Fresh sugar cane juice
The Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year. The Vietnamese call it Tet. Every year Tet is celebrated by Sydney's Vietnamese community, culminating in a huge festival open to all. For years this event had been held at Warwick Farm, but this year it made the move to the Fairfield Showground. Speedy and I headed over to check out all the action with friends - a first time visit for all of us.
Entry ticket $5.00
I'm glad I'd thought to take a photo of my entry ticket because it was promptly collected by the time I walked the 20m from the sales booth to the entry gate. The entry fee was apparently donated to charity.
Inside there are rows and rows of white marquee tents, the tantalising aromas of charcoaled meat, rides aplenty complete with side show alley, and families and prams as far as the eye can see. It's pretty much the Vietnamese equivalent to the Royal Easter Show, but with much tantalising food.
Nem nuong grilled pork skewers and barbecued corn
Bun thit nuong - vermicelli noodles with bbq pork
A prawn carved from a carrot!
Demonstrating the latest must have vegetable shredders and knives
Spring rolls and chao tom prawn paste on sugar cane stick
Vietnamese lotto / bingo
The Vietnamese lotto stand was a hugely popular attraction with hopeful punters. What was most striking was the entertaining manner in which the numbers were called. The singing was loud and rhythmic, and I'm told the numbers were called in a similar fashion to "Number 11, Legs Eleven" and "Two Fat Ladies, 88". The sing-song catchphrases drilled their way into my subconscious, I could still hear them repeating in my head on the way home.
Noodles for all
BBQ pork balls
Bo la lop beef wrapped in leaves
The bo la lop were fantastic bited-sized morsels. These vine leaf-rolled mini cigars contained a fatty spicy beef sausage laced with fish sauce, garlic and chilli. The leaf is eaten along with the beef, its time on the barbecue lacing it with smoky flavours.
Banh khoc mini savoury pancakes
Banh khoc (also known as banh khot) were also a revelation in flavours and texture. I watched fascinated as cast iron pans, each with eight rounded indents and placed over intense gas flames, were heated with oil. An unpeeled small prawn was dropped in each until the shell deep-fried to a cackle, then a dollop of rice flour batter ladled in.
A sprinkle of green shallots followed, then the mixture allowed to cook until the bottom was a golden crisp.
Served with a generous douse of nuoc cham dipping sauce and a side of pickled shredded carrots, I couldn't get enough of these starchy little pancakes with gloriously crisp and crunchy bottoms.
Banh khoc $7.00 for 8
A great day for all.
Cung chúc tân xuân.
Happy New Year.
Tenderising grilled squid
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This year's Tet Festival was held at Fairfield Showground, February 6-8, 2009.
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2/11/2009 01:01:00 am