September 2010

Even though Christmas is still a few months away, pork prices are edging upwards anticipating a spike in demand. But it’s always a good choice and rarely a splurge at Asian restaurants because they’re masters of making the most of every bit of the beast. Think tonkatsu ramen, for example, where the pigs’ heads, complete with brains, are simmered for 12 hours to make the rich, cloudy broth. You’ll find a great example of it at Manmaruya (193 Beamish St, Campsie, Ph 9789 5759), bright with hot-pink pickled ginger and tender slices of pork neck.

Chicken’s always popular but perhaps more so now as the weather warms and we move from those slow-cooking cuts of red meat. A mix of breast and leg meat teamed with loads of ginger is the basis of a Vietnamese hotpot at Thanh Mai. Firm wedges of sautéed onion add sweet crunch. Try not to rush in; the chicken is still pinkish when served and needs to finish cooking in the hotpot. There’s also a bargain roast chicken with gravy and vegies at The Coopers Hotel on a Sunday (221 King St, Newtown, Ph 9550 3461). If that all sounds a bit hefty, there’s a Caesar salad, too, with strips of Cajun chicken.

Yes, lamb’s expensive, you’ve heard it all before, but like all meat it’s cheaper minced. The Coopers have a spiced lamb burger served with smoked eggplant relish, tzatziki and kumera chips.  And if you’re at The Boathouse but don’t fancy fish, they serve a roast loin and breast of lamb with spiced carrot puree, baby carrots and lentils.

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