Part 1: The spice trail @Taste Tours

We love trying new and diverse food and were excited to take a food tour of the spice trail, run by Taste Tours. The tour called from Afghanistan to Persia, but we only had to venture to Merrylands for this experience. This tour so grand that we will review it in two parts, for readability. 

The Taste Tours is a social enterprise, teaching cultural awareness about different nationalities, cultures and foods. The profits of the tours go to training immigrants and refugees. In general, you only gear negatives about Afghanistan and Persia, the same could be said for Merrylands. Taste Tours are showing a different perspective, reflecting positivity in western Sydney, showcasing the rich culture and diversity of Merrylands and allowing us to experience the warm generous nature of the people and their cultures. 

Our meeting point was Asal Sweets, where we met our guides for the day. Two amazingly inspiring women who migrated to Australia, both love the area and were very passionate about the food and culture. Latife intelligent, warm and welcoming was born in Turkey, migrated to Australia when she was four. Also very smart with a chemistry degree and a great mentor for our other guide Parastoo, who was running her first tour. Parastoo is driven and wanting to make the best of her life in her new home, Australia. Parastoo came in 2012 as an asylum seeker from Afghanistan and has a scholarship to study at UWS teaching. Her family fled Afghanistan and went to Indonesia and there came to Australia. She absolutely loves living in Merrylands.

Starting the tour by acknowledged the traditional owners, the Dharug people was a nice touch. Latife and Parastoo introduced themselves and gave a rundown of what Taste Tours is about and what they do. One thing that resonates from the introduction, Latife described Australia as multicultural the food on this tour is from Persian, Turkish and Afghanis culture, but they see it as Australian food as those cultures are now part of Australia.

Remember we were in Asal sweets a Persian patisserie, surrounded by a plethora of delectable cakes and pastriw. We were offed some biscuits to start, with differing flavours including cocounut, rosewater, saffron. The texture was most impressive a crunchy outer layer with a soft chewy centre. We would later return after the tour to purchase some goodies to take home.

Next we were whisked around the corner to the Green Wheat Bakery where they were pumping out Afghan bread from a tandoor oven, check out the video below. Our guide for the day, Parastoo explaining that making this bread was the source of her family income while they lived in Indonesia. We were also introduced to a jam, something tasty and new, a carrot jam, a nice spread for bread freshly made. What a start to our tour.

Next a stop into a Persian supermarket, where we tried some sweets and explored. We followed this by visitingBiber diner, well known in merrylands for thdid kebabs, pide, pizza. The owners origially from Adana southern Turkey. Sampling a specialty dish, the freshly made kiymali pide (pizza) made from mince, tomato, onion, parsley, herbs and spices. The cheese and spinach pide also made as we wait, both were quality.

A short walk away we came to a hole in the wall Afghan BBQ called kebab Al Hojat. With a super red hot coal BBQ firing away. This high heat BBQ taking 7 minutes to cook 50 skewers. Pick the type of marinated, skewered meat you desire. The meat tender and flavoursome, after marinating for 12 hours, in 7 types of spices. This is BBQ’d wrapped in Afghani bread and served with fresh salad. This was one of many highlights and at $6 a pop, amazing value.

We finish part 1 of the post here, keep an eye out for part 2 and the rest of this food adventure.
Thanks to Ompty media for introducing us and to Taste tours for inviting us to join them on this tour.

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