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Monday, June 11, 2018

Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018

Street stall at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street

Four nights. That's how many nights you have left to visit one of Sydney's most vibrant and family-friendly night food markets. The Ramadan Food Festival in Lakemba is a community iftar, the breaking of the day's Ramadan fast at dusk.

The markets kick off at 5pm, as the sun sets, with festivities running until 4am. It's a delicious event, and incredibly cheap. Rug up, bring a pocketful of cash and travel around the world via Lakemba.

Ful medames fava beans at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Ful medames fava beans, a traditional dish to eat for iftar

Meats on the grill at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Grilled meats on the barbecue

Boiled corn cobs at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Boiled corn

Saj bread cooking at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Cooking saj flat bread

Saj bread with Nutella at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Spreading Nutella onto saj flat bread

Flipping paratha roti at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Flipping paratha dough

Adding egg and oinon to paratha roti to make martabak at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Adding beaten egg and onion to paratha dough

Martabak telur roti paratha at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Filled paratha folded into martabak

Cooked beans at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Cooked chickpeas, fava beans and lupin beans

Camel burgers cooking over charcoal at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Camel burgers being cooking over charcoal

The queue for camel burgers is always hectic.

Carrot juice stall at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Fresh carrot juice stall

Chicken doner kebab at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Carving chicken doner kebab

Brisket by 2 Smokin' Arabs at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
2 Smokin' Arabs

It's worth checking out the pop-up by 2 Smokin' Arabs, a BBQ competition team who have temporarily taken up residence in a former newsagency on Haldon Street.

Carved brisket by 2 Smokin' Arabs at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Carved beef brisket

Brisket box and hot wings by 2 Smokin' Arabs at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Brisket box $20 
Hot wings 

Chicken tikka skewers on the charcoal bbq at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Chicken tikka skewers cooked over charcoal

Chicken tikka skewers on charcoal at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Caramelised chicken tikka skewers

Grilled corn at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Barbecued corn skewers grilled over charcoal

Knafeh dessert served in kaak sesame bread at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Knafeh served in kaak

For dessert, it's hard to go past a serve of knafeh. At this stall you can get your knafeh served in kaak bread...

Knafeh at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Knafeh

but we had ours served straight onto a plate. It's a textural party of warm cheese, crunchy semolina and sweet syrup drizzled across the top.

Palestinian knafeh at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Palestinian knafeh

The Palestinian knafeh comes with saffron-tinted kataifi pastry and a sprinkle of pistachio nuts.

Palestinian knafeh slice at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Oozy cheesy Palestinian knafeh

The Palestinian knafeh is much cheesier in flavour with a more noticeable stretchiness. Guaranteed fun when you're hovering on the footpath with a plastic fork!

Serving up Palestinian knafeh at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Palestinian knafeh for one

Kaak Lebanese bread with cheese grilled over charcoal at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Kaak bread with cheese grilling over charcoal

Still hungry? Do what we did. Get a grilled cheese sandwich, Lebanese-style. Kaak bread is stuffed with a haloumi-like cheese and toasted over charcoal.

Melted cheese inside kaak bread at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Melted cheese inside kaak

Oozing hot cheese. Nutty toasted sesame seeds. And crisp and toasty bread that's slightly smoky from the charcoal.

Turkish coffee brewed in hot sand at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street
Turkish coffee 

And if you still want to party on, get a Turkish coffee brewed in hot sand. You'll be going all night!

Pouring Turkish coffee brewed in hot sand at Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2018 on Haldon Street




The Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival runs every night from 5pm (sunset) through to 4am. Crowds tend to peak 8pm-10pm. The final night will be Thursday 14 June 2018.

Food stalls are set up along Haldon Street near Lakemba rail station, between The Boulevarde and Gillies Street. Some nights you will also find stalls along Railway Parade.

Due to the popularity of this event, street parking tends to fill quickly so take public transport if possible.

See more pics from the Lakemba Ramadan Food Festival 2016
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/11/2018 04:01:00 pm


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Black Bear BBQ, Blacktown

Ben Huppatz  holding bbq brisket at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney

Low and slow. That's the ethos behind Black Bear BBQ, serving up Texan-style woodsmoked barbecue. You'll find them in the back streets of Blacktown, feeding a non-stop queue of hungry tradies and office workers. There's nothing fancy here. Just massive serves of meat served up in takeaway cardboard boxes, and that's exactly the way the locals like it.

Barbecue at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney

You'll know you've arrived when you spot the picnic tables out the front and the giant light bulb letters spelling BBQ.

Black Bear BBQ menu in Blacktown Sydney
Black Bear BBQ menu

It's one helluva meat fest on the menu. Vegetarians aren't really catered for here, unless you're happy with slaw, pickles and a handful of crisps.

Order at the counter (yes, they have EFTPOS) and enjoy the spectacle of your meat being carved up before your eyes.

Barbecue pork ribs at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Barbecue pork ribs

Barbecue porks ribs are cut through with ease...

Beef brisket at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Beef brisket

but it's the huge slab of beef brisket, covered in a deep black bark, that's guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Beef short ribs, beef brisket, links, pork belly and pork ribs at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Lunch for three

The meat boxes range in price from $15 to $25, each bolstered with crisps, pickles and a rainbow slaw of cabbage, carrot, celery and corn. The drinks fridge includes plenty of American favourites like Dr Pepper and Canada Dry.

Pork ribs at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Half rack pork ribs $35

We feast on all the meats, starting with a half rack of pork ribs. They're impressively tender (only a smidge dry at the thicker end of the rib) with its sweet glaze enhanced by a generous dousing of barbecue sauce.

Sausage link, beef brisket and pork belly at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Hungry Bear Box $25
Links, brisket and pork belly

The Hungry Bear Box yields a triple threat of links, brisket and pork belly. The brisket has a lush layer of fat although it's not quite as smoky as we expect, even with the visible smoke ring. There's a good ribbon of fat running through the pork belly, cooked to a caramelised juiciness.

Sausage link stuffed with cheese at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Sausage link with cheese

The sausage link is a real highlight through, the springy smoky sausage stuffed with cubes of cheese. I'd definitely order this again.

Beef short ribs at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney
Beef short rib box $25

The beef short rib box usually comes with only one rib but because there are only two small end ribs left in the tray, we score both. Win! It's a fatty reward, just the way we like it, the beef cooked long enough so the fat has rendered throughout. Suze reports that it was heavily smoky in flavour on her last visit. Today there's a subtler imparting of smoke to the meat.

Here's the bad news. They're only open weekdays although they do open most Friday nights - I hear the queues are hectic so be prepared to wait. Otherwise you can do as we did and take a day off work for a trip out west. They're open from 6am for breakfast (brisket and egg roll, anyone?) with lunch (and the meat boxes) starting at 11am.

Outdoor seating at Black Bear BBQ in Blacktown Sydney


Black Bear BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Black Bear BBQ
11/27 Forge Street, Blacktown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8605 3953

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday 6am-2pm
Friday 6am-2pm, most nights 6.30pm until sold out 


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5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/06/2018 01:40:00 am


Monday, May 28, 2018

Gami Chicken & Beer, Central Park Sydney

Korean fried chicken at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney

Break out the soju. Korean fried chicken has landed at Central Park. Gami, the famed Korean fried chicken king of Melbourne with 13 outlets across the city, has finally spread its wings to Sydney. They've taken over the site that was once Doughnut Time (and before that, Autolyse), and already drawing a crowd.

It's a family-friendly space with brightly coloured walls and a good amount of room between tables. Outdoor seating is also available.

Kimchi pancake at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Kimchi pancake $14

The menu is larger than you'd expect, with one page devoted to fried chicken; the other to "gami delights", a list of 13 dishes ranging from mandu deep fried dumplings to spicy seafood soup.

Our food takes a little while to arrive, despite the restaurant only being about a third full. The kimchi pancake, or kimchijeon, takes about 15min to land at our table.

Kimchi pancake crisp bottom at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Upskirt shot

Kimchijeon is a huddle of kimchi, onion and shallots enrobed in pancake batter. Although there's a deep golden hue to the panfried disc, it's not particularly crunchy - always a difficult feat when kimchi juice is involved. We relish the piping hot triangles regardless, dipping them into the accompanying soy and rice vinegar dressing.

Korean fried half chicken at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Korean fried half chicken $18 
with spicy sauce on the side

When it comes to the fried chicken, you can choose between whole ($34) or half ($18) chickens on-the-bone, boneless mix of breast and thigh fillets ($34), mix of wingettes and drumettes ($12 for 8 pieces/ $16 for 12 pieces), and chicken spare ribs ($12).

And vegetarians don't miss out either. They even have vegetarian fried chicken made from soy meat.

Korean fried chicken at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Crunchalicious

We go with half a chicken, opting for spicy sauce (it's more sweet than spicy) on the side. It's a mini mountain of crunch, the pieces cut small so there's plenty of rubbly batter for each mouthful.

The chicken is juicy. The batter is well seasoned. And yes, you can have beer with it too. Their drinks list includes Hite and Asahi Super Dry as well as Gun:Bae Lager and Murray's Whale Ale on tap. Tap beers come in 300ml glasses ($5.5), jugs ($18.50) and party-sized oak kegs ($59). And yes, there's soju. Plus Korean juices like bonbon grape, sec sec orange and grated pear for non-alcoholic kicks.

Cabbage coleslaw at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Cabbage coleslaw (and pickled radish) free with the fried chicken

Complimentary pickled daikon radish is essential for cleansing the palate (and relieving the arteries) in between bites of fried chicken. The cabbage coleslaw provides some welcome crunch too, but I'd probably prefer mine with just mayonnaise and no tomato sauce - it's tangy sweetness is a little too overpowering.

Tteok bok ki spicy rice cake at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Tteok bok ki $14

Sure we might be a table of two but why would that stop us from ordering tteok bok ki? It's just the kinda dish you'd craving in wintery weather, a mix of two minute noodles, chewy rice cakes and fish cake slices in a spicy red pepper broth.

Tteok bok ki spicy rice cake with noodles at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney
Noodles and rice cakes

Next time I'd definitely add cheese ($2) on top, an extra I didn't notice until too late. I also have my eye on the corn cheese ($9.80), fried rice cakes ($5.50 for three) and deep fried cheese sticks ($7 for three) for my next visit. I'll definitely be back.

And if you haven't already seen it, the story of the four uni students behind the business is a pretty impressive read too.

Korean fried chicken feast at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney

Outdoor seating at Gami Chicken and Beer at Central Park Sydney


Gami Chicken and Beer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gami Chicken & Beer
Central Park Mall 
Lower ground floor
28 Broadway, Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8067 0304


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5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/28/2018 07:37:00 pm



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