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Modern Australian cuisine makes waves in Bali

Expatriate chefs rule culinary roost on Indonesian resort island

An Australia-inspired offering at Bali's Sea Circus.

DENPASAR, Indonesia -- A generation ago, Australia was a culinary backwater known for meat pies, hamburgers with beetroot and Vegemite on toast -- like "British food, but worse," mused a food critic for The New York Times.

That all changed around the turn of the century. Influences from immigrant communities from Asia and the Mediterranean coalesced with a health-food craze and an abundance of fresh local produce to give birth to "modern Australian cuisine" -- a whimsical fusion of simple, wholesome foods cooked and presented exceptionally well.

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