Say hello to the spanner crab
The name Sunshine Coast conjures up images of stunning beaches and curvaceous coastlines, but not many people know that its waters are also a rich source of incredible produce. When dining out in Sunshine Coast, you’re likely to see regional favourites on the menu – such as Mooloolaba king prawns, Cole trout, Moreton Bay bugs and of course, the Fraser Isle Spanner Crabs.
Spanner crabs are the crustacean cousin of the mud crab and sand crab, but unlike other crabs in the family, this one is endemic to Queensland. Sourced from the pristine waters off the world-heritage-listed Fraser Island, these spanner crabs are renowned for their sweet, juicy flesh, thanks to a diet of scallops and prawns.
Fraser Isle Spanner Crabs is the brand name of Aussie Red Crab Pty Ltd, founded by husband-and-wife team Les and Lyn Apps. Born and raised in Sunshine Coast, the Apps say they can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. After all, as Les says, “What better environment can you have?”
Fellow Sunshine Coast resident and 2016 MasterChef runner-up Matt Sinclair counts himself as an avid fan of these spanner crabs. “It’s a sign of who Les and Lyn are as people that no matter how big their business has become, they still only want to deal directly with restaurants,” Sinclair says.
Sinclair is currently the owner of Sum Yung Guys, a trendy modern Asian restaurant in Noosa. Because we can’t yet travel Down Under, Sinclair has whipped up a mouth-watering spanner crab fried rice recipe, which you can enjoy at home with locally-sourced ingredients. You can get spanner crab from retailers such as The Fishwives and NTUC Fairprice.
Get to know Matt Sinclair
Originally from the suburbs of Sydney, Sinclair comes from a long line of talented home cooks who honed his passion for great food. The laidback young chef became a household name when he participated in Masterchef Australia’s eighth series, eventually coming in second.
After the season wrapped, Sinclair and his best friend decided to fulfil their lifelong dream of owning a food truck and set up a store in the form of a 20ft shipping container at Eat Street market in Brisbane. The success of their food truck lent them the confidence to build a more permanent business on the Sunshine Coast. In 2017, they welcomed their first guests to Sum Yung Guys, a modern Asian restaurant that continues to be a crowd favourite.
Sinclair sees Queensland as a culinary hotspot and draws inspiration from the region for his menus. “Queensland’s food scene is ever-emerging with some amazing new establishments in amazing locations, championing the unique produce we’re renowned for,” he says.
Today, Sinclair also runs his own YouTube food channel (Mean Eating) and is an Ambassador for Noosa Tourism.
Why you need to visit the Sunshine Coast
While international borders remain closed, there’s no reason we can’t plan for future trips with Singapore Airlines. And one destination you definitely need to put on your wish list is the Sunshine Coast. As its name suggests, the Sunshine Coast is a popular holiday destination for both local and international visitors because of its temperate climate and gorgeous natural scenery. Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is easily accessible and easy to navigate.
Those raring for an action-packed holiday can look forward to hiking through the area’s many national parks or kayaking through the Noosa Everglades – one of only two of the world’s everglades systems. Prefer something slower-paced? With over 100km of sandy coastline, you’re sure to find the perfect slice of paradise to unwind and enjoy a languorous vacation.
Then of course, there’s the food. From the ocean to the hinterland, the Sunshine Coast offers an abundance of fresh local produce that translates to a vibrant dining scene. Whether you’re digging into a platter of oysters at a local market or supping on a seafood feast at one of the state’s many top-notch restaurants, you’ll be sure to find something that nourishes both your belly and your soul.
Covering the north-eastern portion of Australia, Queensland is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, with a coastline that spans nearly 7,000km. Brisbane, its capital, is already an attractive destination, thanks to its thriving arts and dining scene, but its accessibility also enables travellers to use it as a hub for scenic road trips through the rest of Queensland.
Within the city, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the growing number of sophisticated dining venues popping up across town. A popular choice is the heritage-listed wharf along the Brisbane River where you’ll find an eclectic collection of fine dining establishments, bars and breweries. Even nondescript laneways in the city have been spruced up to house chic cafés and trendy restaurants. To eat like the locals do, pop by Eat Street Northshore, which is the city’s largest street food market and features a mouth-watering array of international cuisines as well as live music entertainment.
Taste of Queensland is a campaign that aims to highlight local produce from Queensland’s famous food bowls. From Sunshine Coast for fresh ocean catch to Outback Queensland, producer of the finest Australian beef, all the way to North Queensland for tropical fruits galore, you can easily (and happily) eat your way around Australia’s second-largest state.
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