• Jimmy Shu (right) and Amye Un, Darwin's laksa queen. (Jimmy Shu's Taste of the Territory)Source: Jimmy Shu's Taste of the Territory
Jimmy Shu’s Taste of the Territory takes you on a culinary journey to the multicultural melting pot of Darwin and the Top End.
30 Mar 2020 - 9:54 AM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2020 - 9:04 AM

Jimmy Shu’s Taste of the Territory is an eight-part series that takes you on a culinary journey to the multicultural melting pot of Australia’s Northern Territory. Host and celebrated chef, Jimmy Shu, explores the diverse food scene of tropical Darwin through the sights, smells, breathtaking landscapes and stories of the Top End’s most celebrated and hidden food communities. Join Jimmy as he lifts the lid on the family recipes of Darwin’s home cooks, tastes the street food and local produce of the famous Darwin markets and delves into the amazing flavours of Indigenous bush foods. Jimmy Shu’s Taste of the Territory takes you on an adventure to meet the region’s most fascinating people through their love affair with food!


Episode one

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 23 April, 2020 on SBS Food

Host and chef Jimmy Shu starts the series at the bustling Rapid Creek markets. Jimmy has been coming here every Sunday morning to collect produce for his restaurant, Hanuman. He shows off his favourite fresh produce growers and their amazing array of tropical and Asian produce.

After the markets Jimmy heads south to Humpty Doo, 40km from Darwin to meet Muy Keav, one of his produce suppliers who has an interesting story to tell. Muy learnt to cook from her mother and grandmother and shows Jimmy how to make one of her traditional recipes – Cambodian green mango salad.

Jimmy is back at the Rapid Creek Market where he meets home cook Karunika Pemaratne. Karunika is from Sri Lanka and shares stories about her childhood as she shows Jimmy how to cook her favourite Sri Lankan baby jackfruit curry.

Finally, Jimmy heads down to watch the sunset on the spectacular Nightcliff foreshore where he grabs a bite to eat from the popular food truck Needle In A Haystack.

Young jackfruit curry

Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. Depending on maturity of the fruit, it can be cooked in different ways, including this fragrant curry.

Muy’s Cambodian green mango salad

This fresh mango salad recipe was passed to Muy Keav from her mother. This is a great recipe for mango season (which in the Northern Territory is between August and mid-December) when green elephant mangos and sweet green mango can be sourced from a local supplier, or through Asian grocery stores in the southern states.

Jimmy discovers Darwin's signature sights, sounds and smells.

Episode two

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 30 April, 2020 on SBS Food

The dry season in the Top End is a time for festivals. And one of the most popular is Glenti, a Greek cultural festival. Jimmy meets some of the Greek community preparing food for the event and learns to make the Greek speciality ‒ dolmades.

Next Jimmy goes inside the home of recent arrivals to Darwin – Jordanian mother and son Nadeem and Taghreed who run the food truck Flavours of Damascus. They show Jimmy how to make one of their favourite home cooked recipes – Lamb Kabsa.

Jimmy visits a tiny eatery well-hidden in an arcade off the Darwin Mall. Sumatra Cafe, which serves authentic Indonesian food and has a horde of loyal followers.

Finally, Jimmy settles in at one of Darwin’s original tropical homes, the historic Burnett House. Here he prepares a local specialty of pearl meat ceviche.

‘Desert rose’ pearl meat ceviche

Pearl meat is the exquisitely flavoured muscle of the pearl shell - the same species that produce pearls. This iconic Darwin recipe created by chef Jimmy Shu sources pearl meat from the Paspaley Pearling Company. If you can’t find pearl meat at your local fish market, use the freshest scallops you can find. 

Nadeem’s lamb kabsa

Nadeem’s kabsah – a fragrant rice and meat dish popular in many places in the Persian Gulf - is inspired by Arabic journeys along the Silk Road. When the Arabic people began travelling from the Middle East to Asia, they returned home with new spices, gradually adding them to their traditional dishes.


Episode three

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 7 May, 2020 on SBS Food

The Top End of Australia has some of the best, freshest seafood in the country and in this episode Jimmy will show you why.

He goes to meet one of his closest friends, long time fisherman Billy Boustead who lives at Shoal Bay outside Darwin. The two friends go fishing, catch a barramundi which Jimmy turns into one of his favourite dishes, Barramundi Meen Moolie.

At one of Darwin’s wharfs he meets self-taught chef Rachael Ciesolka. Rachael shows Jimmy how to cook her signature citrus mud crab dish.

Next Jimmy meets Larrakia woman Leslie Gordon. Leslie takes Jimmy into the mangroves to collect traditional seafood and talks about the seafood that Larrakia people have been eating for generations. Leslie shows Jimmy how to collect and cook longbums, a traditional seafood, on an open fire.

Finally, Jimmy hits one of the local pubs where he meets Justin Whitrow who runs Smokey J’s Brew and Que. Justin is an innovator and has found a unique way to smoke crocodile.

Citrus butter crab

Mud crab is an iconic Northern Territory delicacy. The body and claws are full of moist meat and they’re sweeter in flavour than ocean crabs. Green when caught, once cooked their shells transform to an eye-catching orange-red.

Barramundi meen moilee

Barramundi is perfectly paired with tropical ingredients in this fragrant coconut cream curry. A traditional South Indian dish, it is also cooked in Sri Lanka, where it is known as ‘kiri maalu’, or ‘milk fish’.

Maningrinda bush foods

Episode four

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 14 May, 2020 on SBS Food

Jimmy heads 500km east of Darwin to the remote Arnhem Land coastal community of Maningrida. Jimmy visits Maningrida Wild Foods and goes out harvesting with local landowners for various bush foods that are now sold commercially.

Traditional owner Leila Nimbadja shares stories from her childhood and takes Jimmy to hunt for long yam. Jimmy catches up with Don Wilton, one of only a few people in the Northern Territory with an Aboriginal Coastal Fishing Licence. Don teaches Jimmy how they cook seafood the traditional way, on hot coals on the beach.

Jimmy then talks to Chef Alan Hickey at the popular Darwin cafe Speakers Corner that’s nestled inside Parliament House. Alan says they use Indigenous ingredients as much as possible and he cooks their speciality Maningrida Bush Apple Bundle, their newest experiment with bush food through a partnership with Maningrida Wild Foods.

Wattleseed and vanilla ice-cream

Acacia Victoriae wattle is a native Australian tree that produces a seed with an aroma similar to coffee or fortified wine that is most often used in sweet dishes. Here, it adds flavour to creamy ice-cream.

Red bush apple bundles

The flesh and skin of red bush apples have a unique tangy flavour. Combined with Granny Smith apples, they create a twist on the traditional apple bundle. 

Episode five

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 21 May, 2020 on SBS Food

Jimmy Shu is at the busy Parap Saturday markets where he says that street food is one of the best ways to get to know a culture. In this episode he tastes some of Darwin’s most popular street food.

Jimmy talks about Darwin’s Laksa obsession and goes to Mary’s Laksa stall to meet Mary who has been making Darwin’s most famous Laksa for over 20 years. Jimmy then meets Wayne who runs the famous Vietnamese stall. Jimmy says Wayne makes an amazing banh mi which, after finding out about Wayne’s secret recipes, he just has to try.

Jimmy then visits the Sunday Rapid Creek Market and shows us his favourite breakfast street food, a regional Thai braised pork delicacy that’s cooked by master street food chef Kanchana.

Jimmy then goes to meet Amye Un who runs a small eatery on the Stuart Highway in town, Warung Ibu Amye serving Balinese and Timorese dishes. As Amye shows Jimmy how to make her mother’s charcoal chicken, her signature dish, as she tells Jimmy about her colourful life.

Amye’s hot and spicy charcoal chicken

This is a traditional Timorese recipe passed to Ibu Amye Un from her mother and grandmother.

Aloo bonda (potato rissoles)

This delicious vegan dish works as a starter or an accompaniment to a curry. A golden batter encases the spiced potato filling. 

Mary's Laksa at the Parap Markets

Episode six

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 28 May, 2020 on SBS Food

Jimmy visits the breathtaking landscapes of Kakadu to find out about Top End bush foods that Aboriginal people have been eating for thousands of years. He meets traditional owner Mandy Muir who takes Jimmy to see her country via a boat trip along the spectacular Yellow Waters.

Next, Jimmy meets young Bininj chef, Ben Tyler who runs Kakadu Kitchen. Ben shows Jimmy how he and his family cook magpie goose using the traditional method of hot coals. Jimmy then shows Ben how to make magpie goose dumplings.

Next Jimmy hits the famous Nightcliff Sunday market where he meets Samiah and her daughter Sitti. Samiah has been selling home-style Malaysian food at the Nightcliff markets for 15 years. She’s a self-taught cook and cooks family recipes passed down over generations.

Samiah and Sitti show Jimmy how to make their innovative signature dish – Beef Rendang Roti Wrap.

Jimmy goes to Roast & Noodle 328, a little restaurant in the Mall’s Galleria food court famous for its Hong Kong style roasted meats. Owner Danny Yeum takes Jimmy through the kitchen and shows him how he makes his signature Roast Duck.

Finally, Jimmy goes to Moorish Cafe, Darwin’s first tapas restaurant and talks to owner Marc Wagnan about how Darwin’s food scene has changed so rapidly. Jimmy tries their beef brisket showcasing local beef from Eva Valley Meats.

Magpie goose dumplings

The magpie goose is a water bird native to northern Australia, with lean meat similar to kangaroo meat but finer in texture. Here Jimmy has prepared them in typical Chinese dumpling style, so you could substitute the goose meat for duck, chicken or even pork.

Beef rendang roti wraps

A rich beef curry, crunchy carrot, fresh cucumber and a nutty satay sauce are wrapped up in tender roti.

Episode seven

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 4 June, 2020 on SBS Food

Jimmy is off to meet Darwin chocolatier Leo Cleanthous at his boutique chocolate cafe Bumble Bean Chocolates.

He then goes to meet Petra, whose raw cakes have become almost a staple dessert in local Darwin homes. Petra and Jimmy then go to a local shoe shop in Nightcliff where Petra gets her lemons and limes from the owner of the shop who grows them in his backyard. Petra shows Jimmy how to make her lime and macadamia raw cheesecake.

Jimmy meets Wana Sinclair, who’s a master Thai dessert maker at the Rapid Creek Market. She says her mother has had this stall since the 1980s and it’s one of the oldest stalls at the market.

Wana shows Jimmy how to make her signature mung bean doughnut, something that is only available at her stall in Darwin. It’s a very traditional Thai recipe she has been perfected over many years.

The episode ends with a bang at the Hanuman stall at Darwin Festival. One of their most popular items on the menu is Jimmy’s sticky black rice creme brûlée. Jimmy talks about how he came up with this inventive dessert that fuses modern French cuisine with Asian flavours.

Mung bean and coconut doughnuts

These doughnuts are a delight of textures - a crispy outer shell surrounding a springy glutinous rice dough, with a delicious sweet mung bean ball at the centre.

Lime, lemon and macadamia cheesecake

This deliciously creamy cheesecake is raw, vegan and dairy-free. Top it with whatever fresh fruit is in season. 

Episode eight

Airs 8:30pm Thursday 11 June, 2020 on SBS Food

After seven episodes of showing the best of Darwin’s food secrets, Jimmy heads into the kitchen of his own award-winning Darwin restaurant Hanuman which he opened in 1992. He talks about his Chinese Sri Lankan background and how that has inspired his love of Indian/Malay/Nonya cuisine. Jimmy then cooks one of his favourite dishes from childhood, Chinese roast pork belly with garlic noodles.

Jimmy then goes to fine dining establishment, Pee Wee’s at East Point and meets Danny, their dessert chef who shows Jimmy how to make their signature coconut lime pannacotta.

To end the series Jimmy travels to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), Cicada Lodge, 300km south of Darwin. The Lodge is nestled in natural bush, high above the ancient waterways of the Katherine River system.

Jimmy spends the day with young Indigenous chef Sage Bowman-Kean who is the sous chef at Cicada Lodge. Sage shows Jimmy how to assemble their signature tasting platter that combines native ingredients and local produce from the area with contemporary cuisine.

Five spice roast pork belly

Five spice is a traditional Chinese spice mix that is said to represent five flavours: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Combined with hoisin sauce and sugar, it gives a delicious rich brown glaze to pork belly. 


Explore a Taste of the Territory with Jimmy Shu in his brand-new series at 8:30pm Thursdays from 23 April to 11 June on SBS Food and On Demand.