Usually when you feel like taking an adventure you look to do something different, often doing something different means doing something far away… or sitting on the toilet watching all the celebs with their banging bods and oodles of money on a yacht somewhere (and realise you don’t even know how to spell the word). Recently, I was looking to do something adventurous with my Mum. Now that we live in different cities we either see each other at things or we try and have a normal weekend i.e. run errands together. So it seemed like high time we have an adventure! It also coincided with a certain international share economy company started offering bespoke tours. So I booked a food tour of Cabramatta.
According to oft consulted, rarely sourced information from Wikipedia: Cabramatta is colloquially known as ‘Cabra’ and has the largest Hoa Vietnamese community in Australia. It is also Australia’s largest non-Anglo-Celtic commercial precinct. The population demographics are reflected by the many Vietnamese-Australian and Chinese-Australian businesses. As a result, the suburb is considered a gourmand destination for Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese cuisines. I personally, also know it to be a colourful place (literally) and sell fabrics and as an avid sewer (Mum, stop laughing) this also appealed to me.
The tour is hosted by Angie Hong, Queen of Cabramatta and all round awesome women and also a person I have a huge crush on. I knew about Angie before I ever met her, she has a large Instagram presence and to be honest I know her most from her son Dan Hong, executive chef at Merivale, who posts about her now very famous #MondayHongDinners.
The day in Cabra starts by following instructions on how to get there and then meeting Angie at Thanh Binh, a restaurant that she owned and operated for ages, and where until recently she continued to help out. Angie is a very busy woman and it becomes fairly obvious throughout the initial meeting that she is a pretty big deal, like the Queen of Cabramatta, and a women that has so much energy it’s enviable. She works six days a week! I work 5 (kind of) and it’s tiiiiring.
At the restaurant you are given you gogo juice aka a Vietnamese coffee made to your liking. Then the day begins. It is a big day of eating so be hungry and keep that in mind as Angie offers you amazing produce and foods from her secret locations. We tried amazing chillied fruit, pho, spring rolls, char sui and crispy pork – just to name a few! I also did all my groceries and hot tailed it back to Canberra. Angie recommended restaurants and brands that she loves to use and gets just as excited as you about the wonderful and kitsch available in the shops! Like a crazy pickling knife that cuts the vegetables into wobbly bits (say whaaaaaaa)! spoiler – it’s not that fantastic i.e. it cant’ cut carrots, but what are you going to do?
In one of her many understated moments she points to a giant mural and says “that’s me” so I made her pose underneath.
I can’t give away too much because obviously that is the point of the tour but what I will do is share with you the gorgeous colours, textures that I captured in pictures from the day. I highly recommend this tour and ones like it as great opportunities to explore places much closer to home… I’m big on domestic tourism as you will hear more about very soon! EXCITING SECRET. You can learn more about Angie and her tours through her Instagram and book any of her tours through Airbnb.
Anyway, enjoy the visual journey (and yes I used some of the photos to talk about waste because they are fresh, clean and happy).