The whole nose-to-tail philosophy is something I really do feel strongly about. Eating meat is a luxury that comes with responsibilities. Sustainability, humane treatment of animals, minimising environmental impact and using our natural resources efficiently are all issues that should be considered with every food choice we make.
What we must also acknowledge with every mouthful of meat we eat, is an animal's life was extinguished for fleeting gustatory pleasure. If we are going to eat meat, we should eat every last bit of it - not just nibble at the best parts like pampered royalty.
I find offal fascinating. Cultures all around the world have transformed internal organs and entrails into mouthwatering deliciousness. Let's not forget that pate is pan-fried liver blended with butter and cream. And if cream doesn't make something more enticing, then deep-frying certainly will! What's a little intestine between friends when its been plunged into a bubbling cauldron of oil and fried until crisp?
I headed to Battambang in Cabramatta for my column in the February edition of Time Out Sydney. If you've always turned your nose up at offal, wait until you try their crispy intestines...
Deep fried pork intestines
You read that right. Pork intestines, also known as chitterlings, aren’t just a triumph of nose-to-tail eating, but a prized delicacy eaten all around the world. After the intestines are thoroughly cleaned and dried, Cambodians slice and deep-fry them until they’re all kinds of crispy deliciousness.
There are two Battambang restaurants in Cabramatta, but the one on John Street has a buzzier atmosphere, hidden down one of the multiple arcades that run off the main strip. It’s small and brightly-lit, with a constant flow of couples and families stopping in for a quick feed. The menus on the wall are a little daunting at first, written in Chinese, Khmer and Vietnamese but friendly staff will provide you an English menu (with photos!) if you ask. On offer you’ll find a good range of Khmer, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.
Crispy large intestines with rice noodles Phnom Penh-style $9
You can order the 'Crispy Large Intestines' with rice, fried noodles or noodle soup, but the best way to have it is Phnom Penh style ($9), scattered over a bowl of thin fresh rice noodles moistened with garlic oil. The noodles are the right level of chewiness, and the intestines have an external crunch that gives way to a pleasing juicy fattiness in the middle. Be warned. This stuff is addictive.
If you’re still craving more intestines like we were, you can order a whole plate of them for $10 [pictured at top] and just dig on in.
Cambodian yellow fish noodle soup $6.50
Cambodian yellow fish noodle soup ($6.50) is a mellow, creamy dish that uses the Khmer kitchen staple, prahoc. This much-loved paste is made by fermenting gouramy fish in ground rice and salt until it breaks down to a creamy consistency that looks like cheese. “It’s Cambodian cheese!” our server says. “The more the better!”
Fried rice drop noodles with fried egg $8
Fried rice drop noodles ($8) are best eaten in the traditional Khmer style, cooked with beef, bean sprouts, garlic chives and topped with a fried egg. And it’s hard to resist chomping down a plate of deep-fried quail ($10), marinated and fried to a bone-crunching brown.
Deep-fried quail $10
Congee rice porridge with pigs blood jelly $6.50
If you’ve still got game, order the congee ($6.50) with pig's blood -- rust-coloured cubes that are guaranteed to give you an iron boost.
Inside Battambang, Cabramatta
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15/73-79 John Street
Tel: +61 (02) 9754 2120
Monday to Sunday 7am-6pm
This article appears in the February 2012 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [read online]
Don't forget that entries close this Sunday for the Noritake Freebie Friday competition. Simply add your comment and you could win a 20-piece Marc Newson by Noritake dinner set worth $595. Enter now!
More Time Out Sydney reviews:
Akash Pacific Cuisine, Liverpool (Fiji Indian cuisine)
ATL Marantha, Kensington (Indonesian fried chicken with edible bones)
Balkan Oven, Rockdale (Macedonian burek)
Cyprus Community Club Aphrodite Restaurant (roast baby goat)
Dos Senoritas, Gladesville (Mexican street-style tacos)
Durban Dish, Baulkham Hills (South African cuisine)
Everest Kitchen, Marrickville (Nepali cuisine)
Good Kitchen, Hurstville (Hong Kong cafe)
Hijazi's Falafel, Arncliffe (Lebanese breakfast)
Island Dreams Cafe, Lakemba (Christmas Islands cuisine)
Kambozza, Parramatta (Burmese cuisine)
La Paula, Fairfield (Chilean empanadas, lomitos and sweets)
Mario Tokyo Pizza, Strathfield (Bulgogi Korean pizza)
Misky Cravings, Fairfield (Peruvian cuisine)
Olka Polka Bakery & Deli, Campbelltown (Polish cheesecake and rye bread)
Sea Sweet, Parramatta (Lebanese sweet kashta cheese burger)
Sizzling Fillo, Lidcombe (Filipino pork hock crackling)
Tehran, Granville (Persian cuisine)
Tuong Lai, Cabramatta (Vietnamese sugar cane prawns)
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3/01/2012 02:17:00 a.m.