Food! Brisbane has many things to offer in the culinary arena. I have two events to share that happened the last two weeks that were both on a whim, and not necessarily planned out as you will see. The first happened during my first foray into South Bank with my friend Harry, and the second took place at a food class that I signed up for online.
On our first weekend in Brisbane, 31/08/2015 (the day goes first in Australia) my housemate, Harry, traveled with me to South Bank to walk around, explore, get purposefully lost, but also see what kind of events and food Brisbane has to offer. Harry and I turned into the gardens near the famous ferris wheel in South Bank, and walked into a street set up with wooden tables and large tents that had sellers hawking and displaying their wares for sale. We saw kangaroo wallets, clothes, jewelry, bracelets, and bars set up along the pathway. It was such a lively atmosphere of commotion and revelry.
Turning around the corner to head out, we saw a stand selling sausages, or what is known in Brisbane as “snags.” They had different varieties of snags such as the cheese kransky and smoked bratwursts, topped with helpings of sauerkraut and sautéed onions. Of course we were hungry, so we had to try it out.
I elected for the cheese kransky, which was so, so savory. The hot oils inside overflowed in my mouth, giving me a taste of Brisbane’s offerings. The only minus was the sore mouth I had afterwards from the hot oil, but that was from eating it while it was too hot and because it was just so tempting to eat. Harry had the beef bratwurst, which was just as good! We had eaten our snags by the time we reached the bus station to go off on the rest of our journey.
I also went to a food class last Sunday 06/09/15. The cooking class I chose was by a company called “The Golden Pig.” Going into the class, I had no idea what to make of American or Australian cooking. I am a Cantonese Chinese Bostonian that has grown up in a Chinese culinary household and I have no idea what exactly Americans eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at home.
We first learned how to crush and chop garlic into mince, then we worked together in groups of three to put together a three course meal and dessert! I did feel very lost at first. Where are the extra cups? Where are the whisks? How do I use this stove? How about the convection stove? But, I was just like—go for it and see what you can do yourself.
So I pushed to action. I grabbed a pan and spatula and started putting together the stuffing. The butter went in first to help add flavor and serve as a non-stick surface for the food. Then the onions, bacon, garlic, and herbs were added. And afterwards, the other ingredients: bread crumbs, figs, pine nuts, and lemon zest. As a group of ten in the class, we ended up with fish, beef, chicken, ratatouille, and an apple and frangipane tart.
The fish was sweet but meaty like a nice charred steak. Beef and chicken came next, and they were the centerpiece of the meal. The stuffing was agreed upon as the highlight of the evening. The ratatouille was served next—a complex combination of vegetables creating a stock of incredible flavor. The tart was last, which was light and sweet, to end off the heavily buttered 3 course meal. All good work in the days work.
Food in Brisbane is incredible. There is so much flavor that I have not tasted yet. The simple and subtle flavors in Cantonese cooking is very different from Australian and American foods—oily and greasy, but also much of the same in terms of chicken and beef. In Brisbane, my mouth has never come across so many good flavors at once. It is the few things in life that you can appreciate instinctively. In these two instances, it completely swept me off my feet.