Korean Fire Chicken – Buldak

Be warned, this recipe is HOT – and in the best possible way. Buldak or “Fire Chicken” is a favourite Korean street food chicken dish known for its intense heat and rich, complex flavour.

It started from roaming street carts in Seoul that grilled the chicken covered in the spicy sauce over open flame fire pits, but these days you can find Fire Chicken in Korean restaurants all over the world. I’m not usually one to try to push chilli to the limits of tolerance. I usually think that chilli should be a gentle background heat rather than all-out flamethrower, but for this one dish I put that rule to one side. The hotter this dish is, the more the chilli brings out the complexity in the sauce. It honestly does taste better the more it hurts!

Give it a try once and you’ll be hooked. You’ll probably end up in a red, sweaty heap crumpled in your chair afterwards, but I guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face 🙂


1 whole free-range chicken (approx. 1.7kg)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sake

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 spring onions, finely sliced

¼ head cabbage, finely shredded, to serve

2 tbsp Korean or Japanese mayonnaise, to serve

sesame leaves (Korean perilla), to serve (optional)

pickled daikon, to serve (optional)

Fire chicken sauce

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp Korean chilli powder (mild or hot, as you prefer)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp hot English mustard

1-3 red bird’s eye chillies (as you prefer)

3 cloves garlic, peeled

½ large onion (peeled and cut into chunks)

½ large nashi (Asian pear) (peeled and cut into chunks)



  1. With a cleaver, cut the chicken into 10-12 pieces, on the bone. If you prefer, you can use around 1.25kg boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks. Combine the chicken with the soy sauce, sake and black pepper and set aside.
  2. For the Fire chicken sauce, combine all the ingredients in a blender and process to a smooth paste. If you add the ingredients in the order in this recipe, you won’t need to wash your measuring spoon between measurements.
  3. Heat the oil in a large shallow casserole dish or frying pan over high heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium, add the fire chicken sauce and stir to combine. Cook for around 8 minutes, stirring frequently until the chicken pieces are cooked through. Scatter with the spring onion and serve with the shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, sesame leaves and pickled radish, if using.

Here’s a video of how to make it:

Additional Tips

  • Make sure you use proper Korean chilli powder instead of ordinary Western chilli powders, which often have more heat, less colour and less chilli flavour. Don’t be worried if your sauce looks a little more pale than mine after you’ve finished blending, the colour will come after it sits for a few minutes.
  • Korean chilli powders come in different heat strengths. If you prefer a more mild chicken dish use a more mild powder rather than using less volume of a hotter chilli powder.
  • If you’re not confident cutting up a chicken on the bone, it’s totally fine to make this dish with boneless chicken thigh pieces instead.
  • Another variation of this dish (particularly when using boneless chicken) is to include sliced Korean rice cakes (tteokgukyong-tteok) and bake it covered in cheese!
  • Don’t skip the accompaniments. The cabbage and pickles really do help to balance the heat.


Caramel-braised Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are a truly fantastic cut of meat. You can eat them like a steak, or stew them until their falling apart, and either way they won’t let you down. On the bone, they add mountains of flavour to a stew. This simple recipe is one of those where you just throw everything into the pot and let it go. Give it a try.

Serves 6-8



1 cup sugar

1 tbsp sesame oil

2kg beef short ribs

¼ cup Shaoxing wine

½ cup light soy sauce

¼ cup dark soy sauce

2 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tbsp toban jian (Sichuan chilli-bean sauce)

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 small bulb garlic, unpeeled, split in half crossways

1 onion, unpeeled, halved

5 slices ginger

4 thin spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve

1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced, to serve

½ cup coriander leaves, to serve

steamed rice, to serve



  1. Place a heavy casserole over medium-high heat and add ½ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water. Bring to a golden caramel and then add the sesame oil and short ribs, rolling to coat in the caramel. Add the Shaoxing wine, the soy sauces, spices, toban jian, garlic, ginger, onion, remaining sugar, and top up with water. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until the short ribs are tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust for seasoning as required.
  2. Transfer the ribs to a serving plate and spoon over a little of the braising liquid. Scatter with the coriander, spring onions, and chilli to serve.

You can watch a video of this being made here:


Additional Tips

  • Instead of short rib you could also use chuck steak, shin, osso bucco, ox tail, or any other slow-cooking cut.
  • You could also cook this in the oven if you preferred. Cook everything on the stove until you get to the long-simmering part, then transfer it to a 170C oven for about 3 hours.

Hulk Spaghetti

Our kids usually just eat the same things that we adults eat, which is a great way to feed them as they learn to appreciate new foods and it makes life a lot easier when you only have to cook once. That said, I don’t think it’s great for kids to eat the same as adults all the time as it can very quickly lead to the adults just cooking and eating slightly boring food all the time. I still make the curries and other strong, spicy  or challenging dishes I grew up with that my kids just aren’t ready for, but that I don’t want to lose as part of their (and my) culinary heritage. Part of learning about food as a kid is watching what your parents eat, even if you might not want to eat it yourself.

On those occasions I need to make something separate for the kids, and right now this vegetarian Hulk Spaghetti is a real favourite of our superhero obsessed son, Christopher. It’s not just for kids either.


Serves 4-8 kids, depending on their ages (or in our case, 2 kids 4 times)

500g dried spaghetti

1/2 head broccoli, in florets and including stalk cut into large chunks

5-6 leaves of kale, or 2 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup cream (optional)

2 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 sheet nori, cut into 5cm strips and very finely shredded



  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt it for cooking the pasta. Add the broccoli and kale to the water and boil for about a minute. Remove with tongs and transfer to a blender. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to the packet directions.
  2. After about half of the cooking time of the pasta has elapsed, add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the blender and blend the vegetables to a puree. Add the cream and butter (or olive oil) and allow the butter to melt a little before blending to a smooth sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well and return it back to the pot on low heat (or a separate frying pan, if that is easier). Add the sauce and parmesan and stir briskly to combine. Divide the spaghetti between bowls and top with the shredded nori for the Hulk’s hair.


Additional Tips

  • Tasting the sauce in step 2 is the most important part. If the sauce doesn’t taste good on its own, it won’t taste good with the pasta. Taste and adjust it to the seasoning and texture you prefer.
  • Always finishing cooking pasta together with the sauce rather than just ladling or pouring it on top. This allows the al dente pasta to absorb the flavours of the sauce and with make your pasta much, much tastier every time.
  • As a variation to this you could add a bit of chopped ham, or some peas (or both) but don’t overdo the ingredients. Pasta should be about the pasta, not the stuff you put in it.
  • If you can’t be bothered slicing the nori for the Hulk’s hair (it can be a bit difficult if your knife isn’t very sharp), you can just wave it over a gas flame for a few seconds until the nori becomes brittle and then crumble it over the top.

Beef Short-Rib Rendang

To make a great rendang you need to first understand what a rendang is. It’s a fragrant stew more than a curry, and the aromas of the galangal, ginger and turmeric should be more prominent than the hard spices. Turmeric leaves are more traditional than makrut (kaffir) lime but they are very hard to find in Australia.



2 medium onions or 8 eschallots, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2-6 bird’s eye chillies, stalks removed (as you prefer)

5cm each fresh turmeric, galangal and ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

¼ cup vegetable oil or coconut oil

2kg beef short ribs

400ml coconut cream

3 stalks lemongrass, fat stalks only, bruised

6 makrut lime (kaffir lime) leaves

1 piece cassia bark

2 star anise

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tsp salt

1 cup dessicated coconut



  1. Combine the onion, garlic, chilli, turmeric, galangal and ginger in a blender and blend to a puree, adding a little water if necessary to help it blend. Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole dish over medium heat and fry the paste for 15-30 minutes (the more water you add to the paste, the longer you will need to cook it to evaporate the water before it starts to fry), stirring occasionally at the beginning and constantly as it thickens so that it doesn’t splatter or catch on the base of the pan. This paste, known as a rempah, is ready when it is browned, fragrant and thick.
  2. Add the beef ribs and toss to coat in the rempah. Then add the coconut cream and enough water to barely cover the ribs. Add the lemongrass, 3 of the makrut lime leaves, cassia, star anise, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and cover and simmer for about 2-2.5 hours, stirring occasionally until the beef starts to become tender. Remove the lid and simmer for about 1 hour more, stirring occasionally again until the stewing liquid is reduced to a thick, very oily sauce.
  3. Heat a dry frying pan over low-medium heat and add the coconut. Fry the coconut, stirring constantly until it is a deep golden brown and add the coconut to the rendang, stirring to combine. This caramelised coconut is known as kerisik. Cook for a further 30 minutes or so at simmering heat until deep brown, oily and thick. The rendang can be eaten straight away but will benefit from being covered and left overnight to develop. Finely shred the remaining makrut lime leaves and scatter over the rendang to serve.


Some Extra Tips

Don’t overdo the spices. A rendang should take the fragrances of galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, makrut lime and ginger before being overwhelmed with spices. I put a bit of whole cassia and star anise in mine but I’ve seen recipes that use cumin, coriander etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just don’t think it’s necessary.

Cook everything for a looooong time. Both the rempah and the rendang itself. Like a Spanish soffrito, a rempah takes time to develop flavour. Mine is just blended onion (or shallot), garlic, ginger, galangal, chilli and fresh turmeric. The rendang, too, needs to cook for long enough to crack the coconut cream and reduce down so that beef is essentially frying in the coconut oil.

It’s up to you how wet or dry you want your rendang to be. Some can be as wet as a very thick soup, and others completely dry, almost like jerky. It all depends on how long you reduce the stew for (i.e. how long you cook it uncovered vs. covered), and how long you let if fry in the separated coconut oil.

The kerisik is the key the rendang’s texture. Some recipes don’t include this but it’s mandatory in my opinion. Kerisik is caramelised coconut (toasted dessicated is fine, but historically it’s caramelised coconut meat). It deepens the flavour of the rendang and thickens it as well.

Rendang needs time to mature. Make it a day or two before you want to eat it if you can.

You can make this with other stewing cuts of beef like chuck, or even with lamb shanks.


16 Memorable Things I Ate in 2016

I ate a lot of good stuff in 2016. Here are a few things I ate this year.

  1. Rigatoni alla gricia at my brother’s house in Rome.

My little brother Ryan moved to Rome about 10 years ago and since then he’s become a great cook of Italian (and specifically Roman) food. This rigatoni alla gricia was the first thing he’s ever made for me, and also the best alla gricia I’ve ever had.



  1. Chicken wing with caviar and kombu butter at Eleven Bridge, Sydney

It’s refreshing to go a great restaurant where you can have a good old a la carte 3 or 4-course dinner and leave without feeling bloated and punished by a relentless degustation. This chicken wing at Eleven Bridge might have been the best thing I ate all year.



  1. “Too many Italians and not enough Asians.” at Nora, Melbourne.

Nora is one of the most underrated restaurants in Australia in my opinion. Truly creative, inspiring high-concept Thai food that is completely different from any other fine dining restaurant I ate at this year.



  1. Roasted botan ebi nigiri at Sushidokoro Mekumi, Nonoichi

High-end sushi can sometimes get a bit same-y in Tokyo these days, but the roasted botan ebi nigiri at Mekumi in Ishikawa was the best bite of sushi I had all year. It was one of three courses from the same prawn. This picture is actually from Kanesaka in Tokyo because Mekumi doesn’t allow photos. Both have two Michelin stars.

A lot of the etiquette of eating in Japan is way overblown, but with omakase (course) sushi there are 5 things you might want to know. 1. Don’t wear perfume, aftershave, strong deodorants etc. when going out to any restaurant, but especially sushi. 2. Don’t fill your soy sauce dish. Just a small puddle is all you need (see the picture), and at high-end places it’s really more ornamental than anything. The master will generally serve each piece just as it’s meant to be eaten, without needing any further seasoning. 3. The pickled ginger is for cleaning your palate between pieces. Don’t eat it together with the sushi. Feel free to finish it, as the master will just give you more. 4. Tell the master before you start if there’s anything you don’t eat. They’ll adjust the courses accordingly. 5. Drink whatever you like. I generally start with beer (I like beer) before switching to sake, then ending with hot tea. This is the fatty tuna from Kanesaka in Ginza. (2/2)

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  1. Snow crab steamed with bamboo leaves at Waku Ghin, Singapore.

It’s hard to imagine a better restaurant than Waku Ghin in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. That it only received one Michelin star at this year’s was not just silly, but worth an eyebrow raise considering Michelin’s Singapore partner is Sentosa, MBS’ main competitor in the local market.



  1. Bistecca Fiorentina at Cavallini, Milan.

Cavallini is my favourite restaurant in Milan. Sitting out the back in the “garden” is more like being at a (big!) family reunion than a restaurant, and the food is just spectactular. This bistecca was a great hunk of meat but the Tagliolini “Cavallini” with black truffle and anchovy is a knockout.

This Fiorentina though…

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  1. Smoked bone marrow, caviar and cauliflower puree at Iggy’s, Singapore.

This little homage to El Bulli was a great little snack from new chef Aitor Orive at Iggy’s. I never got to eat at El Bulli before it closed, but I wish I had.



  1. Roast meat noodles at Xiang Ji, Singapore.

Wantan mee is one of my favourite dishes and although you can order it at Xiang Ji, I think it’s better if you take matters into your own hands and order roast meat noodles (with extra siew yuk) and wantans separately. This is my favourite noodle in Singapore at the moment.


  1. Giant Yee Sang at my grandma’s house, Adelaide.

Yee sang is a celebratory dish eaten at Chinese New Year. My uncle put together this giant version for our big family reunion this year. You arrange all the ingredients for the salad separately and then everyone gathers around and tosses it high into the air for good luck. This was the biggest one we’ve ever made.



  1. Abalone schnitzel at Noma Australia, Sydney.

I’m not going to pretend that Noma Australia was my favourite meal of the year – to be honest, a lot of it wasn’t really to my taste. But it’s still an incredible experience and you have to appreciate the creativity and concept that goes into every mouthful. This abalone schnitzel was pretty great.



  1. Emu Margherita, Broome.

The guys at bush tukka pizzas make portable wood ovens that can be used by Indigenous communities as small businesses serving pizzas made from native ingredients. My son loved this emu margherita.



  1. Somen, Shodoshima, Japan.

One of my highlights of the year was visiting Shodoshima Island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea and teaching a cooking class to the local residents as part of Asialink’s artist residency program during the Setouchi Triennale. Shodoshima is famous for it’s somen, and it’s delicious.



  1. Chicken Inasal at Island Chicken Inasal, Boracay

A lot of people are prediciting that Filipino food will be hitting the big time in 2017. If it does, these are the kind of dishes that are going to help it stick. Simple pinoy-style barbecue chicken with pickles. We ate this same dish about 4 times over two weeks.



  1. Chinese Toffee Apples, Beiwu, China.

These Chinese toffee apples were one of my favourite dishes growing up. The fried apples are tossed in caramel and served hot. You pick up a piece and dip it into cold water to set the toffee and then eat it. We had this at our big family Christmas in Beijing, at the same restaurant we’ve been going to for more than 20 years. I’ve included this in the list because of the overwhelming nostalgia.



  1. Antipasto plate at Roscioli, Rome

Away from the kids and with a rare day off in Rome I popped into one of my favourite trats and spent a long afternoon eating slowly, alone save for a few glasses of wine and a newspaper for company. It was heaven.



  1. Simmered Alfonsino at Esaki, Tokyo.

As part of my job I get to eat at a lot of great restaurants around the world and the one thing that I often find disappointing is when you sit down to a meal and it barely speaks of the chef or the country you’re in. A lot of modern, high-end restaurants just seem to copy the style and technique of their peers with very little individuality. This isn’t the case at Esaki, where the centrepiece of a (very affordable) three Michelin-starred meal is a simple simmered whole fish. It’s more like getting a meal from your mum than from a chef at the very top of the global game (in a good way).

Esaki might be the most unaffected three-Michelin starred restaurant in the world. While most other top restaurants are at best keeping one eye what their peers are doing (and at worst, becoming derivative of them) you get the feeling that Esaki considers his peer as the udon place down the street rather than the guy on-stage in the big group media photo at a restaurant awards ceremony. There are no flowery explanations of origins, or complicated directions of "how best to enjoy” an otherwise inscrutable dish. There are no popular Nordic influences or throwbacks to childhood memories. The beer list contains 4 beers you can get at any convenience store and there are no matching wines with the courses. I used to come here often for lunch a long time ago (way before Michelin), but haven’t been back for maybe 8 years until last night. I’m happy to report that it’s exactly the same. Getting a reservation now isn’t the easiest thing in the world (especially if you live overseas), but if you can it's still a fantastic, completely Japanese, modern dining experience that is closer to actual home cooking than it is a fancy take on home cooking. And it's the same price it was before all the accolades, too (around $150 a head for 8 courses). I LOVED the simmered kinmedai (alfonsino) with burdock and tofu (pictured), followed by the rice, soup and pickles. The rice was mixed with tiny baby sardines and mountain ash, the soup was with balls of tofu and chicken and the pickles a mixture of beets, daikon, cucumber and torch ginger. That simple course was probably the best thing I’ve eaten all year.

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27 Recipes from April 2016


I just realised that for all the hundreds of recipes that I write every year between my columns, books, TV series and so on, I put very few of them up on this site. Of course they’re always available if you want to search for them, but it might just be easier for me to collect the links together for you all so that you can access them all here.

So here’s the first in my monthly roundup of recipes you can all try. They’re all online. And they’re all free. Enjoy!


Superior Soup

Superior Soup


Spaghetti with zucchini and spinach

Green Pasta


Sago with coconut and melon

Sago, melon and coconut soup


Salmon salad with green tahini dressing

Green Tahini Salmon


Swedish meatballs in cream sauce


Danish baked pork belly with parsley sauce

Custom (1 of 8)


Semla (Swedish cardamom buns)


Real-deal carne asada tacos


Mexican sweet pumpkin flan

Sweet Pumpkin Flan


Thursday pea soup with rye and spelt pancakes

Custom (7 of 8)


Dutch baby with bananas and berries


Green shakshuka with hummus


Rainbow salad

Rainbow Salad


Swedish onion tart with sour cream and salmon roe


Roast chicken with VIVs (Very Important Vegetables)


Glazed wild boar with double-sided Hasselback potatoes


“The Lawyer’s Lunch” smørrebrød


Danish apple doughnuts (Æbleskivers)


Double dumpling chicken soup (Hønsekødsuppe)


Viking salmon with skagen sauce


Raspberry and marzipan spandauer

Custom (3 of 8)




2015: My Year in Review

Well, it was a big ol’ year.

I travelled around the world. I spend a lot of time on the road but this year I took one of my best trips ever. I was away filming Destination Flavour Scandinavia across Denmark, Norway and Sweden. I herded reindeer on snowmobiles, went up to see wild polar bears in the Arctic circle, ate and some of the world’s best restaurants, and cooked some delicious Scandinavian food. The series will be on SBS in early 2016 so stay tuned. I think you’ll really enjoy it. I also spent a lot of time working in Malaysia and Singapore, and I hope to be spending a bit more time in Southeast Asia in the coming year.

Svalbard. Incredible. I'm only 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole. #theendoftheworld

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Hitting the late night Singapore talk shows!

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I released my fourth cookbook. It’s called “Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School” and I can say without a doubt it’s my best book yet. (And I even took some of the less important photos myself!) It’s gotten some fantastic reviews, and I couldn’t be more proud. The Age called it “a brilliant step-by-step guide in the tradition of Julia Child” and The West Australian said it was “a masterclass on technique and flavour”. *blushes*

I have to say, though, the biggest thrill is seeing all the thing’s you’ve all cooked from it!

I cooked and ate a lot. I think the best part of what I do is that even when I’m busy and travelling, I still have time to cook. Stay tuned to my Instagram for a taste of what I’m cooking each day. I headlined all of the Good Food and Wine Shows around Australia this year, too, and got to cook with and for a lot more of you all around Australia and the rest of the world. If you want to see a few memorable things I ate this year, just click here.

It's that time of year again! My list of 17 Memorable Things I Ate in 2015. Link in profile.

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I wrote even more than I cooked! This year I’ve continued on as a GoodFood food columnist alongside Neil Perry, Karen Martini and Dan Lepard, but now I’ve also taken over from Bill Granger as the weekly columnist for Sunday Life magazine, which is a real honour. I really love being able to share my recipes with you in the paper each week, as well as in my books. On top of all that, I’ve also started writing for The Guardian. You can catch a couple of my recipes and articles below:

Five Scientific Developments That Will Change The Way We Eat

Five Simple Dishes And The Mistakes You’re Making With Them


Lasagne Spaghetti

Singapore Chilli Crab

I started a YouTube channel. It’s only early days yet but it’s getting a really good response. This year I was ranked #1 for social media influence in the Australian food industry, which is nice. Buzzfeed wrote a couple of listicles about me (here, and here) too which is weird but also nice. It’s great to be able to chat, share and see what you’re all cooking on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I’m looking forward to sharing more videos with you on YouTube, too.

If you like these videos, just click here and subscribe to see more like these.

I spent quality time with my family. Sometimes when I’m at my busiest I really have to focus on what’s important. This year despite being rushed off my feet for a full twelve months, I’m happy that I was able to spend time with my family through it all, from my son’s first cherry blossoms, to my sister’s graduation from medical school and a big family Christmas lunch.

Father's Day would be nothing without these guys. I hope all the dads are having a great day!

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Thank you so much for all of your support. I really couldn’t do it without all of you reading my recipes, watching my TV shows and generally just being there for me. Sometimes I really do feel like the luckiest guy in the world.


17 Memorable Things I Ate in 2015

Every year I try to round up an ever-increasing list of memorable things I’ve eaten. They might not be the tastiest or the “best”, but they’re food experiences that have stuck out for me over the past 12 months.

Read below for the full details. As always, the list is in no particular order.

(And if you’re interested, here are the lists for 2014 and 2013.)

1. Chicken, parsnips and sesame at Relae, Copenhagen

Relae is Christian Puglisi’s fully organic one Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, and in my view it’s one of the most exciting restaurants in the world today. A fully organic, five-course, Michelin-starred meal for around A$70? To be able to do that takes not just great cooking, but great thinking and management, too.


2. Kaya toast wafers, Tong Ah, Singapore

I have a real weakness for kaya toast (a coconut jam from Malaysia and Singapore served with thick slices of cold butter inside fluffy-crispy grilled bread). The wafer-style variety from Tong Ah in Singapore is the real deal.

Last day in Singapore. Kaya toast doesn't get any more real than this. The thin one at Tong Ah.

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3. Norwegian Toddy, Svalbard, Arctic Circle

After 8 hours snowmobiling in -20C conditions to find wild polar bears in the archipelago of Svalbard, this warm blackcurrant cordial was surprisingly perfect. We found a bear, too!

Today's expedition break. Toddy, a hot Norwegian blackcurrant drink. Better than coffee when it's below zero.

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4. Swedish Pizza at Restaurant Casablanca, Hasselholm, Sweden

Here’s what you need to know about Swedish pizza. The “Africana” is topped with ham, banana, peanuts and curry powder, and the “Kebab pizza” is basically a kebab, but in pizza form.Depending on how you look it at it, Swedish pizza is either a stroke of genius or an abomination. I think it’s a little of both.

5. Bone marrow, gold caviar and fermented pumpkin at Frantzén, Stockholm, Sweden

This was the knock-your-socks-off dish from one of the best meals we had in Scandinavia, at the Japanese-Scandinavian influenced, two Michelin-starred Frantzén in Stockholm.

6. Fish and chips, Clonnies at Clontarf, Sydney

You’d be surprised at how hard it is to find a good fish and chips, even in Australia. Too often people try to overcomplicate it, fancy it up, or drown it in oil. Just some fresh flathead tails, decent chips, some tartare sauce and a handsome wedge of lemon is all you need. Well, that and a seagull to share the chips with.

Today's lunch. Best ever. #straya

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7. Semla at Grillska Huset, Stockholm, Sweden

This is a favourite Swedish Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) bun that’s so popular it’s now available all year round. It’s a bready cardamom bun filled with cream and marzipan. It tastes like you’d think it’d taste. You can’t visit Sweden without eating one.

Seriously though. #Semla

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8. Coal-toasted Meringue, outside Albany

Yoda from Fervor food in WA does fantastic stuff. Clever, native-influenced Australian food informed by his experiences at some of Europe’s best Michelin-starred fine diners. This meringue was from a course-for-course dinner we did together in a woolshed just outside Albany WA. It was toasted by pressing hot coals into it and served with native Australian berries and double cream.

Meringue (1 of 1)

9. Bug tails at Hotel Hotel & Monster, Canberra

As someone who spends more than 6 months of each year on the road, I’m a big fan of room service in all its forms, from early breakfasts to late night cheeseburgers. These bug tails at Hotel Hotel in Canbera (cooked by Monster, downstairs) have recalibrated my expectations of what’s possible to eat in bed while watching telly.

10. Air on Air on Air, Geist, Copenhagen

This was dinner on my first night in Copenhagen. I’d seen this dessert before on Instagram and it didn’t disappoint. It was like eating three different clouds.


11. BB-8 Cake, Sydney

Just after the Star Wars premiere, Disney sent me this cake (thankfully just in time for my Star Wars-mad neice’s 10th birthday). I was just happy to stop my son from swallowing the whole thing before she had a chance to see it.

12. Roast chicken in cream with Lammefjord vegetables and weeds, Dragsholm Castle Bistro, Denmark

Never underestimate the impact of a simple dish done well. Ex-Noma chef Klaus Thomsen moved out into the countryside to run the kitchen at Dragsholm Castle and I can see why. These vegetables are exceptional.

Today's lunch. Roast chicken, Lammefjord vegetables and wild herbs from Dragsholm Castle bistro. Incredible.

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13. Wantan mee at Yulek, Cheras, Malayasia

I was in Malaysia recently writing a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald on places to eat in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re heading there you should put this wantan mee at the top of your list.

You can read the whole piece here.

Wantan mee from Yulek. Game changer. #kualalumpur

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14. Butter-poached marron at Sepia, Sydney

To be honest, I can’t even remember what it was served with, but this off-menu WA marron at Sepia was extraordinary.

Marron (1 of 1)

15. 150-day aged Angus scotch fillet at Firedoor, Sydney

With meat it should always, always be quality above quantity. This had plenty of both, but shared between three it was just right. One of the best bits of meat I’ve eaten.


16. Smoked reindeer, The mountains outside Tromso, Norway

After a long day herding reindeer on snowmobiles, it might seem strange to then cook reindeer on an open fire. This was the end of a fantastic day spent with Scandinavia’s indigenous Sami.

Today's lunch. Smoked reindeer fried in lots of butter on an open fire. #Norway

A photo posted by Adam Liaw (@liawadam) on

17. Mahogany Clam, Maaemo, Oslo, Norway

The idea of eating something that’s 200 years old (yes, really) is bizarre at best, but these clams are completely sustainable. There are millions of them on the cold sea floor around Norway. I ate this one at Norway’s best restaurant, the two Michelin-starred Maaemo.


Destination Flavour Japan – Contact List

I’ve had a lot of requests for contact details for the places I visited travelling around Japan for Destination Flavour Japan, so I thought I’d collect all the links here for easy reference. It’s not a complete list – it’s just the places I could remember off the top of my head, so if there’s anything I’ve missed just leave a comment below and I’ll add it in.

Some of the links are in Japanese but you get the idea.

Happy travels!

Destination Flavour Japan Contacts (1 of 6)


Episode 1: Hokkaido

Kushiro fish markets: Washo-ichiba

Cooking sea urchin, crab and scallop: Orenchi izakaya

Choco-moo cheesecake: Farm designs

Onsen: Tsuruga Resort Lake Akan

Two Michelin-starred Restaurant: Kappo Okada

Destination Flavour Japan Contacts (2 of 6)

Episode 2: Hokuriku

Live squid fishing: Hakodate Morning Markets

World’s most expensive tuna: Omanzoku

Soy sauce: Yagisawa shoten soy sauce, Rikuzentakata

Wanko soba: Wanko soba Azumaya, Morioka

Onsen: Tsurunoyu

Destination Flavour Japan Contacts (3 of 6)

Episode 3: Kanazawa

Sushi: Otomezushi

Markets: Omicho Market

Ryotei restaurant: Tsuruko

Cake buying: Le Musee de H

Sake brewery: Shata brewery


Episode 4: Nagoya

Nagoya cochin chicken: Torishige

Iga wagyu beef: Okuda

Miso: Kakykyu


Episode 5: Tokyo

Izakaya: Shirube, Shimokitazawa

Small restaurant: Enoki, Nonbeiyokocho

Michelin-starred restaurant: Narisawa

Yakitori restaurant: Torishiki


Episode 6: Tokyo (Part 2) and Saitama

Depachika: Takashimiya department store, Shinjuku

Wagyu “donburi”: Two Rooms

Destination Flavour Japan Contacts (5 of 6)

Episode 7: Kyoto

Michelin-starred restaurant: Yonemura Gion

Tempura: Kawatatsu

Pickles: Uchida pickles, Nishiki Markets

Episode 8: Osaka

Soba: Sobakiri Masa

Knife-making: Mizuno tanrenjo

Sumo restaurant: Arata Chanko Nabe

Takoyaki: Noboridako


Episode 9: Kyushu



Destination Flavour Japan Contacts (6 of 6)

Episode 10: Okinawa

Taco rice: King Tacos

Markets: Makishi Public Market, Naha

Island life: Izena island





Chicken Kra-pow



This might just be the easiest Thai recipe I know. Just a few ingredients in perfect balance for a delicious and authentic meal.


3 cloves garlic
2 large red chilies, seeds removed
500g chicken thigh (you can use breast, or a mixture of the two)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp caster sugar
1 ½ cups loosely packed Thai basil leaves
a wedge of lime and a fried egg (optional), to serve 



  1. Roughly chop the garlic and chilli together on a board. In a separate bowl, coarsely chop the chicken to your preferred consistency and mix through the oyster sauce.
  2. Heat a wok and add in the oil. Fry the garlic and chili for a few minutes until fragrant and then add in the chicken. Mix the chicken with the chilli and garlic and distribute it over the surface of the wok for a minute or two to caramelise slightly. Toss, then allow to sit in contact with the wok again for another minute. Add in the fish sauce and sugar, toss and continue to fry for another minute or so, moistening with a little water or stock if it starts to get too dry.
  3. Stir through the basil leaves and remove from the heat. Top with a fried egg if you like, and serve with rice and a wedge of lime.

This recipe appears in my third book, Asian After Work.

Asian After Work