Taste Tours are a social enterprise who run cultural food tours to provide work for refugees and a multicultural education for the community. We thoroughly enjoyed our last Taste Tour of Merrylands and we were thrilled to get a call up for the Taste Tour delights tour of Cabramatta, or ‘Cabra’ to the people who live in the area. The tour fittingly started by acknowledging the true locals; the Cabrogal people of the Eora Nation, also how Cabramatta got its name. The area has changed alot over the years and is very ethnically diverse, with many new migrants who have arrived over the years calling Cabra home. The Greeks, Italians, Serbians and the majority of the population these days being Vietnamese, with Syrians and Sudanese newcomers to the area. Our guides for this tour were Patrick and Waji, Patrick a passionate local running the show and Waji who runs the Harris Park tour assisting on the day.
Taste Tours are a great way to explore new areas, find out about the history and find the best spots to eat. For some added fun, there was a treasure hunt for us to pick up specific items along the way such as peking duck, peking duck pancake, spring onion and hoi sin sauce.
The meeting point was Vinatas Bakery, renowned for their Banh Mi, a Vietnamese style baguette which originates from the French, who once occupied the country. I barely recognised the shop as it has had a fresh makeover, done very well and looks very inviting. The Banh Mi are just as good as ever and still great value. We shared the Pork roll with two types of viet ham, fresh salad, herbs, pate and sauce. Simple and delicious, this place is a must if you are in the area.
We were led through the busy streets and ended up in an obscure lane way at Tan hong phat BBQ. It has an open shopfront where you can see them preparing the meat by a butcher as well as preparing, cooking and serving. They have some amazing Pork char sui and other BBQ meat on offer.
With so much variety, next stop is Sabaidee Kitchen. Serving Lao Thai food where some sweets from the region are sampled. The sweets use traditional ingredients; Taro cocont milk, sticky rice with pandan. Very unique, vibrant and beautifully prepared.
Located in between Freedom Plaza and BKK shopping centre is Thu Phung N. This place is a local favourite serving sugar cane juice, they also add cumquat for added flavour. Great to sip on while strolling the streets.
It wouldn’t be right to visit Cabra and not sample some Pho, popping in to Huong xua, who serve a Northern Vietnam style pho. With a hearty full flavoured broth, not as delicate and sweet as the Southern style, but damn delicious and cheap too.
Having tried a range of food it was time to give our bellies a rest and to see where the ingredients are sourced. We stop into an asian supermarket, this is where many of the ingredients of the treasure hunt are found, along with some other exciting ingredients not to be found at your local super market.
Back to the delicious food and we are stepping into the restaurant Thanh Bihn. This restaurant was established by the mother of celebrity chef Dan Hong. A southern Viet restaurant, we sampled some staples being the bahn xeo, a savoury a thin crisp crepe/pancake filled with bean sprouts carrot, chicken and spices. The highlight of this visit was the roll your own rice paper rolls with sugarcane prawn. This was not because of my awesome assembly skills (which, it turns out, aren’t so awesome) but because the sugarcane prawns were outstanding.
Finishing the tour on a high, could have something to do with the super strong Iced coffee being served at local gathering spot cafe Nho. This place was very busy but they managed to squeeze us in. Perfect spot for sharing our highlights of the tour.
We loved our taste tour experience, their guides are passionate and love their local area. They also take you to some great places to eat. A great way to explore a new area and expand your horizons. You will learn a lot and have an enjoyable day. We recommend you make a booking.