The Campsie Food Festival is an event that I look forward to each year. It’s one of the larger suburban cultural food festivals in Sydney. It’s also situated within, and celebrates, my local neighbourhood.
This year’s festival will be held on Saturday 1st June. If you’ve never been to the festival before and would like to find out more, read on for a recap of last year’s Campsie Food Festival.
The Campsie Food Festival 2012 was a bustling affair in spite of the rain. Sizable crowds meandering through Anzac Mall and the closed-off section of Beamish St (the main shopping district of Campsie) to graze on the cultural cornucopia of cuisines and take in the free cultural activities and displays.
While Campsie is often thought of as being primarily a Korean district, in reality there are many cultures that make up Campsie’s community. The cultural activities of the festival reflect this diversity of cultures, from the acrobatic talents of Chinese lion dancers, a performance of traditional Korean dance complete with percussion instruments and colourful outfits, to live ethnic musical performances.
The centrepiece of the festival is the kitchen stage situated at Anzac Mall, where a number of live cooking demonstrations are held throughout the day. These demonstrations are engaging and informative, giving some insight into the ingredients and recipes of various cultures, though mostly Korean. Free samples of the demonstrated recipes are also offered to the audience to taste.
A meal and a show – what’s not to love? :)
Along with the cooking demonstrations, there were also a couple of eating competitions that were held on the same stage, hosted by fellow Sydney food blogger and official food blogger of the festival, Thang Ngo from Noodlies. It’s a role that he will also reprise at this year’s festival.
For last year’s eating competition, there was a kimchi eating competition with an intense battle raging between two contestants that had gotten very “hands-on”. A yum cha challenge followed, with stacks of bamboo steamers filled with a feast of dim sum to scoff down in haste.
If you’re keen to test your mettle or just out to get a free feed, make sure to be in the audience for the eating competition as volunteers were selected from the crowd.
While on the topic of food, there are a vast number of stalls that line up Beamish St, hawking their tasty morsels of food. As the festival was meant to be a reflection of the food culture of Campsie, the food was predominantly Asian. However, there were cuisines from other countries that were represented, such as the ever present Turkish Gozleme (name a food festival that doesn’t have at least one stand), Spanish chorizo rolls, Hungarian chimney cakes, corn on the cob and so on.
Many of the brick-and-mortar stores that line Beamish St joined in with the festivities as well by setting up their own stall or sample tables at the front of their stores.
While there are many good food options to choose from, here are a couple that stood out for me that you might want to consider.
For a community that is predominantly Korean, it was surprising to see that there were a considerable number of Malaysian food stalls at last year’s festival, far more than the few Malaysian restaurants that are located within Campsie. Of these Malaysian stalls, my favourite has to be the local Malaysian darling, Albee’s Kitchen.
The above dish is a mish-mash of a number of items all stacked unceremoniously on top each other, all of which were good. There’s nasi lemak, fried chicken wings, a great piece of fried pandan chicken (top right) and sitting on top was pulut panggang – glutinous rice with a shredded coconut & dried shrimp filling wrapped and grilled in a banana leaf.
Unfortunately, according to this year’s festival stall map, it looks like Albee’s Kitchen won’t be running a stall. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t setup something outside of their restaurant, which is situated on the outskirts of the festival venue area.
In the sweet category, the highlight for me was the foot-long churro from The Churro Girl. Crispy, sweet and most importantly for eating-on-the-go, easy to eat one-handed. Thankfully, it looks like they will be returning to this year’s festival so there’s something to look forward to.
Saturday 1st June 2013, 10am-4pm. Beamish St & Anzac Mall, Campsie. For more info on the festival, make sure to check out the Campsie Food Festival’s website.
Hope to see you there!