Asian food continues to be popular in Australia

The flavours of some of Australia's nearest neighbours are continuing to inspire home chefs, with Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisines among the most popular options for consumers looking to expand their cooking repertoire in the coming year.

The findings of new fresh vegetable consumer research from Project Harvest, commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, reflect an ongoing eagerness among a broad cross-section of Australians to move beyond their traditional cooking styles towards dishes and flavours that were once deemed “niche” or “exotic” by many consumers.

“Both currently and in terms of future cooking intent, the exciting flavours and textures of international cuisines are really appealing to vegetable consumers,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.

According to the research, 62 per cent of Australians plan on cooking more Asian cuisines in the next 12 months, compared to 35 per cent for European cuisines and 17 per cent for Middle Eastern. When shoppers were asked which Asian cuisines they plan on cooking, the most common responses were Chinese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and Malaysian.

“The most popular cooking technique for Australians looking to use vegetables in Asian cuisine is still the stir-fry – the quick exposure to intense heat helps to unlock the natural flavours of veggies while still keeping their characteristic textures,” said Mr Lindhe.

“Stir-frying also gives you the full benefit of the vibrant colours of fresh produce, which is a big factor for many consumers – for example, when you ask shoppers why they buy capsicums, the most common response is ‘to add colour to a meal’.”

“Many Asian cooking styles, like stir fries and curries, also let you bring together all the food groups in the one offering instead of having veggies as a side dish or serving a salad – which can help encourage the fussy eaters in a family to finish their veggies.”

“Looking at the enthusiasm among Australians about trying new cooking styles with their veggies, it’s clearly a great time for consumers to get on the front foot and make some New Year’s pre-solutions by expanding their horizons in the kitchen before the end of the year,” said Mr Lindhe.

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