Tiles of toffee-crisp pork crackling on a whole barbecue roasted pig is a sight to behold. The anticipation of that light, brittle crunch that shatters to the bite; a stark contrast to the soft, juicy & sweet pork that lays beneath.
It makes my mouth water just writing about it.
This fine specimen of roast pork was one of a number of barbecued meats that were available from the Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue, one of the many Barbecue Madness events held during the month long Crave Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF).
The festivities officially kicked off at 10am. Around the same time, the heavens decided to open up to do its best to rain on our parade, so to speak.
However, it did little to interrupt the Saturday morning routine of vendors selling their produce along the sides the street.
Nor did it dampen the spirits of the festival goers, who braved the gloomy weather to queue up for their taste of some of the best barbecued meats that Cabramatta has to offer.
Tasting Plate ($8) – An assortment of barbecued items from various local restaurants, some pickled vegetables and a fresh crusty roll, all on one convenient, value-for-money plate.
If that isn’t value-for-money enough for you, there was also a Pork Roll plate ($3). Much like the tasting plate with the pickles and roll, however you only had the choice of crispy skin pork. Still, very generous serve for less than half the price.
The barbecued meats on the tasting plate, from the char siu red roast pork, to the crispy skin roast pork & roast chicken, were all succulent and tender. Well worth the asking price.
There was more to the occasion than some fine barbecued meats. There were a number of cultural events and stalls to keep the public entertained.
A lion dance troupe worked their enthralling routine in the wings of the Freedom Plaza under cover from the rain. The restricted area cramped their style somewhat but it was still an impressive display all the same.
There were also display tables setup with various Asian vegetables, herbs, as well as the lesser known cuts of porcine offal such as pig’s stomachs, intestines and tongue.
A great opportunity for the curious minded to expand their knowledge and experience of many Asian produce that they may not otherwise have the opportunity or inclination to explore.
If that wasn’t enough, one of the main draw cards for the festivities was a cooking demonstration conducted by none other than Alvin Quah, Masterchef Australia series 2 contestant, blogger for the food blog cinnamon pig and all round nice guy.
He’s a natural when it comes to working the crowd. Utterly relaxed on stage whilst delivering an entertaining & educational show. Fielding and answering questions about food, and talking about his experiences on Masterchef.
In response to a question, Alvin briefly mentioned a couple of projects he’s working on. There was talk of a book (cookbook I believe), as well as a TV show exploring Malaysian cuisine.
Based on what I saw at the cooking demo, I think he’ll do quite well presenting his own TV show. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for it.
The celebrity that comes with being a Masterchef contestant, especially one as popular as Alvin was, doesn’t seem to have affected him. He’s a very friendly, down to earth sort of person. More than happy to sign an autograph or participate in a photo op.
Btw, in the bottom panel, is it just me or is that Jeff from the Wiggles having his photo taken with Alvin?
Another draw card, at least for me, was the live radio broadcast of ABC’s 702 AM “Weekends with Simon Marnie” program.
Not so much the radio program itself (as entertaining as it is) but for the fact that the food bloggers from Grab Your Fork, The Gourmet Forager and Simon Food Favourites were to be interviewed live on air, along with Andrew Rose, the winner of a competition be the radio station’s blogger and reviewer for SIFF.
Back to the food blogging trio, the food bloggers were tasked to bring back their favourite Cabramatta dish up to the value of $20 to talk about on the air.
Whether it be this gorgeous looking crispy skin chicken with dry egg noodles…
… or various drinks such as sugar cane juice with its citrus-like zing, a smooth avocado shake or the surprisingly tasty durian shake.
Yep. For avid readers of my blog, or those that know me, I did indeed associate something positive with the durian shake in Cabramatta. It’s worth a try if you’re in the area.
There was also cream puffs, a pork roll, marinated pork chops with broken rice and, surprisingly enough, hot chips.
Peking Duck Pancakes ($3.50 each or 3 for $10) from the Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant rounds off the selection of barbecued meats for the festival.
A mouth watering slab of Peking duck is served on a steamed flour pancake, along with a baton of cucumber and spring onion.
The duck was real good. As with all the other barbecued meats, the duck was likewise succulent and tender. It’s something I’ll certainly look to order the next time I dine at the Iron Chef.
For those of us who couldn’t get enough of the Iron Chef’s Peking duck pancakes, the Iron Chef crew held their own cooking demonstration to show how you could make these pancakes at home.
With regards to the duck itself, the recommendation was to purchase one from one of the many fine establishments in Cabramatta rather than make your own.
From what I understand of the process required to make Peking duck, I’d have to say that I agree.
Though the heavens may have opened up at the most inopportune time, the Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue was far from being a washout. I’ll be curious to see what they have in store for next year.
Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue
Freedom Plaza, Cabramatta
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