In what has been described as a “fatal misunderstanding of a classic Aussie dessert”, Chinese chefs have been substituting grated rhino horn for the standard grated coconut. Coconut is used to coat the outside of lamingtons, which are cubes of stale sponge cake covered in chocolate and are a traditional Australian dish first made in Queensland over 100 years ago.
Kaz Krazy Kong, an Australian born celebrity chef of Chinese background, told The Asia Beat, “From their viewpoint, they feel they’re adding value. We (Chinese) like to slip a tiger penis or rhino horn into almost anything. From a taste point of view, they’re almost identical. Frankly, if you’re cooking with stale sponge, rhino horn is the least of your worries.”
The dish has taken China by storm since being served to Wen Jia Bao at the Australian Embassy in 2006. His wife PeiLi is believed to have first suggested using the aphrodisiac as a coating. Local chefs are innovating with Chinese ingredients, and there is even a savoury version using a cube of tofu dipped in plum sauce.