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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Auburn: A Photographic Food Tour

lebanese lamb pizza
Lahmeh bil agine lamb pizza $1.50

"We having our own little food tour in Auburn", emailed a good friend. "Would you like to be our honorary tour guide?"

Food. Shopping. More of that irresistably stretchy dondurma Turkish ice cream?

I didn't need to be asked twice.

And so after a morning spent in the bargain-hunting scrum that was the Lindt Chocolate Warehouse Sale, I found myself back in Auburn again, six weeks after our first foodbloggers' tour.

I had an hour to kill until my planning meeting time, so a mid-morning snack of lahm bi aggin provided tasty re-fuelling. Last time I was here I couldn't resist the za'atar mankoushe from Sarah Pizza. The lahm bi aggin was just as addictive. A crusty base was topped with a thick slather of sweetened tomato paste mixed with lamb mince, onions, garlic, cumin and ground coriander.

Our food tour commenced with lunch at Sofra and dessert at Mado - meals which are worthy of a post of their own (it's coming!). And food shopping? Bah. Enough words. Bring on the photos.

Auburn: A photographic food tour

cherry juice
Cherry nectar

Lebanese bakery
Auburn Lebanese bakery

Mountains and mountains of Lebanese bread. Just Lebanese bread. Baked on the premises for only $1 a bag.

kebab shop
Brothers Turkish Kebab and Pizza

Michel's in turkish
Turkish signage and menu items at Michel's Patisserie

Menzil bakery
Menzil Turkish Bake House

Anatolia restaurant
Anatolia Restaurant - housed in an old Pizza Hut!

Persian restaurant
Darband Persian Restaurant

I would love to come back and try Persian cuisine. The menu seemed similar to Turkish with kebabs and salads. But I'd still be keen to check it out.

Sumer band
Turkish Persian or Iranian "boy band" poster

Turkish jams

We spent much time at Gima Market which was well stocked and incredibly neat and tidy! The jams above were perfectly faced!

Tahrana powder for Turkish tomato soup


Turkish coffee
Bushells Turkish Style coffee

Dried manti

Manti is a Turkish style of tortellini, usually served with garlic yoghurt and spoonfuls of a buttery tomato sauce. I bought a packet to try. The little pinched parcels looked too cute to resist!

candied chickpeas
Leblebi sekeri candied chickpeas

Shave stick
Turkish shave stick

turkish soap
Turkish soaps

sour cherry juice
Sour cherry juice

chocolate counter
Real Turkish Delight chocolate counter

The intake of breaths behind me was clearly audible as I led the way into Real Turkish Delight. Neat trays of perfectly formed chocolates, old-fashioned glass jars of sweets and decadent cake masterpieces tend to have that effect.

Trays of chocolate

glass jars of chocolate and sweets
Gold-topped glass jars of chocolates and sweets

Turkish bread
Turkish bread from Azar Bakery

With picnic plans the next day, I purchased two bags of soft fluffy Turkish bread. One came from the very new Azar Bakery, where a man was cautiously peeling the backing from the bright yellow lettering which read "Lavash". There were shelves of thin lavash and long flat rectangles of turkish bread too, all for a penny-pinching one dollar.

Turkish bread from Buket
Turkish bread from Buket Cake Shop

The other came from Buket Cake Shop, a thicker rounder fluffier loaf topped with sesame seeds.

arzum market
Arzum Market

tinned hot dogs
Hot dogs in a can

tinned luncheon meat
Chicken luncheon meat in a can

chocolate drink
Kras Express chocolate drink powder

Salep mix

I added a box of salep mix to my shopping bags. I had forgotten to pick some up last time after I had tried this winter warmer at Mado Cafe. Made from the powdered root of a wild orchid, it's mixed with hot milk and heated, stirring, until thickened. It's a cosy almost-spoonable drink, and although winter is almost over, I'm sure there'll be a few cool nights to warrant a hot milk drink.

Turkish pastirma air-dried beef

Picnic sandwich ingredient #1 was 150g of pastirma. The pastirma seemed an easier option after the helpful woman behind the counter told me that the horseshoes of sucuk spicy Turkish sausage required cooking and peeling the paper off could be a bit tricky. "Soak the paper off with a little hot water" she suggested. I made a mental note to buy it next time, when I would fry it up in little chunks to be savoured with scrambled eggs and fried tomato in the style of a traditional Turkish breakfast.

The little box of pastirma was a wise choice though. Paper thin shavings of young beef had a heady smell of cumin, garlic, fenugreek and spicy paprika. Young beef is dehydrated and then coated with a thick cumin paste known as cemen. The meat is then air-dried until ready.

kashkaval cheese
Bulgarian kashkavar sheeps milk cheese

Picnic sandwich filling #2: Sheep Kashkaval, a Bulgarian yellow cheese made from sheep's milk. It's a buttery nutty cheese with a tangy aftertaste. The texture is smooth and satiny, and apparently it's very tasty slice in thick wedges, crumbed and then deep-fried.

Uh oh. This could be dangerous.

So you wanna do a food tour...

Anatolia Restaurant
10 Civic Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9643 9911

Arzum Market
61 Rawson Street Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9649 9327

Auburn Lebanese Bakery
91 Auburn Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9749 7142

Azar Bakery
12 Civic Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9649 9993

Darband Persian Restaurant
Unit 9/ 45 Rawson Street Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61(02) 9646 4466

Gima Market and Gifts
36 Auburn Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9749 4588

Menzil Turkish Bakehouse
40 Auburn Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9749 2523

Real Turkish Delight Sweets
1/ 3 Station Road Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61(02) 9649 9787

Sarah Pizza
156 South Parade Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9649 5373

Related GrabYour Fork posts:
Auburn dining: Al Sofra Pizza, Pide and Kebabs
Auburn dining: Mado Cafe
Auburn food shopping: Harkola Food World Wide warehouse
Auburn photographic food tour, July 2006

Foodbloggers' tour of Ashfield, March 2006
Foodbloggers' tour of Chinatown dim sum shops, July 2005
Foodbloggers' tour of Rozelle to Balmain, November 2004
Foodbloggers' tour of Strathfield and Homebush, July 2005
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 8/20/2006 11:27:00 pm


  • At 8/21/2006 10:44 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    The lamb pizza looks so good. I could do with a couple of those right about now.

  • At 8/21/2006 8:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hot dawg. That food tour almost looks good enough to warrant a flight to Sydney just to experience it!

  • At 8/21/2006 10:09 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Wow, you always amaze me with your finds Helen. I thought I knew a bit about food, but I haven't heard of half these things. The cherry nectar sounds good. Did the real Turkish delight store actually have lots of different types of Turkish delight? I want to try some traditional Turkish delight and not the stuff from the supermarkets.

  • At 8/22/2006 7:28 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yum. I dream about that Bucket Cake Shop Turkish Bread. So good.

  • At 8/22/2006 8:12 am, Blogger Reb said…

    wow - a real 'tour of duty'!

  • At 8/22/2006 5:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    so many things there look so good, I can't decide between the candied chick peas or the cherry nectar but then the bread sounds so good.

  • At 8/22/2006 7:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just looking at the pics on this site made my mouth water. My favorite by far is the lamb pizza. Makes me wanna just reach out, grab it then take a bite. Great work.

  • At 8/26/2006 9:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Inspired by your post, I went on a tour of Auburn soon after (albeit, it was more of a rush from shop to shop in search of what I wanted). Best thing was Azar Bakery - ended up buying 5 turkish breads. Could not believe they were $1 each! and they were huge too! I loved the fragrant Nigella seeds baked into it. Great food tastes even better when it comes so cheap. I Also got Turkish delight from a convenience store (made in Sydney by a turkish company which also has a great cheese and yoghurt factory which sells directly to the public - Ege). Not quite as good as true authentic TD, but at $3.50 for ~400g I wasn't complaining. A much-needed sugar hit.

    I've recently discovered your blog, and I must say I'm thoroughly enjoying it!!!

  • At 8/27/2006 10:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I grew up next to great Turkish neighbours, and they got me into having buttered turkish bread with tomato and melted feta. So quick and simple as a snack (and no hassle if you use the microwave).

    Did you manage to try the sweet bread? It seemed rather like a huge biscuit to me!

  • At 1/01/2007 10:10 am, Blogger cilla said…

    Have lived in Auburn for four years having come from the "foodie" country town of Orange.
    Agree with the positive comments you made about the eateries but was disappointed nothing was mentioned about the FANTASTIC Chinese restaurants. The bbq dragon house with ducks etc hanging in window is brilliant and definitely worth visiting. The same people have run it for 9 years and work 24/7. Nothing to look at but food superb and consistently so.

  • At 1/26/2007 3:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow that food tour is cool. I love visiting auburn. sad there wasn't anything mentioned about the Chinese restaurants. the best chinese restaurants are around auburn. esp dragon b.b.q house. I agree with what cilla said. definitely worth a trip. they provide really good service... the waitresses there are really nice people. nothing but superb barbeque foods and asian foods. yummy....


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