Off to Asia… at home

Hot pot

Coming from Melbourne, with its huge Asian influence and entire suburbs chock-a-block with authentic Asian eateries, I miss the lack of it here. I understand that if I travelled further afield to a bigger city I would find more diversity, but I think the kind of food that you can find in say, Box Hill or China Town in Melbourne, would still be few and far between.

Sure, I grew up on western ‘Chinese’ food with sweet and sour pork and cashew chicken top of my favourites list. I once famously proclaimed that Thai food was too hot for me. Oh, how far I have come.

Our Asian restaurants here in town consist of a couple of Chinese and a Thai. Now, if you take the western-style Chinese that is eaten by the majority of people in Australia, and compare that to what you might find on a street in Bangkok… you need to take that leap again to get Austrian-Chinese food. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s what everyone here is used to, it’s just different to what I’m used to.  

We eat it on occasion, but mostly, we make our own.

Which presents its own challenges, because the size of the ‘Asian’ section in the local supermarket is about the same size as you can imagine the gluten free section was back in the 80s. Luckily, sitting smack bang between two larger cities, we have an Asian supermarket about 40 minutes away.

Hot pot at home

I’ve already written a blog on the Indian and Thai curries my husband makes. It never gets annoying to have him ask if I mind that he cooks curry again on the weekend. Do I mind? Do I mind while you slave in the kitchen for 2-3 hours while I sit around drinking wine… go for it! Access to an Asian supermarket means we have on hand hot chilli, traditional curry pastes, different types of naan and paratha, and noodles of any kind. And best of all, it makes Hot Pot all the better. Hot Pot is one of my favourite Asian dining experiences. And though you can cook almost anything in a Hot Pot, the additions we buy make it more like the experience I remember. Now I have lotus fruit, fish balls, fish sticks, and even my most recent find… sweet potato noodles! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s nice to enjoy a bit of Asia in my own backyard.

And though I still miss visiting Szechwan Kitchen in Box Hill in Melbourne, I have to admit that if I was living close enough to get to it, then I would probably miss Austrian Schnitzel from the local Gasthaus! And it makes visits back home or to Asian countries, all the more special.

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