Apart from the occasional feast at Jasmin, it seems like the only time I ever take the time to shop in Lakemba is during the annual Haldon Street Festival.
Mother Nature was kind to us. It bucketed rain endlessly last night, but it was warm and sunny today even if the skies were somewhat grey.
Lakemba is a cosmopolitan mix of cultures. There's a strong Muslim community here and plenty of young families. This was my third visit to the festival, an annual event that is always crowded, in a happy kind of way. But as you pick your way through the endless prams and the gaggle of kids shrieking with laughter, you start to feel this really is a community gathering, owned and appreciated by the Lakemba residents, and a memorable big day out for all involved.
Falafel from the La Roche Restaurant stall
Guava juice and other drinks
I'm a helpless Lebanese pizza addict and made my usual stop at Al-Fayhaa Bakery.
Oregano pizza with vegetables $2.00
I'm always amazed at how cheap these freshly made delights are. These fluffy rounds of pizza dough are cooked in a woodfire oven, shoved in four at a time on long planks of wood. For a mere $2, my piping hot oregano pizza was dressed with thick slices of juicy tomato, spears of green capsicum, a generous mound of sliced Spanish olives and a handful of refreshing mint leaves.
Bliss is a mouthful of this pizza, soft and springy with only a hint of a crust. Warm and aromatic in your greedy little palms, it's a kaleidoscope of flavours, salty and sweet, bound by olive oil and herby za'atar. The dusting of flour on your lips is an unavoidable bonus.
Up the road I popped into Al-Madina Bakery for more pizzas, this time in mini-size and bundled home for perfect late night snacking. The meat pizza is not as meaty as it looks, more tomato in flavour albeit with lamby undertones.
Meat pizza, medium $1.00
And the spinach pizza pocket cannot be beaten. This is the cheapest place I've found for spinach pizza - elsewhere it's about $1.50 (50 cents yes, but 50% increase also!).
Spinach pizza, medium $1.00
And dessert? A little wander into Viva Pinoy, supplier of all your Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and yes, Filipino needs.
Viva Pinoy Asian Grocery Store
Ube ensaymada $1.90
I emerged with an ube ensaymada, a sweet Filipino bread. Topped with a buttery crust of sugar crystals, this soft spongy bun had a purple coconut filling, made with ube purple yam. A little like the filling to a Chinese cocktail bun, but less buttery, it was scoffed quickly and a fitting multicultural end to a day of community celebration.
This year's Haldon Street Festival was held on Saturday 25 August 2007. This annual event is in its eight year, and celebrates respect, unity and peace.
137a Haldon Street, Lakemba, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9750 9009
156 Haldon Street, Lakemba, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9758 2665
Open 7 days, 7am-5pm
La Roche Lebanese Restaurant
61-67 Haldon St, Lakemba, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9759 9257
Viva Pinoy Asian Grocery Store
35 Railway Parade, Lakemba, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9750 8804
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Haldon Street Festival 2006
Haldon Street Festival 2005: The parade
Haldon Street Festival 2005: The food
El Manara, Lakemba
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8/25/2007 11:17:00 p.m.