While exploring the intricacies of fusion cuisine, chef Cash Fong discovered that Australian beef and lamb are rarely used in Japanese cooking.
Hoping to change that and create a new trend in the process, he has replaced the usual Japanese Wagyu beef with meat from Australia for a selection of dishes.
He is also incorporating a unique Chinese twist from his vast 25-year experience in the industry.
For instance, his grilled Australian lamb neck with miso was inspired by the roasting method of Chinese barbecued meat or char siew.
“The meat usually has a caramelised sauce and a slightly charred surface.
“To mimic that, I used miso, yuzu peel and Japanese capsicum for the grilled lamb’s sauce and torched the meat to give it a nice char.
“The sugar content caramelises the meat just like char siew,” he said.
As a result, guests were treated to tender and succulent meat with a citrusy aroma.
Striking a balance between sweet and sour, the sauce that enveloped the meat complemented the dish well.
“The lamb is not gamey so it is perfect for this dish,” said Fong, who is executive Japanese chef at Tung Lok Group of restaurants in Singapore.
He heads Tung Lok’s Ushio Sumiyaki, a modern Japanese charcoal grill bar, and Douraku Sushi at Park Regis Singapore.
The dish was part of a showcase at “#DinewithChef Series, A Japanese and Australian Epicurean Affair” by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) at Thirty8, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.
During the session, a sushi-making master class led by Fong also provided guests with an opportunity to try their hand at making onigiri (rice ball), inari sushi and maki sushi using minced beef from Australia.
Australian beef and lamb are certified halal, making them versatile for a wide range of dishes.
Guests tasted four dishes from a special menu curated to highlight the use of Australian meat in Japanese cuisine.
For starters, the Aburi Maki wrapped with avocado, ohba leaf, kyuri and miso dressing was topped with a slice of beef.
Fong said he used the D-rump cut for the menu. It’s a cut of beef from the hindquarters, specifically the upper part of the hind leg, next to the sirloin.
“It has quite similar texture to the sirloin but more affordable,” he said.
Next came Double-boiled Soup with Beef Short Ribs, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
The short ribs were cooked until fall-off-the-bone tender. In fact, it resembled a local favourite, the ABC soup.
However, I felt that it did not do the beef justice as it was overwhelmed by other ingredients.
An oxtail soup might have been a better choice to highlight the quality of Australian beef.
Next was Gyu Tataki served with quail egg, cherry tomato, ice plant and ponzu sauce.
The egg was mixed into the ponzu sauce, which paired well with the thinly sliced beef.
The meal ended with banana ice cream, mango boba, waffle cone and macaron.
Diners can also check out other dishes such as Braised Beef Brisket with Black Fungus, Peanut and Sichuan Pepper Sauce; Wasabi Steak served with Crispy Sweet Potato and wafu dressing; Slow-cooked Beef Cheek with Cavatelli Pasta, fried oyster mushroom and thyme sauce as well as Wok-fried Lamb Rack with cashew nut, sesame and cumin powder.
The #DinewithChef series is available until Sept 3.
THIRTY8 RESTAURANT, BAR AND LOUNGE, 38th Floor, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, 12, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03 2203 9188). Business hours: 7am to 11pm daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.