Shiny urns at an Indian foodstall
After all the camera-snapping action of the festival parade, my stomach was making loud and angry demands for breakfast.
Haldon Street had a number of Lebanese bakeries, I discovered, and after my recent relevatory experience with Lebanese pizza, I was determined to eat some more. After a quick appraisal of all options, Moussa's Bakery & Pizza seemed like the real deal. Tiny shop, dodgy signage and plenty of local patronage--the AG good-food radar was up and firing!
The man behind the counter was wearing a Popeye t-shirt with rolled-up sleeves, showcasing the collection of tattooes on his upper arms. This prompted a wry smile on my behalf as I watched the spinach pies being shoved into the domed oven.
You could smell oregano and freshly baking pizza in that tiny space. Batches of piping hot pizzas were tossed onto cooling trays as they came out. More went in to take their place. Meanwhile I was trying to decide between the blackboard of pizza offerings.
Oregano pizza $1.00
Eventually I settle on ol' faithful, the oregano pizza. It's fresh and warm, with a soft crust, smothered in plenty of toasted sesame seeds and oregano, stuck on with a glazing of olive oil.
I still cannot believe this piece of home-made goodness is only $1! And yes, obviously I was hungry as I couldn't wait to shove this into my mouth before I realised that *sigh* yes, I really should take a photo.
A couple of hours later, I wander back here to try the spinach pie. I'd asked at a couple of other bakeries, but they had sold out already.
Spinach pie $1.50
This is a true re-enactment of what happened: I walked outside, found a patch of pavement not in harsh sunlight, and took the above photo. Then I took a bite to see what it tasted like. Like a spinach calzone. Cooked spinach slightly sour, but not dolmades sour. Lots of filling.
Spinach pie after a few contemplative mouthfuls
It tastes so good that I shove that baby back into its paperbag house and head back to the bakery. Inside I order five spinach pies and, ah, make that three oregano pizzas as well. For a laughable total of AU$10.50. That's dinner and two lunches at least...
But yeah, back to the festival.
What I found most endearing was the sight of all the kids dolled up to the nines. Every family was dressed up, many in national or local costume. There were gold-glittering saris, swirling-patterned hijab, shiny silk cheongsam on heel-tottering six-year-olds and then there were suits. These were my favourite...
I think Master Brown was upset that the free cardboard visors from the multilingual SBS Radio didn't come in his suit colour. And they're drinking free samples of Milo malt drink. It doesn't get any sweeter.
The shoes have to be comfortable
This little Indonesian girl was also dressed up but I loved her coordination with her Blundstones, the Aussie boot of choice.
And then there was the ethnic orgy of food. Foodstalls lined both sides of the street and there was lots of milling around, sniffing, poking and uh, taking photos.
Falafel + fire
It warmed my heart to see the symbolic harmony inherent in freshly formed Lebanese falafel being fried in a Chinese wok.
The mysterious washing-machine-like contraption prompted many a stare from passersby, yours truly included. Eventually I worked out that this was a tandoor. Every now and then the lid would be lifted and a tossed dough of naan would be slapped on the inside of the hot hot hot oven. Long skewers of tandoori chicken were also rested inside.
Tandoori chicken inside the tandoor
Here's what it looked like inside. That's a bit of dodgy photoshop work there, as the view inside was originally pitch black.
The blue and white round thing is the oven mitt upon which raw discs of naan are rested upon and then used to whack against the side of the oven until it sticks. A cooked naan rests in the bottom right corner.
The oven was smokin' hot! There is no way I would put my hand inside that thing.
This guy was adding spoonfuls of potato masala to dosai being cooked. The limits of space and cooking contraption meant the dosai looked a little thicker than usual and weren't nearly as spectacular as the ones I've had in restaurants.
There's always gozleme at outdoor festivals
These Turkish pizzas used to be my favourite port-of-call at these events but I think I'm gozlemed out these days.
I then went for a bit of a wander around the shops along Haldon Street and on both sides of the train station. There was a very funky Egyptian furnishings shop (by that I mean so cheesey it's good) and a Lebanese patisserie with impressive mountains of sugary delights. I spotted a Cocos Island cafe and plenty more. We've driven through Lakemba plenty of times but I've never made the effort to actually shop there or explore.
Love it. This would be great on some teenager's bedroom door surely.
I say this is an alligator (as opposed to a crocodile) because of its clearly broad snout. Either way, it's pretty cool.
There was a need for liquid refreshment and this did the job nicely. I do like tamarind but had never tried the soft drink. It was sweet with a hint of salty-sourness and lightly aerated.
Cheese toasties $5.00
I was intrigued by these. Not because of the product itself--sesame bread rolls were removed from plastic bags, cut in half and a slice of Swiss-looking cheese inserted. The sandwich was then whacked onto a grill and dusted with extra herby spices and chilli.
I was more fascinated by their popularity. The crowd could not get enough of them and I couldn't understand the reason when it looked like a product you could easily make at home (yes, that's how I order food in restaurants, weighted by my inability to reproduce the same dish in my own kitchen).
I'm still unsure. And they were far too busy for me to ask for more info.
My eventual lunch (and yes, I spent a long time pondering my options) was the tandoori chicken. After staring with undiluted fascinated at the tandoor man, I thought the least I could do was buy some from him.
Tandoori chicken with naan, raita and salad $5.00
The chicken was tasty and remarkably tender. And the zingy cucumber raita was mopped up with the naan until the plate was clean.
Colombian dancers wait off-stage before their performance
This year's Haldon Street Festival was held on Saturday 27 August 2005. This annual event is in its sixth year, and celebrates respect, unity and peace.
Click here to see the Haldon Street Festival photos Part I: The Parade.
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9/09/2005 11:59:00 pm