India. India. India. You are a country that we really want to visit but just haven’t got around to yet.
And one of the reasons we want to go , other than culture, landscape, architecture and UNESCO sites is the food. We absolutely love Indian food.
So what’s the next best thing to being in India right now, the day before we fly to New Zealand?
You may have read about our last experience doing the Global Explorer, this time we were invited to join a tour of Little India, right here in Harris Park, Sydney. This tour had a different flavour (excuse the
bad pun) but we enjoyed it all the same and got to try PLENTY of Indian dishes that we haven’t tried before.
Fear not the spice or heat of the food because the food we tried bordered more towards medium heat. Filled with spices, practically everything we ate or drank was bursting with flavour, even the mango lassi which is usually a super sweet drink.
Dhokla – made from chickpea flour and served with a sweet and savoury chutney. Treated more as a breakfast snack, it was a great start to the feast, we were about to have.Cheese paratha – flat-bread like pieces that were stuffed with cheese, served with yoghurt and Indian pickles – this one had a bit of kick to it! Pani Puri – small puff balls, which you crack the top of, fill it with boiled potato and chickpeas that have been mixed with a tamarind chutney, topped with spicy mint water. Then put all in the mouth in one go. This is literally a mouthful of flavour and texture. What an experience! Raj Kachori – almost like an oversized pani puri. It was delicious and really too beautiful to break up and eat. But we did, and the mix of texture and flavours again was like nothing we have eaten before: sweet, spicy, crispy and soft!Utta Pam – first impression is that it looks like a pizza but it doesn’t taste a thing like pizza. A dough base, with vegetables scattered over the top and cooked – the texture reminded us a lot like okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake-like dish). Eaten with the spicy sambal, the capsicum chutney and coconut chutney, once again FULL of flavour. Masala Dosa – much like a crepe but with a super crunchy exterior, it is stuffed with mashed potatoes that are infused with tonnes and tonnes of spices. This one we have tried before and LOVE having it whenever we can.And all of this was pre-lunch. We were certain that after this restaurant, we had completed the eating but it turned out that we had more in store.
Seekh Kebab – lamb minced cooked in tandoori. The spices in this provide a bit of heat to the taste buds but when doused in cucumber mint yoghurt, it wasn’t too bad! Malai Kofta – imagine butter chicken BUT not with the chicken, cottage cheese dumplings instead. Wow! This was absolutely delicious. Our taste buds were very pleased with this one.Baigan Achari – roasted eggplants cooked with pickle sauce. Now this was something we enjoyed a lot! Eggplant is a great vegetable to throw in with a lot of flavours and cooked slowly because the results never seem to go wrong. Goat Curry – don’t think we really need to describe this, let’s just say, curry at it’s best.
And if all that savoury wasn’t enough, we also got dessert. So when it wasn’t flavoursome-ly spicy, it was super sweet.
If you have ever tried Indian sweets, you will know what we mean.
So with approximately 7 stops in all, although we didn’t eat at each one, we were definitely filled with Indian food by the end of it. Accompanied by 2 very competent and entertaining guides, Gunjan and Yamman, we were given plenty of information about the area and the Indian culture.
Indian cuisine varies so much, thanks to the many different regions in India. Some Indian food can be quite heavy, while others are quite light, refreshing and fluffy. We usually order what we know, unless we go with our friends from Indian backgrounds. So a food tour, we have found is a great way to be exposed to flavours by getting a “taster” rather than ordering a full dish of something we are unfamiliar with.
For more information about Taste Food Tours and the tours offered, see their website.
Disclaimer: Wise Monkeys Abroad were guests of Taste Food Tours, however there was no obligation or arrangement for us to write or promote Taste Food Tours. The opinions expressed throughout this piece is entirely that of Wise Monkeys Abroad.
Do you like Indian food? What’s your favourite dish?
Tell us what it is here.
About 30km west of Sydney CBD is a suburb called Fairfield. A suburb that has opened its arms to people of 139 cultural backgrounds…. The most culturally diverse place in the world.
We know of the suburb, we know approximately where it is but we really have never explored it. So when Taste Food Tours advertised its Global Explorer in Fairfield, we signed up without hesitation.
The concept behind the food tours was to break down barriers between different cultural backgrounds and bridging the gap. And where do great social opportunities and happy memories normally happen? When there is food! It is a very innovative and fun way to bring people together.
It’s not physically possible to explore 6 countries in several continents in one day AND return home… but it is possible to explore flavours from that many countries in one day.
We drove to Fairfield with no idea what to expect; it was our first ever “food tour”… “food safari”… “walking food tour” (whatever one likes to refer to such a tour).
In a bit over 4 hours, together with 12 other food explorers, we tasted a bit of Bosnia, Italy, Argentina, Lebanon, Iraq and China.
We ate and we walked and we ate and we chatted and we ate and we shopped. Did we mention we ate?
First off the rank was trying Bosnian Cevapi – grilled mince meat in a shape of a frankfurt, served with some flatbread, sour cream, raw onions and a cabbage salad. The verdict…. DELICIOUS!Next was a visit to an Italian deli, where the shelves were stocked with an array of imported foods from Europe, all of which one day we hope to try. And at the counter, there were cold meats and cheeses to our hearts content. The owner prepared a little platter for us to try and the most memorable was the provolone cheese…. YUM!
An Argentinian cake shop was next on the cards and we were fed very well there. We tasted beef empanadas, dulce de leche croissants, quince croissants and 3-layered Argentinian sandwiches (the bread sliced at 3mm thick, buttered and mayo-ed with a various other fillings).
And what did we think? Dulce de leche says enough, don’t you think? A Middle Eastern nuts shop which was brimming with sweets, nuts, dried fruits, and imported foods of all sorts is just the place for foodies. The varieties were endless. The owners here prepared a platter with a few dips, nuts and olives for us to taste.Onto a Lebanese butcher, followed by an Iraqi bakery and lastly a northern Chinese luncheon which was a feast! We only snapped the dumplings because we were so overwhelmed with the amount and variety that kept coming out, we totally forgot to photograph the rest of the feast. But… in our defence, we needed to save some mystery for anyone else who might decide to do this tour one day.
At all the shops and restaurants we went, we met the owners, some with stories to tell while others were a little more reserved.
So it was NOT only about food, we learned a bit about the countries, cultures, family histories and how the different families started their businesses in Australia.
It was a lovely day trip. It was a great way to meet new people. It was a fantastic way to explore a suburb to gain the confidence to come back again.
As with trying anything new, go with an open mind and you are sure not to be disappointed!
We’d like to make a special mention to our guide, Nevzeta who was so friendly, warm and welcoming. She is full of enthusiasm and knowledge. It is easy to see she is passionate about what she does.For more information about Taste Food Tours and the tours offered, see their website.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for this tour however there was no obligation or arrangement for us to write or promote Taste Food Tours. The opinions expressed throughout this piece is entirely that of Wise Monkeys Abroad.
Which food tour have you done (anywhere in the world) that you would recommend to us?
Leave your comments here.