Aug 2, 2010

Bankstown Bites, July 31, 2010.

Bankstown Bites is Bankstown City Council's annual food festival. Because I'm working in the area this year, I decided to join in and support the Council's initiative.

One of the highlights of the day is the range of Discovery Food Tours.  Members of Bankstown's ethnically diverse community volunteer to take visitors on a 45 minute tour of some of the highlights of their culture's culinary role in Bankstown.  All it costs is $2 per person. The tours were colour coded and the range of themes included: wine and cheese, Asian desserts, European desserts, Asian cooking and tea as well as a healthy fresh produce tour.  It is no wonder that they book out very quickly.  I only found out about the tours 2 weeks ago and they had filled all the pre-booked places on all 3 rounds of tours.

So I had to line up on the day.  The official start time for the day was 10am, with tours starting at 10.30am.  This was the line at 10am and it remained solid for the whole day.  It was amazing the number of people that braved the grey and rainy start to the day.

I managed to get my ticket for the Purple Tour - Asian foods.  To bide my time, I wondered around the stalls that were set up.

Organically grown vegetables

There was a large display about sustainable living.  I especially like the chicken run display.  The children loved it and were even allowed to pat the chickens in their enclosure.


I was really impressed with how inclusive the event was both in terms of the entertainment and also the community groups that were involved.  A local brass band opened the day's festivities.  The local branch of the SES were there as were community outreach groups who organized some of the cooking and kids craft tents.

There was a range of activities to keep children entertained.  Including a Punch and Judy show.  I don't remember every seeing Punch and Judy at an Australian community event before.
The Punch and Judy stage

Thai Food Tent in front of the Train.
The concourse next to the train station and railway line was filled with stalls.

Chips on a stick - wish I had tried them

I wish I hadn't had breakfast already.

Japanese dough balls topped with bonito flakes.

The Yagoona Brass Band making their way to centre stage.

Setting up for a Vietnamese fresh spring roll demonstration.

The clowns and their balloons were very popular.

It was soon time to go to the starting point for the tours.
The Purple Discovery Food Tour Departs Here
Joseph was our friendly and helpful tour guide for the morning.  He chose to confuse us all by wearing a green jacket over his purple tour leaders t-shirt.

And we're off...
Our first stop was the biggest Asian grocery store in Bankstown Plaza, Best Value Supermarket.  There was so much to see.  These were some of my favourite finds.

From the frozen dim sum cabinet....

Frozen har gow and other dim sum favourites.
Elegant inoki mushrooms chilling in the refrigerator cabinet.

In the herb section, packets were labelled in Chinese, English as well as with the Latin genus and species.

Chinese macaroni.

Jumbo value packages of my favourite crackers.  They have a texture unlike any Western biscuit.  Possibly because there's a whole heap of artificial chemicals and flavour enhancers going on.  They used to foods friends and relatives would have to ferry back to Australia from trips to South East Asia but these days, many of these can be found at Coles and Woolworths.

I don't know the name of these but I first had them when I was 8.  A family friend brought them from Taiwan.
They have the texture of dense cracker bread but taste both sweet and sour.

Like my other favourite but with icing on top.
Sounds weird but they are so good.

On to the fresh food area.

Melon and pumpkins.

Duck eggs with varying levels of salting.

Natural duck eggs.

Our next stop was for tea tasting at Nature Care & Acupuncture Centre.  I tired Goji berry tea.  Which was the first time I've ever tried the Goji berry.  Is there nothing this tea can't do?  It protects the liver, helps vision, improves libido (don't they all...) and fertility, strengthens the legs (good for the boost to your libido, I guess), improves circulation and also promotes longevity.  Not bad value for a cup of thick and sweet tea.

I have no idea what there are.

I found some glass cups at the front of the store.  Cupping on the skin is meant to have many therapeutic benefits too.

Our last stop was for lunch at the local pub.

Being a pub in Bankstown, the condiments table featured chopped chilli and several kinds of chilli sauce,
as well as salt an pepper.
Where we were treated to lunch.

It was a very generous end to our tour.  I went back to the tour booking tent hoping to get on to a sweets and desserts tour but they were all booked out.  I decided to visit the central area of food stalls before I left.

I found the gozeleme stall and had a lovely chat with the man behind the counter.  He greeted me by my first name as if we were old friends.  It took me a while to realize that he had read my name tag from the tour.  Duh.

I returned home with a full belly and laden with shopping and freebies.

The showbag from Best Value Supermarket.
I will report back on the green tea, crispy chicken snacks and noodles.

How did Bankstown City Council know I was in need of a new ruler?


  1. Oh - am having lifestyle envy. Beats shopping at the local IGA that's for sure.

    Hope all is going well in your world SSG.

  2. A Farmer's Wife: I'll see your case of lifestyle envy for a rip roaring case of envy of those who have young children to think of when making lifestyle choices. The grass is always greener.... :-) Hope all is well with you too.

    SSG xxx

  3. I ADORE this blog entry! The festival look wonderful and the way you write and take pictures make me feel like I was there too.
    I will have to seek a similar fair out in Melbourne.
    Thank you for sharing. :)

  4. I love how the pub has all of the typical asian condiments! :P Looks like lots of fun!


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