Tuesday, 22 June 2010

An expidition to Cabramatta

I spent Saturday in Cabramatta with some friends, and I can honestly say I've never been anywhere like it before. Cabra where? For those of you that haven't heard of Cabramatta (which included me not so long ago), it's 30km south-west of Sydney, has a large Vietnamese community and was once known for gangs and drugs. Although thankfully I saw no evidence of the last two on my visit.

The reason for our trip was food, and it was EVERYWHERE. I've been to large markets before (e.g. Borough Market in London or Adelaide Central Market) and food-centric cities like Bangkok, but they have nothing on the concentration that I saw in Cabramatta on Saturday.

Leading off the two main streets was a labyrinth of food courts, alley ways, small shopping malls, cafes and restaurants. The range of produce and variety of food available was fantastic. I felt like I was back in Bangkok rather than being so close to Sydney. I also loved the non-conformity of it all. Old ladies selling homemade food on the streets and ancient machines making the custard puffs you can see above. We don't get enough of this in hygiene obsessed western countries.

Being a foodie meet up, we did our fair share of eating. We visited four restaurants to try various specialities for lunch. We got some strange looks as a group of nine of us would turn up, take a table, order two dishes, take photos, share them and then move on.

We started of with a Pho, where I sampled beef tendons for the first time. Next up we visited a Chinese restaurant located down the most suspect alley in all of Cabramatta for duck and beef noodle soups. The noodles came with little dishes of chili. I decided to give one of the chillies a try. It had an amazing smokey flavour to start with no heat at all. The suddenly a phenomenal hit of chili knocked me over. My reaction tempted a couple of others into trying the chili, which led to a few laughs round the table as they were similarly knocked sideways by the chili.

Our third stop was for some Vietnamese fried chicken, which you can see above. The skin of the chicken was crunchy and full of flavour, while the chicken inside was moist and tender. It reminded me of the chicken that you can buy at Chatachuk market in Bangkok.

Our final stop was a food court for some Banh Hoi Nem Nuong that you can see me holding above. You wrap the little balls of pork in lettuce with some noodles, herbs, cucumber and carrot. Delicious!

Thank you to Amy and Betty for being such wonderful hosts and showing us round their suburb.


  1. I'm hungry! I had so much fun. Let's do it again!

    I seriously wanted to take a bite our of the Nem Nuong picture. Its got me salivating!

  2. I can go back anytime! But I might omit the chili... I think I can still feel a hint of it at the back of my throat...

  3. Wow, mouth watering.

    Is Paramatta Cabramatta's brother?

  4. I've got no idea where all the 'matta's come from. Something I might need to look into!

  5. I do believe this trip sounds like serious yummers!

  6. Yes it was a great day of touring and eating by all. Nice to meet up with familiar faces again and meet some new ones. Such good food! I'm working on my Cabra blog right now ...

  7. I so loved meeting you guys, going to Cabramatta with people who have never been was actually refreshing as it made us look at the place in a different light. Looking forward to the next one!

  8. cabramatta is my happy place for scoring durian and custard apple shakes mmm tastyness

  9. What a fantastic foodie day. I really need to get to Cabramatta, all sounds just so delicious.