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into the Australian way of life: : DATELINE SYDNEY

Please Pass That Platypus Platter

September 18, 2000|MIKE PENNER

Aussies have it easy. Whenever they have a hankering for a taste of authentic American cuisine, they just hoof on over to the corner McDonald's. Sydney is full of them.

Americans seeking to return the favor here have more of a challenge--first finding it, then screwing up the courage to order it.

Edna's Table is a restaurant specializing in "modern Australian," which apparently means that the fried crocodile resting on our plates was not first wrestled into submission by the bare hands of Mick Dundee.

Grilled kangaroo fillet is also on the menu, served up with beetroot and kumera (sweet potato) salad, and there's emu presented tastefully inside a hollowed-out miniature pumpkin and a Balmain bug and basil wonton no one at our table was brave enough to try.

An Australian friend joined us for dinner and a cheap evening's entertainment, thoroughly amused as we quizzically inspected our forkfuls and braced for the great unknown.

He ordered veal, professing that "Australians never eat this stuff. It's all for tourists. Australians don't even know where this place is."

For the record, our kangaroo tasted like venison, the fried crocodile like shrimp-filled spring rolls and the emu--"ostrich lite," our friend called it--seemed more closely related to beef teriyaki.

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