How to get non-seafood eaters eating seafood

Think you don’t like seafood? These dishes might just make you think again.

Not all of us fall – hook, line and sinker for seafood. For some, it’s the texture of proteins such as oysters that cements a distaste for it; for others, that salty, oceanic punch is an acquired taste, if acquired at all.

But not all seafood is alike. For those averse to the “fishy” flavour typically associated with seafood, we are here to tell you: there is hope! From the smoky, chilli crunch of Flying Fish’s Spencer Gulf prawns to the spice-and-citrus tang of Kiyomi’s Moreton Bay bug tempura, we got our very own chefs to put together their seafood dishes they think will convert even non-seafood eaters.

Kenji Lai, Chef de Cuisine, Fat Noodle, The Star Sydney

What is a seafood dish on your menu that is good enough to convert even non-seafood eaters?
Lobster with spicy XO sauce & glass noodles. This deluxe dish is very unique, with its smoky flavour, chilli heat and texture of dried seafood in XO sauce. It’s definitely worth a try when it’s in season.

How is it prepared?
A beautiful, whole lobster is butterflied, caramelised with hot oil on the wok, then cooked medium-well. Homemade XO paste is added with a at low-medium heat, sautéed until fragrant, then chicken stock and glass noodle is added before returning the lobster simmer until cooked. Seasoning is added and stir-fried with high heat to get the smoky flavour. The sauce coats the lobster nicely. For plating, it is presented and garnish with chopped scallion and chilli.

Winson Law, Chef de Cuisine, Kiyomi, The Star Gold Coast

What is a seafood dish on your menu that is good enough to convert even non-seafood eaters?
It would be our Moreton Bay bug tempura with grapefruit salad and sambal mayonnaise. There is a very thin, crispy crunch from the tempura batter, and a meaty texture from the bug meat. And a freshness from the grapefruit salad, finished with a little spiciness from the sambal mayo.

How is it prepared?
First, we portion the bug meat in bite-size pieces and prepare the grapefruit salad: julienned green papaya, diced grapefruit, thinly sliced red chilli. We blend the sambal paste, fold it into mayo and adjust the thickness with Amazu (Japanese sweet and sour sauce).

After that, we make the tempura batter with potato starch, used in combination with tempura flour and mix it with soda water or sparkling water to make the batter light. It has to keep the batter ice-cold. The bug tailpieces are lightly coated with tempura flour, dipped into the batter, fried until lightly golden and seasoned with salt

What are the elements that really bring it to life?
This dish incorporates both traditional and contemporary elements. Tempura is a traditional Japanese fried dish. Our grapefruit salad has hints of sweet, sour and spicy, which is a popular flavour profile for modern Asian food. The Moreton Bay bug with lightly coated tempura batter changes the texture of the dish, especially loved by those who are non-seafood eaters. 

Do you have any tips for eating it?
Definitely use your hands instead of cutlery for eating. You will find this is a fun way to enjoy the dishes more. I also recommend an iced fresh mint and lime soda.

Rebecca Merhi, Junior Sous Chef, Flying Fish, The Star Sydney

What is a seafood dish on your menu that is good enough to convert even non-seafood eaters?
BBQ Spencer Gulf prawns with crunchy chilli oil.

How would you describe the flavour profile of the dish?
The prawns are barbecued over a mixture of coals and iron bark, resulting in a smoky and meaty prawn, which is then enhanced by the crunchy chilli oil, which balances the delicateness of the prawn while bringing a fragrance to the dish.

Do you have any tips for eating it?
I would recommend using your hands and pairing it with a nice, crisp white wine.

Mitchell Tucker, Sous Chef, Nineteen at The Star, The Star Gold Coast

What is a seafood dish on your menu that is good enough to convert even non-seafood eaters?
Our breaded John Dory dish with house-made tartare and lemon. Crispy yet buttery fish flavour with a slight acidic tartare sauce makes for an easy and well-balanced meal. 

What are the elements that really bring it to life?
The fish itself is outstanding. It is breaded in our herb panko crumbs, then shallow fried in foaming French butter. This dish is very delicious and is a favourite among our customers.

Do you have any tips for eating it?
It’s a must to have some of our hand-cut fries with this, whilst also having a generous amount of tartare with each bite of fish. An ice-cold beer certainly would not be frowned upon while enjoying this meal