Adam Liaw's tropical Christmas feast

Adam Liaw
Adam Liaw's tropical fruit glazed ham.
Adam Liaw's tropical fruit glazed ham. Photo: William Meppem

There's no doubt that Australian Christmas traditions first sprang from our English migrant history. But there are also many aspects that are home-grown. Our poolside barbecues, oysters, pavlovas, and bucketloads of prawns are the Instagram envy of many a relative or friend shivering through a northern winter.

Our festive food is also about family, as Paul Kelly sang in How to Make Gravy, even if it's not a Christmas song. My family is part English and part Asian, so our Christmases have always been a mixture of influences. Turkey stuffed with glutinous rice, prawns barbecued with sambal, and pandan pavlovas have all made appearances.

That mix of Eastern and Western tastes might sound exotic, but for us it just made good sense. It's who we are, and actually it works incredibly well with the Australian climate. If you want to bring a bit of an Asian flavour and tropical tang to your Christmas spread, here are a few recipes to think about.

Tropical fruit glazed ham

Serves 15-20

A glazed ham is a great choice for a Christmas centrepiece. It's already cooked, so you just need to glaze it and warm the ham through. Keep the glaze chutney-sweet, with just a touch of savoury, and you'll never go wrong.

Adam Liaw's raw snapper kinilaw.

Photo: William Meppem

Snapper kinilaw

Serves 10, as part of a shared meal

Kinilaw is a Filipino-style ceviche, and I prefer to serve it straight away so you can experience the freshness of the fish. As it continues to marinade and "cook" in the vinegar, the texture of the dish will change. Other people prefer the dish when it has marinated for hours, so how you serve it is up to you.


Recipe here

Coconut and lychee pavlova with mango sauce.

Photo: William Meppem

Coconut and lychee pavlova with mango sauce

Serves 10

An Australian Christmas without pavlova doesn't feel like Christmas at all. 

Recipe here

See also: Adam Liaw's peach and passionfruit pavlova pots