Sydney is a true multicultural city. Overall, Australia could not be the country that it is today without the mixing of immigrants from places around the world, and it’s that feature that has led Sydney to become a foodie haven – that and being the largest and most popular city in Oz. From every nook and cranny, scrumptious Australian food awaits travelers who know where to look.
Asian noodles and dumplings
The Asian population in Sydney is quite strong, and the food that is available because of it includes heaps of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and then some. Really, the options are endless in this regard. Depending on what you are craving will tell you which part of Sydney to explore, so if you want handmade Chinese noodles and dumplings, then Haymarket near Central Station is known as Chinatown. Korean food lovers can take a train over to the suburb of Eastwood, and Chatswood is a North Shore suburb crawling with even more Asian fare.
Meat pies and sausage rolls
I like to call meat pies and sausage rolls the Australian version of fast food. You can quickly and easily pick these up at pastry shops around the city, at footy games and at certain late-night stands and shops. For a great meat pie, I recommend checking out Harry’s Cafe de Wheels – a chain that provides a pretty standard version of the pie with a number of fillings from beef and cheese to Thai green curry. Cheaper and less-tasty pies will be found at sporting events and at convenience stores or gas stations. On their own, they can make for light lunches or quick snacks, but with mash, peas and gravy, you’ve pretty much got an entire meal.
One of the cheapest ways to get a filling dinner is to head to the local pub, where on some nights of the week you might be able to get a great feed for only $10. Some typical pub fare includes burgers (watch out for the beetroot), steak and the almighty chicken schnitzel with gravy and mash. The servings are big; the value is bigger. The only thing that makes a pub dinner that much better is enjoying it while partaking in pub trivia.
A favorite place of mine to get a more gourmet pub dinner is The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst which also carries a selection of 20 Aussie beers on tap at any given time.
Sydney is right on the coast, just as most of Australia’s major cities are, and that means that fresh seafood is never out of style. For an authentic fresh fish experience, a trip to the Sydney Fish Markets in the early hours of the morning will provide views of fish getting tossed and packed up for a day of sales. The markets are located right on Darling Harbour, which is also a great place for seafood restaurants and shopping.
Fish and chips would be considered a staple in the Australian food market. If you’re looking for battered fish goodness, I recommend a stop at Mohr’s in Surry Hills. They have great fish and chips, and this coming from a person who is not a seafood lover in the least.
To keep it simple, a plate of prawns (giant shrimp) can be enjoyed year-round — the chilled version served up typically on Christmas Day. Aussies also love putting a few on the grill, or yes, some shrimp on the barbie.
Turkish and Lebanese
Many Turkish joints run as more of a fast-food stop and can be found all over the city. However, more of the sit-down Turkish and Lebanese restaurants can be found in a big lump over in Surry Hills towards Cleveland Street. It’s here that you can get your Turkish breads and dips, pides, falafels and kebabs, perhaps even with a bit of belly-dancing on certain nights of the week. A large Lebanese population resides further west in the suburbs of Lakemba and Bankstown, for example, so it would also tend to be a destination for Sydneysiders looking to indulge in some authentic Lebanese cuisine.
There is probably a Little Italy in most major cities around the world, and the one in Sydney resides in the suburb of Leichhardt (although Haberfield isn’t a bad substitute). Italian Australians tend to live and shop around these parts, ultimately producing a tourist attraction for people to head to in order to indulge in some authentic pasta and experience a bit of a getaway when actually not too far from home.
I never really knew the deliciousness of Portuguese food until having the delights produced over in the Sydney suburb of Petersham. It is there you can get spicy Portuguese chicken, cooked with loving care on a spindle until it is roasted to perfection. For dessert, the always perfect Portuguese tarts from Sweet Belem will set the bar for all other bakeries in Australia from that point forward.
Australians love gelato probably more than any other country of the world that isn’t Italy itself. Gelato shops are found on about every corner of Sydney from the Central Business District to the shores of Bondi. And why not? Being a location that loves the outdoors and is generally filled with sunshine, a little gelato can make a hot day even better.
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