Bankstown Bites. The most rewarding fooding festival on the Sydney calendar.
I can hardly believe it's been three years since my last visit at the inaugural Bankstown Bites Festival. Since then, the festival has grown in size and popularity. Crowd estimates were set at 15,000 according the Bankstown Council website.
The highlight, of course, was the range of free food tours on offer: an opportunity to explore the culinary delights of Bankstown, meet the shopkeepers, and taste some samples!
Sweets at Valley View Continental Groceries and Spices
The Green Discovery Food Tour took us to my favourite spice shop Valley View Continental Groceries and Spices. The market-style arrangement of spice mountains never fails to impress. Vibrant coloured pyramids of smoked paprika, curry powder, chilli and tumeric radiate heat like an edible sunset. There are cinnamon quills, nigella seeds, harissa paste and spice rubs. The dried mint smells like it was picked only last week.
Beans and flours
Star of anise
Bright yellow ears of corn wait to be cooked fresh for you at the entrance. The corn at Valley View is a drawcard for locals; it's hard not to bump into someone nibbling on a buttered and peppered corn cob in the nearby streets. Plump shiny cherries and polished chestnuts also try to lure us, but we continue on, a seafood shop next and then a bakery which thoughtfully provides us with tray full of samples.
Frozen beef slices at Best Value Supermarket
The Red Discovery Food Tour is all about Asian supermarkets and grocery stores. Our tour host, a volunteer who works for Bankstown City Council, takes us patiently through the aisles of Best Value Supermarket. "Cheaper than Woolworths", she repeats with glee. She points out teas, tofus, dumplings and more.
We continue on to a Herb Centre that provides tastings of chrysanthemum tea and pu-erh tea. Our tour ends at the Asian Brasserie at Oscars Sports Hotel where our group is generously provided with three giant-sized plates of freshly cooked dishes: jelly fish salad, Vietnamese spring rolls with vermicelli and salad, and lemongrass chicken. There's nothing but silence and nods of satisfaction all around.
Lebanese desserts from Sweet City
I'd deliberately saved the Pink Discovery Food Tour for last - what better way to end the day than with a belly full of sweets.
Baklava and pastries
We make the long trek down South Terrace to Sweet City first. It's worth the walk. Not only does the owner offer us the choice of sampling any pastry we'd like--a plethora of rose-syrup soaked choices--we also get a crack at their homemade ice creams too - the pistachio is strangely firm and chewy but in a deliciously addictive manner.
A 2kg block of Turkish delight, sliced to order
Fried semolina biscuits soaked in rose syrup
Rum babas from Sweet Fantasy Continental Cakes
We waddle across the road to Sweet Fantasy Continental Cakes where the samples continue. Here the cakes have more of a Greek and European leaning, with chocolate and cream making regular appearances. We're plied with caramel cake, chocolate cake and mini hot chocolates.
Last stop is Cafe Amoura by the train station for a much needed coffee. It's strong and robust and full of body - much like my belly, I'd come to think!
Hazelnut, orange and roast almond balls
White chocolate and almond coated komakia
This year's Bankstown Bites Food Festival was held on Saturday 26 July 2008. For further information, visit the Bankstown Bites website.
GREEN DISCOVERY FOOD TOUR - Fresh food and spices
Valley View Continental Groceries and Spices
Shop 40 The Appian Way, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9790 0465
North Terrace Seafoods
120 North Terrace, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9790 6851
BC Homestyle Bakery
119 Bankstown City Plaza, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9708 1556
RED DISCOVERY FOOD TOUR - Asian supermarkets and grocery stores
Best Value Supermarket
32-34 Bankstown City Plaza, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 970 2288
Vien Dong Chinese Herbs Centre
50 Bankstown City Plaza, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9790 6989
Bankstown Brasserie at Oscars Sports Hotel
307 Chapel Road South, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel +61 (02) 9707 2458
PINK DISCOVERY FOOD TOUR - Desserts
Sweet City and Hadla Ice Cream
1/222 South Terrace, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9790 6886
Sweet Fantasy Continental Cakes
Shop 1, 232 South Terrace, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9708 6000
141 Bankstown City Plaza, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9790 1930
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Yagoona - Nhu Quynh (fresh tofu and soy milk)
Yagoona - Rodriguez Brothers (chorizo, jamon and smallgoods)
Bankstown - El Bahsa Sweets
Greenacre - Sabbagh Patissery
Punchbowl - Rabeih Sweets (Aug07) and (Mar05)
Bankstown Bites Food Festival 2009
Bankstown Bites Food Festival 2005
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7/30/2008 11:57:00 p.m.