One of those is Evan White, adventurer, chef and mastermind behind Mexican Taqueria, Chupacabra, its menu bursting with the smoke, spice and citrus of authentic Yucatan cuisine. It’s slow-cooked fast food at its very best.
As well as the chilled lifestyle in both Byron and Oaxaca, the two places also share a very similar ecosystem, something not lost on local farming entrepreneurs. The Byron region now boasts some great citrus farms producing more than 70 different types of limes and an abundance of orange varieties. One of these varieties is perfect for Evan’s earthy, tangy cochinita, Yucatan's signature slow-roasted, citrus-marinated pork dish.
And nearby is Picone Exotics, where more than 200 varieties of rare tropical fruits and vegetables flourish including unusual Mexican ingredients such as jewel corns, Mexican cream guava, sapotes – even mamey, a fruit that tastes a little bit like a sweet potato.
Australia's East Coast Current mirrors the conditions of the Mexican Gulf Stream too providing Evan with tuna, sailfish, prawns and more, that he can access direct from the fisheries. It’s little wonder ceviche is a big star on the menu at Chupacabra.
And speaking of ceviche, we were thrilled when Evan was happy to share one of his favourite recipes with The Bower team – Ceviche Mexicana – as well as a Frozen Passionfruit Margaritas cocktail to sip on slowly between mouthfuls.
Ah Byron. You attract the best!
CHUPACABRA'S CEVICHE MEXICANA
Chef: Evan White
500g Snapper fillet
5-6 limes juiced
1 cup diced fresh tomato (remove seeds first)
1 green capsicum diced
4tbsp chopped coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 jalapeños sliced or diced 1 small red onion finely sliced
1 avocado diced
1 dash hot sauce (Cholula or Tabasco)
Making ceviche is about letting the citric acid in your lime juice "cook" the raw fish. This
process denatures the fish and breaks down its proteins making it tender while remaining
deliciously light and fresh. Ask your fishmonger for a boneless and skinless fillet, and cut into
a 1cm dice. It's important to cut a small dice to increase the surface area coming in contact
with the lime juice. We use The Bay Seafood for a beautiful fresh fish, asking for sashimi
grade is best. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, the
outside of the fish will turn slightly opaque. Garnish with extra coriander and serve with
CHUPACABRA'S FROZEN PASSIONFRUIT MARGARITAS
200 mls good quality blanco tequila
12 passionfruits or two small tins unsweetened passionfruit pulp
Salt or Tajín seasoning to rim
3 cups white sugar
2-3 cups water
We use a big churning slushie machine to make our frozen margaritas at Chupacabra but you can get the same effect with a blender or Nutri-bullet.
Mix sugar and water together, dissolve over low heat. Cool and store in fridge. For margaritas, reserve half a passionfruit per margarita. Pass remaining pulp through a sieve by stirring vigorously until as much orange liquid as possible is removed from seeds. Add this liquid, tequila and 60mls syrup to a blender and cover with lots of ice. Blend until smooth. Wet rim of glasses with a lime wedge, then dip in salt or Tajín. Fill glasses with frozen margarita, garnish with half a fresh passionfruit. Serves 4.