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Pass The Chicken Salt, Please: Favourite Australian Ingredients Of Chefs In Singapore

We quiz some of the many Australian chefs in Singapore on their favourite Aussie ingredients

By Weets Goh | 26 January, 2018 | Food, Ingredients
2018-01-26 15:00:25 2018-01-26 15:00:25

Break out the vegemite and Foster’s, it’s Australia Day! We got some Australian chefs based here on our island to share some of their favourite Aussie ingredients that they use in their restaurants; as well as ones that they can only find back home. Conclusion? We need to get some Sydney rock oysters into Singapore, stat.  

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Rishi Naleendra

Head chef, Cheek by Jowl

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you use in the restaurant?

I particularly like Australian Black Angus from Rangers Valley beef because of the great texture and flavour

What’s your favourite ingredient/produce/foodstuff from Australia that you can’t get here?

Sydney rock oysters. I don’t use them in the restaurant because no suppliers bring them here. They are my favourite type of oysters because the flavour is very well- balanced- not overly creamy nor briny.

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Cheek By Jowl’s Rangers Valley rib eye with charred broccolini and yuzukosho butter

How do you like to use such ingredients?

For the beef, I like to barbecue them. For the oysters, I like them fresh.

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Drew Nocente

Head chef, Salted & Hung

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you use in the restaurant?

Karkalla leaves, also known as beach banana or salty fingers – is a succulent native to Australia. It has a unique fleshy texture and light salty flavour. The briny flavour is great when added to seafood dishes. It’s also great for adding texture to raw dishes like tartare and salads.  

What’s your favourite ingredient/produce/foodstuff from Australia that you can’t get here?

Emu. It is a great alternative to beef. The meat is quite tender and versatile, making it easy to cook in many ways.

How do you like to use such ingredients?

For the Emu, I like to keep it simple by throwing it over a grill on high heat, giving it a nice quick char. It makes a great rare steak.

Pass The Chicken Salt, Please: Favourite Australian Ingredients Of Chefs In Singapore

Jason Jones

Culinary Director of The Loco Group

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you use in the restaurant?

Finger limes. They’re a native Australian fruit that looks like a stretched out olive. Inside is like a caviar of mini pearls that have a ‘fair dinkum’ [SALT: we had to google this — a ‘fair dinkum’ is Aussie slang used to “emphasise or seek confirmation of the genuineness or truth of something”] flavour bomb of super tangy lime.

What’s your favourite ingredient/produce/foodstuff from Australia that you can’t get here?

Wapengo Oysters, which are the only certified organic Sydney rock oyster in Australia. Shane, the farmer, came to Singapore to ‘suss out’ the marketplace and see if there would be any demand. Of course there was – is – though the strict (and expensive) policies of exporting a live item from Australia makes it unfeasible. Singapore’s missing out big time. (insert sad face emoji here)

How do you like to use such ingredients?

Finger limes are great to finish off as a garnish on a small ceviche. Or mixed into creme fraiche and dolloped onto a good Mexican breakfast of Sweetcorn fritters, guacamole, and a poached egg. Shane’s oysters are best left unadulterated and taken natural.

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Clayton Wells

Executive chef, Blackwattle

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you use in the restaurant?

Fremantle octopus from Western Australia. It’s a fantastic product that is sustainably caught, and one of the best I have had from anywhere. It’s a great size to cook with, and has a very good flavour as the waters it comes from are very clean.

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you can’t get in Singapore?

Native desert limes (a wild lime found in the Australian Outback that looks like a tiny lemon)

How do you like to use such ingredients?

The desert limes have a really interesting acidity and they are able to be eaten whole. I use them in a dish with mussels, stracciatella cheese and kelp oil at my restaurant in Sydney, Automata.

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Steamed ling (a cod-like fish) in fermented daikon broth with desert limes and coastal greens

To celebrate Australia Day, Blackwattle’s daily set lunch ($48/pax for 3 courses) and dinner ($115/pax for 5 courses) will showcase some rarely-found native Australian ingredients in the following weeks. Look forward to many native Australian ingredients like desert limes, which are used in a dish of steamed ling from New South Wales; as well as saltbush and quandong (a tart peach-like fruit) served with Blackmore Wagyu.

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Photo credit: Benson Goh

Darren Farr

Chef-owner, The Lokal Singapore

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient that you use in the restaurant?

Vegemite, we have it as one of our Pimp My Breakfast option and I love having it for breakfast in the mornings.

What’s your favourite ingredient/produce/foodstuff from Australia that you can’t get here?

Would love to get my hands on fresh Sydney rock oysters, because they’re the best.

How do you like to use such ingredients?

Probably as a starter, with a vinaigrette made with our homemade whey dressing or with our 10-day fermented sriracha.

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Sam Aisbett

Chef-owner, Whitegrass

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient used in the restaurant?  

At the moment my favourite ingredient is Native Australian freshwater marron. It’s a fresh water crayfish that is native to Western Australia. It has an amazing sweet flavour and great texture.

What’s your favourite ingredient from Australia that you can’t get here?  

One ingredient I love using but I can’t get in Singapore anymore is pearl meat, which is the meat that comes from the pearl oyster. It has a similar texture and look to scallop/abalone. It’s a very unusual ingredient that I love using and a lot of people have never tried it.

How do you like to use such ingredient? 

For the marron, I like to cook it in a salt brine as I think it enhances the texture and taste. It’s a great way to start a menu because it has a beautiful sweetness. For the pearl meat, it can be used in many ways – as sashimi, or lightly cooked. Depending on the preparation it changes the texture, so adds a great textural element to a dish.

Before writing about food, Weets wrote about music, and is still waiting patiently for the day he spontaneously develops synaesthesia so he can reconcile the two.