review

taste cultural food tours: global explorer

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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!IMG_0001Next 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!

IMG_0008An 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?IMG_0012 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0020A 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.IMG_0024Onto a Lebanese butcher, followed by an Iraqi bakery and lastly a northern Chinese luncheon which was a feast! IMG_0028 IMG_0031We 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.IMG_0030For 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.

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mrs wisemonkey reviews: museum of old and new art

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Okay – I’m just going to come right out and say it. I did not like MONA, so bite me! I imagine that there are many people out there who would be mortified by me saying this. In fact, MONA came very highly recommended by most people when they found out we were visiting Hobart, so I might be upsetting some by writing this.

Entering into MONA
MONA: Museum of old and new art

MONA stands for Museum of Old and New Art. To be honest, I didn’t see any old art, or maybe I just chose to whizz through the entire place because I felt a little overwhelmed by it all. It appeared to be new art which my mind is simply not geared to understand or appreciate. I had no idea what to expect before visiting and let’s just say, I left still not knowing what to feel. Should I feel like I have no culture because I just don’t get it?! Or do I just wish I was born several eras earlier?

More artwork
Modern art?

I won’t deny that some of the exhibits were intriguing and others quite unusual, but in a good way. I would have to say my favourite was the taxidermy piece of art. The intricate level of suspending every little dragonfly, fly and bee simply amazed me!

The possum taxidermy
Notice the bees on the possum…
Look at the insects on the dragonfly
Look at the insects on the dragonfly

There was one particular section where the exhibits were dark and macabre. There were joints and brains floating in a giant head, there was a maze room that was dark and unsettling and when you followed it around, you got to a tiny room with a mirror at the top, there was a large theatre room with a giant screen displaying lines and lines and lines of numbers with screeching loud static noise. I couldn’t spend too much time there, it was beginning to make me feel claustrophobic. Come to think of it, it would be a perfect set for a horror/thriller movie: sound & lighting sorted!

But the piece that stirred up the most conversation was what we termed the “Poo Machine” which is part of the “Evolving Exhibition”. It is exactly that… it’s a machine built to resemble our digestive system. Built with glass cavities and enzymes included all to mimic the cycle of eating and then defecating. It is fed routinely through the day at one opening (i.e. the mouth) and by 2 pm each day, excrement would be voided at the other end. Let’s just say, the room smells awful!

So I can’t complain that the experience wasn’t memorable. I just won’t be raving onwards to everybody else I meet who is visiting Tasmania. Sometimes I wish people wouldn’t talk things up so much so that it sets an expectation.

Anyway, in all fairness, I didn’t use the cool iPod touch guide device thingy that they give you to explain the artwork. I may just have appreciated the art more if I had taken the time to learn about them.

I understand MONA brings in a lot of tourism to Tasmania. So that’s fantastic for them! At least now, I can say that I have been. There is no rule that says I have to like every place in the world I visit.

MONA is located about 15 minute drive outside of Hobart City Centre. There is parking available however limited, so get there early. Actually get there early regardless because when those ferry loads of people arrive, it gets pretty crowded! Adult admissions are $20 and children under 18 are free.