BUG meat is the new talking point on the local culinary circuit. Like yabbies, Australians will know it well and everyone else will shudder at the very thought. But curiosity is getting the better of them, and customers are ordering it by the plateful at Wyndham Street Thai. Bug meat is actually seafood, and can be described as a cross between a lobster and a crab. The meat is sweet and is served with lime and chili. Rosemary Lee is bringing it in from Moreton Bay and Balmaine, along with a range of other fresh seafood with which she has bolstered her menu at the restaurant. Having won a 1994 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Wyndham Street Thai (Tel: 2869-6216) is also adding 20 new Australian boutique wines to its list (the internationally acclaimed magazine issues the awards to restaurants whose wine lists rate among the world's most outstanding). The additions boost the wine list to about 70 labels.
Skin tricks YOU probably won't want to spread it on your toast, but onion jam is great with lamb and beef - and a creative alternative to mint sauce. This recipe is from Pomeroy's Central head chef, Alex Chan. You need eight finely sliced peeled onions, 90 gm soft brown sugar, 150 ml malt vinegar, 20 ml olive oil, 200 ml water, 50 gm butter, one bay leaf, a pinch of clove powder, two crushed garlic cloves, and 100 ml full-bodied red wine. Place the onions, oil and butter in a saucepan with a well-fitting cover.
Cook over low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, remove the lid and cook uncovered, barely simmering, for another 45 minutes. The jam should be very dark and syrupy. Cool and refrigerate. If stored in a sealed glass or airtight plastic container, the jam will keep for up to two weeks.
WITH the buzz in the bar downstairs and a traditional menu upstairs, Supatra's has stood firm in the face of up-market competition from Wyndham Street Thai. Its prime location and a revamp which opened up the shop front to the street helped, of course. But even before then, Supatra's earned itself a place among Hong Kong's top 100 restaurants. The menu includes all the regular favourites - chicken in pandanus leaves, fish cakes and tom yum kung - served in an atmosphere and manner Hong Kong is used to when it eats Thai food. We have a meal worth $500 at Supatra's (Tel: 2522-5073) for the person who tells us the name of the most basic, traditional Thai noodle dish. Fax your answers to 2564-1244 by Friday. Remember to include your name and daytime contact number. And congratulations go to XXXXXX for giving the correct answer to last week's Beirut quiz.
Leaf from the old book LANDAU'S, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, seems to be having a bit of a problem dragging its diners into the '90s. The meat-and-two-veg brigade wants the vegetables cooked just the way they used to be in the old days: boiled to death. The restaurant prefers to serve them the modern, more healthy way - slightly crunchy. Even the trendiest of mixed leaf salads is also getting the thumbs down from some quarters. There's no word yet on whether general manager Grant Baird has given the order to undo all the innovations which have made Landau's a lot less like eating in Beefeater.
Flaked out EVEN choosing cornflakes can be difficult when the cereal you know and love comes with various health claims. Regular old Kellogg's now has to share shelf space in Seibu with the Australian Sanitarium cornflakes, which promises no artificial flavouring or colourings and the British Doves Farm, which is 100 per cent organic and comes in a recycled box. Although Doves Farm seems wickedly expensive at $26 compared to Kellogg's $14.50, the latter contains less than half the flakes in the Doves Farm box.
That's what they claim, anyway. The Sanitarium is an even $20 for 250 gm. But they all look the same size from this end of the shopping trolley. Which tastes best? It depends on how virtuous you want to feel.