MENUS put together by Cheong Liew are as eclectic as they come: everything from kangaroo and emu meat to dim sum baskets and sea cucumber salad. Liew is cookery lecturer at the Regency hotel school in Adelaide, where the reputation for culinary excellence is attracting would-be chefs from around the world, including Hong Kong students. The emphasis is on exposing them to New Australian cuisine, which basically means everything from meat pies through pasta to Peking duck. Australia, for so long reliant on British fish-and-chips based fare, has developed a passion for Things Asian. It began with the influx of Vietnamese refugees and has gathered pace during recent years, as Aussie backpackers returned from their globetrotting missions with more refined palates. Anyone living in the Adelaide area has long had the option of sampling East-meets-West fare. Liew opened the restaurant Neddy's back in 1975, dishing up delights such as squab pigeon pot-roasted with garlic and salt water duck Nanjing style. It was a huge success, drawing gourmets from across the city for more than a decade, until Liew decided it was time to sell the business. The hard-working Malaysian-Chinese wanted to spend more time with his wife and four children, instead of slaving nightly over a hot stove. He jumped at the chance to pass on his skills to a new generation of hotel workers, taking a position as cookery lecturer at the suburban college. The holiday-laden life of academia also meant much more time for home life. But Liew hasn't quite retired from the real world of cooking. The in-demand chef is consultant to a clutch of Adelaide restaurants, including the top-notch Hyatt Regency. His co-lecturer at the Regency, Mary Lim Battersby, specialises in Chinese and Asian cuisine, teaching students from Australia and further afield. The college has youngsters from Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. ''Food in Australia has expanded over the years. When I first came here in 1966, you couldn't see bean sprouts and they had no idea what garlic was. People now travel to Asian countries and they learn to become connoisseurs. They have developed a taste for spicy food,'' says the Malaysian-born Lim. Ironically, some of the fastest Asian cuisine learners on the multi-national course are true-blue Aussies.