and have a whiff of smoky flavour…decadent to the core. The Sea-food market in Sydney is an eye candy with offerings like freshly shucked oysters, wild mussels, snails, sharks, Barramundi and more.
Bon Apetit!


• The Billy goat plums are the world’s greatest Vitamin C source.
• Acacia seeds are highly nutritious.
• The Yolla (a Tasmanian fish delicacy) can be easily mistaken for Salmon.
• Fresh water Marrons (crustaceans) are delicious if served in the shell.
• Macadamia nut Tree plantation in Australia exceeds 30,000 hectares.
• Lemon scented myrtle is the yummiest native Australian herbal tea.
• Captain James cook gave the name Sting rays harbour to the bay where he dined on stingrays and tetragon.
• A great way to reduce tooth ache is to chew on pepper vine.


• Illawara Plum (fruit of the Podacarpus pine) Ambrosia.
• Kangaroo Carpaccio.
• Native pepperberries in brine.
• Bunya (pine) nuts in Rum.
• Garlic flavored grubs.
• Emu liver pate.
• Grilled Barramundi.
• Confit of goose legs.
• Manta Ray fish cakes.
• Tasmanian garlic periwinkles (snails).

Published in HT city (writer Rupali Dean)

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