Food, glorious food!
If there’s one thing I associate with February in Canberra, it’s food, because that’s the month of the National Multicultural Festival. I take my ‘job’ as a foodie seriously and would never miss spending a day surrounded by one of my favourite things.
This is not something I take lightly. There’s a plan and there are rules that must be adhered to. Plan: Get there at lunchtime and don’t skip breakfast, but don’t fill up on breakfast either. Rule: Focus on foods not easily found around town, or I can make at home. Also focus on beer. For example, there was no way I was lining up for Mr Papa when I know I can get the same food, any day of the week, at the Hamlet without having to wait in a queue.
I get there at lunch time, nice and hungry, and eager to explore.
Tongan Lu ($10)
A staple of Tongan households, I couldn’t walk past this stall without getting one. Tongan Lu is salted beef, coconut milk and onion wrapped in vine leaves and served with a side of steamed taro. The beef and onion was delicious! I could have had so much more of just that beef. I wasn’t entirely sure about eating the vine leaves and finally decided against it. The steamed taro was a bit dry which made it difficult to swallow. The flavour was also overpowering when combined with the beef so I decided to have the beef on its own. Overall, although the taro was dry, the beef made up for it. I’m really glad to have had the chance to try this.
Dumplings ($3 for 5)
These were simply sold as dumplings but the filling was scrumptious pork meat. I find that dumplings are a bit hit and miss in Canberra so there was a bit of hesitation initially. But I needed something to snack on while I browsed the other food stalls and I am so glad that I decided on these piping hot parcels of goodness. And for three dollars, there was no way it could go wrong.
Langos with the lot ($7)
Fried bread topped with garlic, sour cream and cheese. I fell in love with these when I first tried them in Germany and was excited to be able to have one again. It seriously hit the spot. The bread was perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I would have liked more garlic on mine, but that’s just my preference. This was definitely on my must-have list, even if it meant losing food time to line up for one. I made up for it by buying a nice, cold Hungarian beer to keep me going while I waited.
Pani Puri ($6)
A hugely popular street snack in India, pani puris are deep fried, hollow puris filled with savoury potato and chickpea filling, herbs and spicy (chilli) or sweet (tamarind) flavoured water. The challenge is to eat the entire puri without dribbling the contents down the front of your shirt. Trust me, it can be done!
Foods on sticks
Lamb, beef and potato – the different types of food I had on the stick. The Macedonian meat (looked like kofte) on the stick was my favourite with it’s beautiful Mediterranean flavours. On the other hand, the potato was a bit gross as it had not been cooked through.
Loukamades ($10 for a large)
And then came the rain to wash away the rest of my plans. I was caught out sans umbrella and after a few attempts to move around, I was quickly drenched. I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes looking for the loukamades as I had forgotten where I had seen it earlier. Finally I found the stall, and even though it was raining, there was a line! I think that’s a testament to their goodness. The loukamades that I ended up with had only just been cooked and was still hot when served. It had nicely soaked up all the honey and was super crunchy. O.M.G! Totally worth running around in the rain for this! The perfect way to end the day.
And, of course, you need to wash down all this food with something cold
And there was plenty to choose from!
Not to mention some sweet tunes and general enjoyment by all
For me, this year was my final multicultural festival in Canberra. It’s time to move on to other places to enjoy other food festivals.
Stay tuned for more!
Do you like going to food festivals or other festivals?
Which one is your favourite?