Healthy Eating

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Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.


There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Where to stay, eat and drink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.


Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Yangzhou fried rice

This classic dish is both a feature course at festivities and top-notch comfort food made in moments, writes Tony Tan. Whip some up for Chinese New Year. Chop chop.

You'll need

600 gm cold cooked jasmine rice 100 gm peeled uncooked prawns, cut into small dice 100 ml vegetable oil 2 eggs, lightly beaten, seasoned with a pinch of salt 50 gm chicken thigh, cut into small dice (optional) 100 gm char siu (barbecue pork), cut into small dice 50 gm blanched peas 2 small spring onions, thinly sliced into rings 1 tsp sesame oil (optional) 1 tbsp light soy To serve: finely sliced red chillies in soy sauce


  • 01
  • Gently loosen the cooked rice with your fingertips or a ladle to separate the grains as much as possible, then set aside.
  • 02
  • Heat 500ml water in a wok over medium-high heat. Once it’s boiling, add prawns and cook until just pink (1 minute). Rinse prawns under cold water, drain and set aside. Rinse the wok, wipe out with absorbent paper and return to high heat.
  • 03
  • Add 2 tbsp oil to wok and swirl to coat. Add egg and fry until just set or half cooked (30 seconds), then set aside in a bowl or push to the side of the wok.
  • 04
  • Add remaining oil to wok and, when very hot, carefully add chicken and stir-fry until partially cooked (1-2 minutes).
  • 05
  • Add the char siu and rice and stir-fry over high heat, moving everything around to prevent it from sticking (2-3 minutes). Use a ladle or wok scoop to break up any lumps until the grains are separated.
  • 06
  • Add the prawns, peas and egg to the wok (or incorporate egg if pushed to the side) and stir-fry until rice is very hot and fragrant with wok hei (by now the rice grains on the side of the wok should pop or jump; 2-3 minutes).
  • 07
  • Add spring onion, sesame oil and soy sauce, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper if you wish, then stir-fry for another 30 seconds or until everything is coated and well coloured.
  • 08
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if required, then serve at once with chillies and soy sauce.

Note Heat is of vital importance to achieving superior fried rice, so if you find your wok is small, I recommend you cook the fried rice in two batches. Although this recipe is a Chinese classic, you can vary the ingredients as you like - I've had a dressed-up version with XO sauce, for example - but just don't call it Yangzhou fried rice. Barbecue pork, char siu, is available from Chinese barbecue shops.

The story of fried rice is fascinating. The dish appears on the menu in practically every suburban and fancy Chinese restaurant worldwide. This prevalence is linked to the Chinese diaspora in the 19th century - wherever the Chinese landed, a form of fried rice came into being - and fried rice has circled the globe. For instance, it's commonly known as chao fan (or chow fan) in Cantonese, and in Peru "chaufa", probably a bastardisation of the Cantonese, is a firm favourite, just as nasi goreng is popular in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The classic, however, is Yangzhou fried rice. Introduced to the world by Cantonese cooks as Yeungchow (the Cantonese pronunciation) fried rice and consisting of just fresh prawns, char siu, spring onions and sometimes peas, it is one of the quintessential dishes by which a Chinese chef is judged.

Its origin is said to be the mercantile city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province. However, one of Australia's greatest Chinese chefs, Anthony Lui, of the esteemed Flower Drum in Melbourne, says this dish is not from Yangzhou at all. He compares it to Singapore fried noodles, made with curry powder, a dish that's not actually from that country but was probably invented by a Chinese restaurateur in Hong Kong. Similarly, chef Lui suggests this definitive rice dish was probably invented by a cook during the Qing Dynasty somewhere in Guangdong province.

Another source says the dish was probably created in a Cantonese restaurant called Ju Chun Yuan in Guangzhou city in the 1800s. At that time, a dish called Yangzhou rice crust with char siu, prawns and sea cucumber was served. Soon it was copied by other restaurants and evolved into the fried rice we know today.

In Tracing the Source of Cantonese Cuisine, the dish is credited to Yi Bingshou (1754-1815), who named it Yangzhou fried rice because he was the magistrate of the city. Today, so famous is this dish that culinary bodies in Yangzhou have made efforts to patent it.

History aside, this cultural touchstone is a part of Chinese festivities. Although it is a simple dish, it heralds the end of a banquet before dessert, particularly at weddings and during Chinese New Year.

Chef Lui says the secret to great fried rice is wok hei, the smoky aroma that's the hallmark of Chinese cooking. It is the distinguishing feature of a respectable Chinese cook, and the best fried rice should capture that elusive aroma. At Flower Drum, Lui steams the rice with only just enough water, instead of using the absorption method, so the grains are fluffy and separated. By using steamed rice, his fried rice turns out beautifully cooked with that glorious wok aroma.

We don't always have steamed rice at hand, however, and most Chinese cooks follow some simple principles when making fried rice at home. We use cold leftover cooked rice because it has less moisture than freshly cooked rice. Cold rice also firms up in the refrigerator, making it easier to separate the grains when you fry the rice. Plus, we use good medium- to long-grain rice, varieties that tend to remain firm and hold their individual grains, even when given a vigorous working over in the wok. Short-grain rice tends to stick together, giving a mushy result. I also use Thai jasmine rice, though it is best to reduce the volume of water for cooking it initially so it absorbs less moisture.

I heat my wok first until it's hot, then add the oil. When a haze forms on the surface of the oil, I proceed quickly with cooking. It goes without saying a well-seasoned wok is essential. While your domestic heat source may not be as fierce as those in Chinese commercial kitchens, it's possible to achieve that wok hei aroma if your wok is hot.

At A Glance

  • Serves 2 - 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 2 - 4 people

Featured in

Feb 2014

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