On a food safari in Bankstown

There’s more to Sydney than a stunning harbour, gorgeous beaches and the laid back lifestyle. You really can’t say you know this city until you’ve been out west, to the suburbs that are characterised by many different migrant communities — Vietnamese, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Korean, Greek and Italian. At the heart of the west is Bankstown, which has a distinctly Vietnamese flavour. Here 75 per cent of the population have parents that were both born overseas, so there’s a good cross-section of cultures. And that means GREAT FOOD.

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So, in the spirit of broadening my horizons (getting off the ‘insular peninsula’) I took a food tour of Bankstown — inticeingly called “Shanghai via Saigon”. The big surprise was the variety of fresh produce, including some vegetables that I’ve never even seen before… oh, and the prices. In the beachside suburbs we pay three or four times these prices!

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In four hours we ate our way through Bankstown city centre, starting off with frozen yougurt (Froyo man!) then we had Vietnamese-style iced coffees, and a cool avacado smoothie, we visited an incredible Asian grocery where our guide Teena showed us how to cook a yummy rice noodle dish with snake beans, we tasted durian chips (surprisingly quite nice) then sat down for a beautiful bowl of pho (noodle soup with raw beef and herbs) at Pho An Restaurant. After visiting a wet market we somehow made room for desserts and coffee. It was an assault on the senses… and stirred up memories of Hanoi.

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