Taste of Sydney is held each year in Centennial Park, and until this year I’d never been. This for two reasons; firstly, you have to buy a ticket to attend (and then pay to be fed) and two I figured fancy restaurants are a bit out of my league. Oh yeah, and crowns. 1 crown = 1 dollar, that is bullshit. But this year all that changed as friends offered Senhor R and I free tickets to come along with them. Huzzah!

It was a picturesque scene as we made our way through Centennial Park (the long, slightly muddy way).

Our silhouettes would be a little wider when the night drew to a close.

Although it was quite muddy, the lights made things feel festive.

Hipsters be chillin’…

Gorgeously crispy Fried Hawkesbury School Prawns from Quarter 21.

Posicles are all the rage these days – the Fresh Pops cart.

Quarter 21 again with Slow Cooked and Caremelised Short Rib. Divine.

Pat & Stick’s Cramel Pecan Ice Cream Sanwich – I couldn’t finish it by myself!

The black label juice bar/cocktail/popup/thingummy. Weird.

Kopperburg cider. Kicks Rekorderlig’s Arse. No contest.

Pretty skies.

McLaren Vale Ale. I’m a fan.

Charlie & Co teensy Burger. It’s the first time I’d tried Charlie & Co. it was fine, overpriced though.

Another bar.

The Suckling Pig at Four in Hand was less than crispy.

The Beach Bar- best value (anything) in the place.

A delectable mojito. 8 bucks/crowns! We were in this weird parallel universe where cocktails are cheaper than wine. Or food. I think it’s called Brasil.

Waiting for pasta at A Tavola. A delicious 3 kinds of meat ragu, to be precise.

It’s really time to go now. But what about our leftover crowns?

Back to Quarter 21 for dessert – Hokey Pokey Ice cream Sandwich.

A lot of people I spoke to said they were less impressed with this year’s line-up than they were in previous years. They stopped serving booze at 9:30pm, and so many people found themselves with a pocketful of crowns and not much to spend them on. On leaving the park, it was pitch black, verging on dangerous as we scrambled for ANZAC parade. But overall it was a fun, if expensive night. I’d go again. With free tix (hint hint).

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If there were ever a reason to block off a main road, it’s food. Every year, the City of Campsie and various sponsors close down Beamish Street and Anzac mall, turning it into a bustling marketplace. Local businesses whack tables out the front of their stores to sell their wares and food stalls line the streets.

Of course there are your usual suspects – your gozlëme, your profitjes, your primary school sausage sizzle. But there are also Colombian, Korean, Malaysian and Sanegalese stalls. The variety was fantastic and the streets were packed.

We were starving when we arrived and couldn’t get past s bit of deep-fried starchy goodness. We grabbed a couple of glutinous fried balls filled with chicken from Prospect Dim Sim and Bakery. Yum! Cold, but delicious. So much so that we grabbed a couple more for the ride home…

I just couldn’t go past the Colombian stall selling arepas with delicious slow-cooked beef and a spicy salsa not dissimilar to Chilean pebre. I’d only ever had arepas made of white corn meal and filled with cheese, but this larger yellow corn arepa topped with tender meat was so juicy it was difficult to eat without getting it everywhere! So worth it though.

Next stop for Senhor R was a Korean pancake. It was tasty but quite greasy, I think they were cooked in too much oil. Then (after about 15 minutes of waiting to be served), we grabbed a Senegalese peanut-based curry with broken rice. Yummy!

For those of you who like to do more than just stuff your faces, there were also rides, workshops, cooking demonstrations (the hand-made noodle demonstration was cool), special guests, music and a fruit and vegetable carving stall, along with locals trying in vain to do their weekly grocery shop. All in all it was a fun (but very crowded) morning and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

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