• Fish On Fire: Maeve O'Meara with Lennox Hastie on Killalea Beach getting ready to fire up. (Food Safari Water)Source: Food Safari Water
Dive into Food Safari Water - the next delicious helping of Food Safari Elements, exploring the bounty of the water.
11 Jul 2018 - 9:55 AM  UPDATED 12 Nov 2018 - 11:32 AM

Food Safari Water is a vibrant, comprehensive 13-part series which not only showcases the great seafood dishes of the world, but it also explores the traditions of catching and preserving fish, shellfish, crustaceans and sea vegetables - a celebration of hardworking fishermen and women, divers and foragers, processors and smokers as well the brilliant chefs and home cooks who share their treasured recipes and techniques.

Covering cuisines as diverse as Senegalese, Sri Lankan, Greek, Spanish, Peruvian, Lebanese, Turkish, Thai, English and Brazilian, Water taps into a glorious exploration of the bounty of the water – many refer to seafood as the ‘best protein on the planet”, says O'Meara. 

Episode 1 – From The Water

Aired 1 August at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Maeve journeys into the Top End of Australia to seek out wild barramundi with local fisherman Billy Boustead and his chef friend, legendary Darwin and Alice Springs restaurateur Jimmy Shu (Hanuman). Next stop is the Sydney Fish Market with De Costi’s chief buyer Carmelo Lombardo, and renowned seafood chef Steve Hodges shares some of the secrets of cooking fish perfectly. Alberto Fava (Tipo 00) makes his inspired signature dish of squid ink tagliolini and calamari with salmon roe and bottarga. Maeve discovers how sea salt is produced in the Spencer Gulf South Australia by Olsson’s, and sea salt and rock salt are then used in a classic Sicilian recipe for whole baked snapper in a salt crust by chef Lino Sauro.

This is what you need to know when you buy seafood
The secret to a perfect seafood meal lies in the raw material – the seafood itself must be of impeccable quality. Here's how to buy the best.

Thanks to Billy and David Boustead, Jimmy Shu (Hanuman), Carmelo Lombardo (De Costi Seafoods), Steve Hodges (Sydney Fresh Seafood), Alberto Fava (Tipo 00), Alex Olsson (Olsson’s Salt), Lino Sauro (Olio Kensington Street).


Sri Lankan fish curry (Kiri malu)

Pan-fried mirror dory

Salt-baked snapper with salmoriglio

Squid ink tagliolini with calamari, bottarga and salmon roe

Squid ink tagliolini with calamari, bottarga and salmon roe

Episode 2 – Sea Treasures

Aired 8 August at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Diver James Palanowski works in the eight-degree water off Tasmania’s east coast to harvest abalone, which is then used by acclaimed Chinese chef Frank Shek (China Doll) who teaches a home sous-vide method to achieve a spectacular spiced seafood omelette. Forager Peter Hardwick shares his favourite place on the NSW North Coast to find sea vegetables including samphire, seablite and pig face. In Tasmania James Ashmore (Ashmore Foods Tasmania) demonstrates how he preserves wakame and Tasmania’s favourite Japanese chef Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi) uses wakame to create a salad with octopus finished with a dressing using dashi. The salmon roe harvest in the Yarra Valley is spectacular as the fish laden with eggs are anaesthetised in a bath of clove oil-induced water and their jewel-like orange roe ‘milked’. Caviar is the crowning glory of pioneering Greek chef Peter Conistis’ (Alpha Restaurant) signature dish moussaka of eggplant, seared scallops and taramasalata. 

Thanks to James Palanowski (Candy Ab), Frank Shek (China Doll), Peter Hardwick, James Ashmore (Ashmore Foods Tasmania), Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi), Yarra Valley Caviar, Peter Conistis (Alpha Restaurant), Olsson’s Salt, Eric Wong  (Golden Century Seafood Restaurant), Marigold Citymark, Thai Shun Co, Tyla Yap (Asian Inspirations), Mud Australia.


Abalone and Asian mushroom omelette

Wakame and octopus salad

Moussaka of eggplant, seared scallops and taramasalata 

Episode 3 – Whole Fish

Aired 15 August at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Food Safari Water joins the pumping kitchen at the popular Golden Century which specialises in live fish and seafood and Eric Wong explains the cultural significance and meaning of eating a whole fish. Thai chef and restaurateur Amy Chanta (Chat Thai) deep-fries snapper and serves it with a fresh green mango salad with lots of herbs. Chef Tan (Malacca Straits) cooks a fish head curry with a creamy coconut curry base and Simon Lee (Masak Ku) teaches the secrets to the rich curry sauce. Self-described ‘fish nerd” chef Josh Niland (Saint Peter) shows how to break down a 15 kilo wild kingfish and develops recipes for an “eye chip”; smoked heart, pan-fried liver, seared milt (sperm sac) and deep-fried scales to add extra salty goodness to dishes. Last stop, assured master of the French kitchen chef Jacques Reymond (Bistro Gitan, L’Otel Gitan) shows how to prepare rouget (red mullet) roasted ‘en papillote’.

Thanks to Eric Wong (Golden Century Seafood Restaurant), Amy Chanta (Chat Thai), Tan Fom Shaw (Malacca Straits), Simon Lee (Masak Ku), Josh Niland (Saint Peter), Jacques Reymond (Bistro Gitan and L’Otel Gitan), Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market, Sydney Fish Market, Seafood of Paddy’s Market.


Deep fried snapper with green mango salad

Fish head curry

Rouget en papillote

Episode 4 – Raw

Aired 22 August at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

The pure clean taste of the ocean is celebrated in this episode which explores the natural briny flavour of the three main types of oysters with Clyde River ‘oyster affineur’ Steve Feletti (Moonlight Flat Oysters) and Lee and Suzanne Macefield (Get Shucked) on Bruny Island. Japanese sashimi and sushi chef Chase Kojima (Sokyo, Gojima) shows the knives and precision needed to create the most exquisite mouthfuls using the best raw fish for sashimi and sushi. Chef Louis Tikaram (EP&LP, West Hollywood) shares his recipe for making “white gold” Kokoda. Australia’s most acclaimed chef Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s, Waku Ghin Singapore) celebrates the less popular species of fish which he says are actually more delicious, especially blue or slimy mackerel which he uses raw and cures with slices of dried kelp to create an inventive salad with shaved fennel. Italian chef Gabriele Taddeucci (Balla) slices beautiful red emperor for a classic crudo, dressed with blood orange and olive oil. Celebrated international Lebanese chef Greg Malouf uses the same techniques used for Lebanon’s national dish kibbe nayeh with raw salmon, adding spices and serving it with the lightest mountain bread. 

Thanks to Steve Feletti (Moonlight Flat Oysters), Lee and Suzanne Macefield (Get Shucked), Louis Tikaram (EP&LP), Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s, Waku Ghin), Gabriele Taddeucci (Balla at The Star), Greg Malouf, Somer Sivrioglu (Efendy), Sydney Fish Market, Nicholas Seafood, Judy Saba, Mud Australia


Fijian ceviche (Kokoda)

Kelp-cured blue mackerel with fennel salad

Red emperor crudo 

Salmon kibbeh nayeh 

Episode 5 – Fish Bites

Aired 19 September at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Exquisite snacks based on seafood star in many cuisines around the world. Chef Frank Camorra (Movida Aqui) shares his recipe for luscious salty buñuelos de bacalao. Larger than life Greek chef Thomas Deliopoulos (Mykonos Restaurant, Kalimera Souvlaki) shows how to create two perfect dishes using a mighty five-kilo octopus – preserved in oil and cooked over charcoal. In the Thai world, the perfect seafood mouthfuls come from Northern Thailand in the form of miang kham - a multi-textured wake up for the taste buds from chef Pacharin ‘Air’ Jantrakool (Chon Thai). Louisiana style seafood sandwiches in the form of po’ boys using battered fried oysters and marinated prawns are prepared by chef Chris Weysham (Po’ Boy Quarter and East of Everything). Chef Danny Russo (Candelori’s, Russolini Group) uses neonata mixed with fermented chilli to create a Calabrese speciality known as “poor man’s caviar”, while Kiwi expatriate home cook Kate Kennedy whips up New Zealand’s beloved whitebait fritters which are served with buttered square white bread.

Thanks to Frank Camorra (Movida Aqui), Thomas Deliopoulos (Mykonos Taverna and Kalimera Souvlaki Art), Pacharin ‘Air’ Jantrakool (Chon Thai), Chris Weysham (Po’ Boy Quarter and East of Everything), Danny Russo (Candelori’s and Russolini Group), Kate Kennedy, The Eight, Zilver.


Buñuelos de bacalao

Octopus meze

Miang kham pla lom kwan

Whitebait fritters

Episode 6 – Fish On Fire

Aired 26 September at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Cooking fish over fire is an instant call to the tastebuds. Chef Lennox Hastie (Firedoor) takes his grill to a NSW south coast beach to cook a perfect whole flathead over coals, served with an ingenious pil-pil sauce. In Sydney’s Western suburbs, Vietnamese man of fire chef Ben Nguyen (Hai Au) cooks periwinkles and cockles while former Hanoi-born restaurateur Liên Yeomans shares her recipe for Chả cá lã vọng. Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc, Cutler and Co, Supernormal etc) forages for coastal vegetables on the Mornington Peninsula and cooks calamari over charcoal, making his own oyster sauce from scratch. Croatian chef of 40 years Ranko Despot (Balkan Seafood Restaurant) shows the traditional Gardella grill and cooks up a number of different fish, sharing tips and techniques on cooking perfect fish.

Thanks to Lennox Hastie (Firedoor), Ben Nguyen (Hai Au Lang Nuong), Liên Yeomans, Quan Yeomans and family, Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Supernormal), Mariana Despot-Maric, Ranko Despot (Balkan Seafood Restaurant), Pham Thanh Thuy, Michael Manh, Simon Anicich, Luke Daniels, Nathan Cattel, Thuan Phong Fish Market, Queen Victoria Market, Deep Blue Seafoods, Angela Christopolous. 


Grilled flathead, broccolini and chilli

Hanoi grilled fish (chả cá lã vọng)

Grilled calamari, oyster sauce and coastal greens 

Episode 7 – Shellfish

Aired 3 October at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Shark-defying scallop diver Paulie Polacco harvests some of the world’s most prized queen scallops off Kangaroo Island. Adelaide-based Calabrese chef Salvatore Pepe (Pepe’s Cucina) uses queen scallops to create a delicious mouthful called capesante gratinate. Mussel farmer Lance Wiffen harvests his ‘black gold” at Port Arlington on Port Philip Bay, Victoria explaining how sustainable and delicious these shellfish are.  Turkish chef Somer Sivrioglu (Anason, Efendy) shares his recipe for midye dolma and how to eat them Istanbul style, using the shell as a scoop. Italian dynamo Paola Toppi (Bar Machiavelli), loves the delicate sweetness of blue swimmer crab and uses it to star in her three-minute masterpiece, cooked with fresh pappardelle pasta. Continuing the Italian love of shellfish, chef Danny Russo (Candelori’s, Russolini Group) reckons scampi is the best gift of the ocean and cooks the delicate shellfish in a wood-fired oven.

Thanks to Paulie Polacco, Salvatore Pepe (Pepe’s Cucina), Lance Wiffen (Sea Bounty), Somer Sivrioglu (Efendy), Paola Toppi, (Bar Machiavelli), Danny Russo (Candelori’s and Russolini Group), Frank Camorra (Movida Aqui), Goolwa Pipi Co, Alistair Scott-Young, Emmy Gargiulo (Sydney Fish Market), Peter’s Sydney Fish Market, Belgian Beer Café Heritage, Costa Nemitsas, Issam Daoud, Southern Fresh Seafood.


Capesante gratinate

Almejas en salsa verde

Midye dolma

Wood-fired scampi

Pappardelle with blue swimmer crab

Pappardelle with blue swimmer crab

Online exclusive: Japanese steamed egg cups (chawanmushi)


Episode 8 – One Pot

Aired 10 October at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

The simplicity of cooking and serving seafood in one pot is a hallmark of cuisines around the world.  Chef Angie Hong shares the secrets of Vietnamese claypot and Cajun chef Chris Weysham (Po’ Boy Quarter, East of Everything) cooks his version of a crawfish boil with a spicy base and a mountain of prawns and crabs. Belgian chef David Coumont (Moxhe) cooks up a pot of mussels using eschallots and a splash of wine. Peruvian chef and teacher Jorge Chacon cooks the renowned hangover cure parihuela. Thai-Australian cafe owner and farmer Palisa Anderson (Boon Café) makes jungle curry using butterflied whiting while Spanish chef Gerardo Iglesias makes fideua in a paella pan on the jetty at Geelong, Victoria. 

Thanks to Angie Hong, Thuan Phong Fish Market, Michael Cotter, Chris Weysham (Po’ Boy Quarter and East of Everything), David Coumont (Moxhe), Jorge Chacon, Palisa Anderson (Boon Café), Gerardo Iglesias, Lance Wiffen (Sea Bounty), Phu Quoc Restaurant, Malay Chinese Takeaway, Jarern Chai, Chat Thai


Claypot fish

Moules frites

Parihuela (Peruvian seafood soup)

Sand whiting jungle curry


Episode 9 – Preserved

Aired 17 October at 8 pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Food Safari water captures the sheer adventure of one of the world’s great marine migrations – following the mullet run up Australia’s east coast, harvesting the roe to make the age-old preserved product bottarga, used as “the parmesan of the sea” by Sardinian chef Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) in a simple but fabulous spaghetti alla bottarga. BJ Plummer (Woodbridge Smokehouse, Tasmania) explains hot and cold smoking of salmon and ocean trout and the care taken to hand slice the rosy fish. Also in Tasmania, Japanese chef Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi, Geeveston) introduces how dashi is made and uses leftover bonito flakes to make a calcium rich sprinkle for rice called furikake. Malaysian Chinese chef Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook) shares his version of the Chinese tradition of making XO sauce while chef Frank Camorra (Movida) shows a simple Spanish recipe for pickling sardines with an escabeche sauce.

Thanks to Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater), BJ Plummer (Woodbridge Smokehouse), Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi), Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook), Frank Camorra (Movida), Robin Passmore, Benjamin Markwell

(Markwell Fisheries), Southern Fresh Seafood, Huon Aquaculture, Bar Tini Bodega, Thai Shun Co, James Ashmore (Ashmore Foods Tasmania), Kai Ho Ocean Treasure.


Spaghetti alla bottarga

Wakame furikake

Diamond shell clams in XO sauce

Sardinas en escabeche 

Episode 10 – Surf & Turf

Aired 24 October at 7.30pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Pairing the proteins of ocean and earth leads to an intriguing episode with some diverse and inspired flavour combinations. Vietnamese chef Dai Duong (Uncle, Uncle Collins) makes the classic Chao Tom, grilled to golden perfection. In the pre-dawn hours we join legendary brothers Meng and William Woon (Malay Chinese Takeaway) in making their rich prawn and pork stock, sharing their secret recipe that’s the basis of their iconic har mee soup. At the mouth of the Murray River, pipis are harvested by Alistair Scott-Young (Goolwa Pipi Company); Diogo Ferreira (Village on Cloey) and his mother Lucia use pipis combined with pork for a classic carne de porco a Alentejana. The elegant pairing of veal and tuna make vitello tonnato, shared by Pugliese chef Giuseppe Fuzio (Chiosco). Chef Martin Benn (Sepia) creates food as art as a tiger prawn morphs into a silky single sheet served with umami-rich broth made with the world’s most expensive jamon iberico.

Thanks to Dai Duong (Uncle), Alistair Scott-Young (Goolwa Pipi Company), Diogo Ferreira (Village on Cloey), Lucia Ferreira, Giuseppe Fuzio (Chiosco by Ormeggio), Alessandro & Anna Pavoni, Vicki Wild, Martin Benn (Sepia), Malay Chinese Takeaway, Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Nick’s Restaurant & Bar Group, Spencer Gulf Prawn Association


Pork and pippies (Carne de porco à alentejana)

Vitello tonnato

Tiger prawn skin, jamon dashi, cucumber & kinome

Sugarcane prawns (Chao tôm)

Sugarcane prawns {Chaọ tôm)

Episode 11 – Freshwater

Aired 31 October at 7.30pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

Tasmanian-based chef Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi Geeveston) heads out in the misty mornings on the Huon River to haul up eel nets set the night before, grilling his catch and brushing with a delicious soy glaze. Founder of the acclaimed Tasmanian cooking school The Agrarian Kitchen chef Rodney Dunn (The Agrarian Eatery) prepares local eels in a brine and cold smoke them on his farm. On a pristine mountain stream in Victoria’s High Country, chef Anthony Simone (Baby Café & Pizzeria) takes us to his favourite trout fishing spot from childhood and shares his simple recipe for smoking trout using a wok, hickory chips and eucalyptus leaves. Dynamic Vietnamese chef Jerry Mai (Annam Restaurant and Bar) cooks a spectacular grilled Murray cod with herbs, including a wicked dipping sauce. Revered chef Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong) shares his signature Australian dish of red claw yabbies and buckwheat pikelets.

Thanks to Masaaki Koyama (Masaaki’s Sushi), Kane Edel, Séverine Demanet, Rodney Dunn (The Agrarian Eatery), Bradley Finlayson (Tasmanian Eel Exporters), George and Patrizia Simone, Anthony Simone (Baby Café & Pizzeria), Jerry Mai (Annam Restaurant and Bar), Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong), Fink Group, Elizabeth Hewson, Keith Kneebone, Nicholas Seafood, Freshwater Australian Crayfish Traders and Marianvale Blue.


Unagi no kabayaki

Smoked eel sandwich

Smoked rainbow trout with wild fennel & mushrooms

Grilled Murray cod with mam nem dressing

Yabbies with buckwheat pikelets

Episode 12 – Feel Good Fish

Aired 7 November at 7.30pm on SBS and then catch-up on SBS On Demand.

A cheese and leek topped pie made with perfect white fish, smoked fish, salmon and plump prawns is chef Nelly’s Robinson’s (Nel Restaurant) favourite dish from childhood. Refugee and fisherman Nigethan Sithirasegaram (Tamil Feasts), makes a classic Sri Lankan crab curry. Talented home cooks Aurora Charabati demonstrates a fish and chips variation from Lebanon using the whole garfish. The fish that launched a thousand ships – salted dried cod – is a delicious comfort food treat for chef Jose Silva (Bibo Wine Bar) – his Bacalhau à Brás recipe sees cod soaked and cooked in a rich sauce with slowly cooked onions, eggs and shoestring potatoes.

Thanks to Nelly Robinson (Nel Restaurant), Nigethan Sithirasegaram (Tamil Feasts), Aurora Charabati, Jose Silva (Bibo Wine Bar), Chào Bà, Claypots Evening Star, Charlie’s Deli, The Santoro family, Paul Jones and Sharon Savdie, Dori Ellington, Kiwi Style Fish & Chips.


Fish pie

Sri Lankan crab curry

Banh xeo

Bacalhau à brás 

Episode 13 – Festive Fish

Airs 26 December at 7.30pm on SBS. WATCH THIS EPISODE NOW ON SBS ON DEMAND.

Every year Singaporean chef Alex Lee (Alex Lee Kitchen) makes Yusheng to celebrate the new year. The cold clear waters off Bruny island Tasmania are where lobster fisherman Clive Perryman harvests Southern Rock Lobster, a delicacy close to the heart of chef and wok master Chris Jin (China Doll), who grew up in Shanghai and always associated the lobster with a lucky dragon. Jin demonstrates how to cook the lobster with ginger and shallots, flamed with cognac for a truly show-stopping dish. In Senegal, the national dish of fish and rice is called thieboudienne, served on a huge communal platter. Aissatou Ba (Tastes of Senegal) shows how thieboudienne is made. In Brazil, seafood is very popular and the Bahia region in the north is home to a much-loved dish called bobó de camarão which is made with prawns, cassava and dende oil, a favourite of chef Luiza Yu Gomes (1821, Civic Hotels, Universal Hotels Catering) who serves it with the beloved staple farofa made with cassava flour. One of the best seafood dishes of celebration comes from Lebanon –   sayadieh, the pinnacle of many banquets and cooked by wholefoods chef and writer Fouad Kassab (Quirky Cooking's Life-Changing Food).

Thanks to Alex Lee (Alex Lee Kitchen), Ginger and Spice, Clive and Layla Perryman, Chris Jin (China Doll), Aissatou Ba and family (Tastes of Senegal), Luiza Yu Gomes (1821, The Civic Hotel, Universal Hotels Catering), Fouad Kassab and family (Quirky Cooking's Life-Changing Food), Lynne Hendrix, Ana Luisa de Brito Machado, Pao de Queijo by Ana, Brazilian Festival, Cinthia Nascimento.



Wok-fried lobster with ginger, shallot & cognac

Bobó de camarão


Maeve O'Meara is back in Food Safari Water. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.