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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bankstown Bites Food Festival 2008

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

Fresh corn

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.

Bakery samples

Digging in

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

Date biscuits

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.

Businesses visited:

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

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

Cafe Amoura
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
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/30/2008 11:57:00 pm


  • At 7/31/2008 4:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Did you have to book ahead for the tours? Too bad i missed this year's, but I promise next year i won't!

  • At 8/01/2008 11:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So sad I missed this! Oh well, next year. Thanks for the great photo tour.

  • At 8/04/2008 9:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Helen, I wish I was there to join you at the festival. I love going to food show. We have one coming here to Vancouver Canada next month and I can't wait.

  • At 8/04/2008 2:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for the virtual tour of the Festival. I wont miss it next year!

  • At 8/04/2008 11:14 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    wow looks wonderful. I love festivals in general, especially when it exposes one to a variety to authentic foods. The food tours are a novel idea. What a great way to try lots of new things! I had heard of sweet fantasy ... now I just got to get there!

  • At 8/06/2008 5:51 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jen - This year they offered online booking, but reserved half for on-the-day bookings. It's a great day out, and free too :)

    Hi Christie - Make a note in the diary, and you're welome :)

    Hi Chuck - Wow, sounds great, and huh, I wish I could jet over to Vancouver for a food tour too!

    Hi Anon - It grows in popularity every year. I hope I get a spot on the tours myself! :)

    Hi Rachel - Food festivals are the best :) Hope you enjoy Sweet Fantasy. Their display cabinets are drool-inducing!

  • At 11/13/2008 7:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A few of my acquaintances went.

    That sounds too good to be true, the offer of free food... Surely, they must've done a lot of advertising to offset the costs!

  • At 11/17/2008 11:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Kym - The free food was all offered by the stores involved. I think this is one of the best community festivals on the Sydney event calendar where it really is about locals sharing their knowledge and encouraging people to explore different cuisines, foods and stores. A fantastic idea that should be replicated in so many of Sydney's ethnic hubs.


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