Adam Liaw’s Road Trip for Good is a food and travel series exploring regional Australia’s recovery after the “Black Summer” bushfires that affected much of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Adam visits bushfire-affected towns and regions around the country, meets with locals, and collects some of Australia’s best produce along the way.
At every turn through his journey Adam discovers that the thing that gives these regions their strength and resilience is nothing less than community spirit. Their challenges are far from over, but these areas are ready to welcome visitors like Adam back with open arms.
Adam collects produce from these areas and returns to his kitchen to prepare simple meals that aren’t just a tasty dinner, but are helping communities in need.
Episode 1 | Stokes Bay, Forge Creek, and Berrima
Airs 8.30pm Wednesday 2 December, 2020 on SBS Food
Adam kicks off his Road Trip for Good with a visit to one of the worst bushfire-affect areas in Australia – South Australia’s Kangaroo Island. When the deadly bushfires hit, half of this island paradise went up in flames. Here Adam meets Shane Leahy from Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic, a garlic farmer and volunteer firefighter for the local country fire service who lost everything in the fires except his one shed of garlic. Adam collects some of Shane’s garlic and cooks the Chinese sizzling hot plate dish of garlic-butter prawns.
Adam then travels to Victoria to East Gippsland, an area that has struggled with drought for the last three years. With the bushfires and now the pandemic, it’s just been blow after blow for the area. But this is one of Australia’s most important food bowls, so Adam visits Forge Creek Free Range, a picture-perfect family-run farm that produces free-range eggs from pasture-raised hens. With the eggs collected, Adam cooks the elegant Japanese steamed egg dish, chawanmushi.
The third stop on Adam’s journey is to Berrima, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. This is a real village community that relies heavily on tourism, that fact was really highlighted during the last 12 months as it’s been a difficult time for all the town. Adam visits The Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop on the main street to buy the Aussie classic… tomato sauce! He takes it back to the kitchen and cooks a childhood favourite, Peking-style pork ribs.
Literally meaning "steamed in a tea bowl" this delicate and savoury Japanese custard is a lot easier to make than it looks. Just remember the ratio of 1 part egg to three parts stock and you'll get a perfect custard every time.
This simple stir-fried dish uses fresh Australian garlic in a buttery sauce to coat delicious and tender prawns. If you want to make things even easier, you can skip the deep-frying step and just cook the prawns directly in the garlic butter sauce.
This modern Cantonese dish has a convoluted history. Known as "jing du pai gu" in Mandarin, the provenance of the name refers to ribs cooked "in the style of the capital". Today that means Beijing, but given that the dish resembles the famous Jiangsu Wuxi spare ribs it may be that it refers not to the northern capital of Beijing, but the historical southern capital of Nanjing. Don't worry too much about the history though, because they are both easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Episode 2 | Mallacoota, Lobethal, and Ulladulla
Airs 8.30pm Wednesday 9 December, 2020 on SBS Food
Adam's road trip continues to the town of Mallacoota, the area that became an international symbol for the summer’s devastating bushfires. Here Adam visits the local abalone co-op, a fundamental business to the area and one of its main employers. The factory burnt down in the fires, so Adam visits the temporary factory to source some of Australia’s best abalone. He then heads back to the kitchen and demonstrates a very elegant way to prepare a very decadent ingredient – sake-steamed abalone with liver sauce.
Adam’s journey continues to the area he grew up in – South Australia in the Adelaide Hills. Here he visits an old friend, local cheese maker from Udder Delights, Sheree Sullivan, who lost nearly $2 million worth of produce in the bushfires. Adam samples her cheeses and collects some to make Korean “fire chicken” with a blue cheese twist.
Adam then heads to the NSW town of Ulladulla, a great base to explore the beautiful Shoalhaven area. The bushfires were devastating for the whole of the South Coast so Adam heads to Cuppitt’s Estate, a vineyard that lost all their grapes to smoke taint. They also run a brewery, so Adam samples some local beer to take back to the kitchen to cook Sichuan beer duck.
Episode 3 | Tathra, Tallangatta, and Kingscote
Airs 8.30pm Wednesday 16 December, 2020 on SBS Food
This time Adam visits Tathra on the South Coast of NSW, a place a lot of people think is the best in the world for growing Sydney rock oysters. You’d hardly believe it but when the bushfires hit, the entire east coast of Australia was covered in a thick cloud of smoke. When the ash settled in the river systems it helped produce algal growth and in some areas, this actually helped fatten the oysters. Adam visits Gary Rodeley’s oyster farm and Gary tells him why. Adam collects some Sydney rock oysters to take home to make the hawker centre classic: oyster omelette.
The next stop on Adam’s journey is Victoria, where he visits the small, rural town, Tallangatta. Mandy Crispin runs the bakery which proved to be a great refuge for all the local people evacuated in the area during the bushfires. They operated around the clock during the fires, giving away free food to volunteer firefighters and people from the area displaced by the flames. Adam collects some bread rolls from Mandy to make a Vietnamese roast pork banh mi.
Adam’s Road Trip for Good continues to Kangaroo Island in South Australia where he meets one of the first and biggest organic honey producers in Australia, Peter Davis. His Ligurian bees are special on Kangaroo Island because although they came from Italy, Kangaroo Island is now the only place in the world their honey is produced. The bushfires were devastating for Peter’s bees, and out of 800 hives, Peter lost over 500 in one day, all full of honey. Adam supports the recovery by collecting some of Peter’s honey and cooks the Aussie Chinese restaurant classic, honey chicken.
Episode 4 | Beechworth, Hay Valley, and Batlow
Airs 8.30pm Wednesday 23 December, 2020 on SBS Food
This time on his road trip Adam is headed to the town of Beechworth in Victoria. It’s home to a two-hatted restaurant called Provenance, run by renowned chef Michael Ryan. Michael has won countless awards and accolades for his Japanese-inspired food and now in the shadow of bushfires and the pandemic, Michael is pushing one of Australia’s most decorated restaurants into bold new areas. He has developed Provenance Grocer, where he sells his homemade seasonal produce on the side. Adam buys some roasted tomato sugo to make Japanese-style cabbage rolls.
Adam's journey continues to one of the most innovative regions in the world right now, the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Known for its avant-garde, cool-climate wines, the region’s winemakers are doing it tough. Fire tore through The Hills over summer and one local vintner, David Bowley, lost his whole vineyard. Adam visits Vinteloper wines and collects some pinot noir to cook a dish unique to Chinese Australian cuisine: Billy Kee pork.
Last stop on Adams Road Trip for Good he visits the NSW town of Batlow. Considered “undefendable”, Batlow’s residents were told to evacuate and give their town up but the local CFS defied the odds and saved the town. Sadly many of the town's orchards were lost and recovery will take time, so Adam stops off at local grower, Ralph Wilson’s roadside stall to hear more about Batlow and buys some apples to make the Chinese dessert, toffee apple fritters.