For the latest in our series, we’re back with another Food Trends 101 entry and this time, it’s all about the small, yellow-skinned citrus fruit that’s gaining popularity beyond its home country of Japan: the Yuzu.
If you haven’t heard of this foreign sounding “wonderfruit” before, it's not as far fetched as it sounds. A yuzu is very similar to the lemons and limes you're used to, only with a more distinct flavor and aroma that can set your citrus flavoured recipes apart and create a new and unique product offering or recipe.
In fact, this Asian fruit is unique for its fragrant scent, refreshing tang, and super sour taste. Chefs use the zest or juice to add an extraordinary tartness to any dish. Importer Leigh Hudson of Chef's Armoury said, you can “use it anywhere you would use lemon juice. It's mind-blowingly delicious.''
Though there’s more to Yuzu than just a tastier lemon. The peel can also be used to color different dishes, the juice can be added to cocktails, and it can be turned into seasonings or a fragrant spice paste called Yuzu Kosho. More than that, if mixed with water, it can be a great energy-boosting morning drink, too! That’s probably because of the many health and nutritional benefits of the fruit. Experts say that Yuzu contains more Vitamin C than your ordinary lemons, plus it’s high in citric acid, potassium, and calcium.
This versatility has made Yuzu a dominant an enduring food trend and pushed the super-fragrant fruit to become Australia’s new love.
Locally, Yuzu is already being used in several restaurants and cafes, and both customers and chefs loving it. At one of Melbourne's hottest new Japanese restaurants, Kisumé, guests are served a number of dishes flavoured with yuzu. One of their “must-try” dishes? The Yuzu-Miso Grilled Sardines. In Fitzroy North, head chefs at Matteo’s use Yuzu in sweet and savoury dishes. "We do a yuzu butter sauce that's great for fish and for heirloom carrots. It's pretty expensive, but it goes a long way,” chef Brendan McQueen said. Matteo’s also serves poached meringue with yuzu ice-cream, nashi pear and salted pistachio crumbs.
Moving to New South Wales, there’s a tiny Asian cafe in Surry Hills named Cafe Cre Asion that's making delectable macarons in 15 different flavours and unsurprisingly, Yuzu is one of them. ''It cuts through the sweetness of the meringue beautifully,'' owner and chef Yu Sasaki explained.
Yuzu-flavoured cocktails are also trending. The Yuzu liquer from Choya, the company that crafts umeshu (a traditional japanese liquer from the ume fruit) was recently launched in the local market to keep up with the trend and accommodate the rising demand for the lemon-like Japanese fruit flavours in the local bar scene.
Needless to say, Yuzu is today’s citrus flavor of choice. Despite the fruit being rare and very costly, we still see a bright future for it in the Australian market - particularly to put a unique and premium twist on recipes and menus.
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