Asian cuisine lovers rejoice! Cabramatta is one travel experience any foodie should take. This small and thriving multicultural city is regarded as Sydney’s culinary United Nations, serving up a wicked slice of South-East Asian flavours, sights and exotic foods. Located 30km from central Sydney, Cabramatta aka ‘Cabra’ has the largest Vietnamese community in Australia and is therefore renowned for its Vietnamese food.
Once you arrive at Freedom Plaza (Cabramatta’s hub) you’ll be memorised by the buzzing atmosphere with the shopkeepers hustling, food vendors whipping up tasty treats, old men playing mahjong and crowds of people shopping at the local greengrocers.
With its alleyways, arcades and never-ending streets of restaurants, speciality shops, food stores and herbal emporiums you can easily spend a few hours roaming about. Warning! If you’re anything like me you’ll find it hard not to sample the food and pick up a souvenir or some traditional herbal tea.
What I love about Cabramatta is there are numerous cheap and delicious eateries available and you can try over 20 different cuisines including Malaysian, Thai, Lebanese, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Lao and Cambodian.
However I believe you cannot visit Cabramatta without eating at a Vietnamese restaurant and ordering a bowl of Pho. Famed to have the best Pho in town, Pho Tau Bay is a casual family-run venue serving up huge portions of Chicken or Beef Pho and other traditional Vietnamese dishes. When I visited it was packed with locals and tourists. I had to even sit at a table with another couple but it was worth it – the food is full of flavour, hearty and cheap…so cheap. Service is great and you can walk away with a bowl of Pho, entrée and drink for two for under $40 – now that’s what I’m talking about!
Also while in Cabramatta you can get an insider’s guide to the city’s culinary culture by jumping on a tour offered by a number of operators such as Sydney Gourmet Safaris. They run great food tours where you are taken to the best dining spots in Cabramatta and have the chance to meet with the chefs.
If you’re interested in visiting Cabramatta the best way to get there from central Sydney is by train which takes around 40 minutes. Street parking is available however it gets busy, especially on the weekends so you may have to park and walk about 10 minutes. It does however give you the chance to check out the surrounding residential area which features mostly old unit blocks – a unique glimpse into Cabramatta’s roots.
Have you visited Cabramatta? What did you think?