Like many food bloggers, Jenny Luu spends her days working full-time in the corporate realm, and moonlights as the author and eater behind Minibites. One quick browse and you'll learn just how far this once-fussy diner has come since her pre-blogging days. Plus, check out the video montage of everything she ate on a recent trip to the US.
We talk to Jenny about yum cha for breakfast, new styles of communal eating, and her love for Melbourne's alleyways.
What makes a great food blogger?
Passion. Plus, you need the commitment to eat continuously, to research, and the persistence to push out post after post. There’s always the doubt in the back of my mind that no-one will read my blog, but that's where the magic of the blogging community works; their support makes it worthwhile.
Which Sydney suburbs are the most interesting for food exploration and why?
If you'd asked me a year ago, I’d say Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Although I still love those suburbs, the thought of having to wait already makes my stomach rumble. I’d have to say Canley Vale is becoming a whole new world of feasts – walking down a 500-metre street, you can soak up a great variety of vibrant and flavoursome Asian food.
How are Australian menus changing? What are you seeing more of these days?
Australian menus are so multicultural. We’re picking up the beauties of amazing cuisines from around the world – just look at our food courts. I think we’re actually seeing less fast food, but restaurants owned by locals who are passionate about what they do. We’re seeing more re-inventions of the pork belly, baklava ice-cream, and people considering yum cha for breakfast – now what is all that telling you?
You used to be quite a picky eater. What are some things you never thought you’d like but now do?
I credit my broadened palate to my colleagues who wine and dine with me. I never used to eat olives, avocados, sashimi and lamb chops… and now I eagerly tuck into those. I would have shuddered at the sound of pigs' ears, their curly tails… but after a lunch at Four in Hand... they know how to make pigs' ears deceivingly delicious.
Which food or cuisine are you particularly excited about right now and why?
Getting back to simple, comfort food that makes you feel good. There’s no doubt I love molecular gastronomy, but after the emergence of reality cooking shows, some chefs throw together flavours that just don’t make sense: unnecessary foams; flavours pretending to be something else. I’m so excited about meals where you’re passing dishes and [there's] laughter down a communal table, like Jimmy Liks, and organic sexy salads in warehouses like Bread & Circus.
What are your cooking skills like? How many meals per week are homemade?
I’m a hopeless sous chef – dicing and slicing are definitely not my forte. I still burst into tears while chopping onions. I live in a very unusual Asian household where there are no leftovers, a bare pantry and empty fridge, so from a young age I’ve learnt to fend for myself. I try to commit to cooking a few times a week, and make a habit of cooking something new every Sunday; inspired by my bounty of cooking books.
Melbourne’s your home away from home. What does it do better than your home city of Sydney?
Melbourne is the best spot to be completely adventurous with many of their alleyways. They have perfected the art of being mysterious, and finding how to get there gives you such a sense of accomplishment. I love taking friends down alleyways and watching their faces turn from mortified to letting out a “wow” from the uniqueness of the bars and restaurants we end up in.
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