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Crave SIFF – Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue 2010

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.

Alvin works his way through two dishes – a BBQ duck hot and sour soup, and a pickled celery and mango salad. Both recipes are available from his food blog, here and here respectively.

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.

Unbeknown to me until after the fact, Thang, the food blogger for Noodlies, was also interviewed on air earlier in the day, regarding his widely publicised Sydney’s Best Pho poll.

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.

For more Barbecue Madness, check out the other barbecue events on the Crave SIFF website, or one of the many other SIFF events throughout the month of October.

Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue
Freedom Plaza, Cabramatta

View the heart of food: map

For more photos of the Cabramatta Allsorts Barbecue festival, check out the heart of food Facebook Fan Page.

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • thang @ noodlies October 4, 2010, 11:15 am

    Such great pics Simon! It looked great despite the terrible weather!

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:26 pm

      People seemed to enjoy themselves despite the weather. Didn’t hear a single complaint about the rain.

  • chocolatesuze October 4, 2010, 11:47 am

    crackle! i want crackle! crackle! nuuuuuu

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:26 pm

      It’s good crackle to want too :)

  • Sara @ Belly Rumbles October 4, 2010, 1:36 pm

    Looks like it was a fantastic day (beside the weather). I love the fact they had product information areas to broaden knowledge on Asian ingredients.

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:28 pm

      It was a brilliant idea. A great way to give exposure to the lesser known ingredients.

  • Moya October 4, 2010, 3:59 pm

    Love that last shot of Alvin and the little girl in pink with the photographers in front of them, no builders’ crack for Alvin – classy guy! I don’t think a little rain (okay it was a lot but for only a short time) would keep Sydney away from pork crackling!

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:30 pm

      Alvin was great with the crowds, as I mentioned. Very personable and not at all afflicted by his celebrity.

  • Mark @ Cafe Campana October 4, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Great post Simon. I only started visiting Cabra this year and it was an eye opener. I was travelling in the car on Saturday morning and heard all the familiar food bloggers on 702 and got a bit of a shock. They have hit the big time.

    I love the crispy skin chicken from Tan Viet. I travel all they way from the Hills just for a taste.

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:32 pm

      My first experience was last year during their Moon Festival. I certainly want to come back to explore more of what they have to offer.

      Gotta try the chicken out myself sometime. Didn’t have the opportunity on the day as I was busy with the photos.

  • Celeste @ Berrytravels October 4, 2010, 10:34 pm

    Looks like it was a fabulous event. Plus what I really liked was that it showcased Cabramatta all in the one post! Next time I’m up in Sydney, I gotta go check this place out!

    • Simon October 5, 2010, 12:53 am

      As much as they showcased a wide variety of vendors for the BBQ meats, there’s far more depth to Cabramatta than that.

      I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you do decide to check it out.

  • Simon Food Favourites October 4, 2010, 11:26 pm

    great recap of the day. i missed so much of the demonstrations when i was out searching for the crispy chicken though. i also missed those peking duck pancakes. i wondered where they went to yum yum. and i totally agree about Alvin, he’s such a nice guys and so humble too. :-)

    • Simon October 5, 2010, 12:55 am

      As I missed much of the food blogger’s radio interview when I was going around taking photos of the various events.

      The Peking duck pancakes will be around during the next local festival, I’m sure. That is assuming you don’t drop by the restaurant before that time :)

  • mademoiselle délicieuse October 5, 2010, 7:26 am

    Looks like great fun! I was planning on attending a BBQ Madness event at Woolloomooloo but decided to give it a miss on account of the weather.

    • Simon October 5, 2010, 10:28 pm

      I wanted to go to that after Cabramatta but had a case of the ceebs.

      Wonder how that turned out…

  • Tammi October 5, 2010, 9:29 am

    OMG I’m so hungry now. Must. Have. Crackling! Darn I missed it because I was at the sustainable markets at Oxford St. Do you know whether this is happening again?

    • Simon October 5, 2010, 11:50 pm

      I believe that the Cabramatta Allsorts BBQ was only one for that one day.

      Perhaps they will do it again next year?

  • Forager @ The Gourmet Forager October 5, 2010, 10:17 pm

    Great photos and thorough post of the event! I certainly didn’t have the wits about me to be able to multitask and take photos that day!

    I think that guy is Jeff! Funny – since Anh Do who was on the show early on was cracking jokes about him being mistaken for Jeff all the time!

    • Simon October 5, 2010, 11:51 pm

      I thought so too. It’s hard to tell it’s Jeff without the skivvy :P hehe

  • grace October 7, 2010, 4:40 am


    PS. haha love how you got so many photos of alvin talking and moving around! alvin rocks! what dyou reckon are the chances his TV show will be airing in the UK haha

    • Simon October 7, 2010, 11:56 pm

      Hehe :)

      I was so surprised how it wasn’t just ok but actually good. First non-fresh durian product I’ve had that I didn’t hate with a passion.

      Will have to see I guess. If not, there are always, well, other options… :)

  • Jen October 7, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Hahaha, that sure does look like the Wiggles guy! By the way, your photos are great here, it really encapsulates the whole event!

    • Simon October 7, 2010, 11:58 pm

      Thanks Jen!

      Glad to see that it isn’t just me who thinks that guys is Jeff :)

  • Gemma @ The Cheap Glut October 13, 2010, 4:59 pm

    Yum, everything looks so good here – fantastic photography! I really want to eat that Peking duck. Right now.

    • Simon October 17, 2010, 10:53 pm


      The Peking Duck is pretty nice. It’s available at the Night Noodle Market at the Iron Chef stall until the end of this week if you can be bothered :)

  • Howard October 14, 2010, 9:44 am

    Nice coverage! Good to see Cabramatta is getting onto the food roadmap after hiding under the radar all these years.

    • Simon October 17, 2010, 10:54 pm

      Very much so, and the fact that people care enough to travel all the way out to appreciate some great food.

      Definitely going to check out more of this place in future :)

  • MelbaToast October 28, 2010, 9:13 am

    How did I miss this awesome looking BBQ fest? Your first picture had me drooling…my mouth is still watering. The duck pancakes looks so tasty…! I love Alvin…such a cutie! I think I’m going to have to take myself to Cabra asap.

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