The Next 2 Big Cuisines


Twenty years ago, how many of us could’ve guessed the impact the chefs of Spain would be having on global haute cuisine? I don’t know that they’ll be revolutionizing the way we eat soon, but two cuisines have caught my eye of late in Sydney, both from China but also as different as can be. The city is now home to at least three restaurants selling Uighur food. The Uighur people, the 8.6 million of which Wikipedia tells us are one of China’s 23 officially recognized ethnicities, live mostly in China’s northwest. Their restaurants—in Sydney, at any rate—can readily be recognized by the rugs covering the walls and the plastic grapevines suspended from the ceilings. On the menu, the Turkic roots are clear in the prevalence of lamb, cumin, and dishes like poulo, which I assume is related to polo, yet there’re bottles of black vinegar and soy on the table.

Then there’s Café Macau. I wandered into the newish Chinatown branch (there’s another in the burbs) and was greeted by a slick (for Chinatown) restaurant pumping with diners and boasting a menu that reflects the shared Cantonese and Portuguese heritage of the island protectorate of Macau. Here, salt-cod croquettes and oxtail braised in red wine sit cheek by jowl with Malay curry chicken and steamed scallop with ginger and scallions. Forget black bean beurre blanc—these fusion cuisines have hundreds of years to their history. It’s the real East-meets-West.

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