In Short: Parklands Food Fest is an annual food festival event organised by Western Sydney Parklands and held at Lizard Log, with a great selection of food trucks, food stalls, fresh produce stalls as well as live music.
It’s the first weekend of spring and sunny weather is forecasted, perfect for checking out food festivals around Sydney. Lucky for us, the Parklands Food Fest 2017 organized by the Western Sydney Parklands was held on Saturday 9th September, 2017 at Lizard Log in Abbotsbury.
There is something about the gathering of food lovers with an appreciation for fresh produce, coupled with the vibes of kids and adults enjoying freshly prepared food and groovy tunes. At these family-friendly events, there is always something for everyone, with fresh product available for sale, fantastic food stalls and food trucks serving mouth-watering food. There is even a kids section for the little ones to burn off their energy on a jumping castle, do some rock climbing on the makeshift rock wall, or to get their face painted.
For me, the highlight of these food festivals is being able to sit in on Master classes with top chefs as they cook a dish on the spot, engage the audience in conversations, and talk you through the steps while offering cooking tips along the way. The guest chef presenters this year at the Parklands Food Fest included Melbourne Chef Karen Martini who is a restaurateur, food writer and guest judge on the popular cooking show My Kitchen Rules, Sydney Chef Dan Hong (owner of Mr. Wong and Ms. G) and, his mum Angie Hong who is possibly the first lady on the subject of Vietnamese cooking. The prospect of being able to see them in their element in person had me buzzing with excitement. Watching Karen Martini in action, we learnt about how to prepare and cook cavolo nero with spring lamb. She made it look so easy, I am sure I would need to budget double the time, when I have a go at her dish.
One does get quite hungry being surrounded by food and watching all the food demonstrations! Never fear, at this year’s edition of the festival the crowds were presented with an array of food stalls and food trucks carefully curated for food lovers. One of the food trucks at the Food Fest that had us really excited was El Qahirah. El Qahirah (Arabic for Cairo) is Sydney’s first Egyptian food truck, operated by George Kaldas and Ishac Soliman.
Their menu consist of 3 simple Egyptian street food staples and a special Egyptian tea made with Hibiscus flowers. We went with the Fuul Medames, which consisted of a filling of fava beans cooked with spices, garlic, onion and lemon juice, topped with pickles, tomatoes, rocket and vegetables. To eat this, you fill a flat bread pocket with the filling and the end result is a delicious finger-licking good meal. I appreciated the spices, and the freshness of the tomatoes. The fava beans had been cooked expertly, and the addition of pickled beetroot is what really makes this a standout dish.
Because our first food option was a vegetarian dish, for our second choice, we went all out with a Roast Pork Belly Bahn Mi from I Love Bahn Mi. A family-run stall, which usually only operates as a pop-up at Kirribilli markets, I have to go out on a limb here and say, this has to be one of the best roast pork bahn mi I have ever eaten! The baguette is so crusty that you would inevitably be filled with crumbs with every bite, and happily so!
The roll is spread with a classic mayonnaise on one side and pate on the other. The meat serving was so generous there was crispy pork spilling out of the roll! The crackling was so crispy and the pork belly was moist and oh-so-perfectly roasted that the filling can almost be eaten on its own. To balance the richness of the meat, there is the pickled shredded carrots, a slice of cucumber, coriander, spring onions and chillies. Before you tuck into the sandwich, make sure you stop at the condiments section and add in some brown sauce to turn up the umami flavours and Sriracha chilli to make the final product a work of culinary art.
To wash down all the yummy food, we indulged in a Lychee Rose Tea from Teabags, which serves ice tea with exotic flavours in a special transparent ziplock bag that you can drink out of on the spot or save it for later. Being able to see all the ingredients that go into the drink is such a novelty. In our case, we spied dried rose petals and chunks of actual lychee fruit in the drink. Flavour wise, the drink was sweet, fragrant, and completely refreshing especially on a warm afternoon.
While we feasted on the food, we enjoyed the live music playing at a marquee, with lots of seating and shaded shelter available. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to score yourself a much coveted reclining fabric beach chair near the music section, or just roll out the picnic mat and enjoy a leisurely sun shining Saturday.
A trip down to the food festivals is always a great excuse for friends and family to get out of the house and enjoy a great time together. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the event, which had a good layout and was well planned. You can be sure we are already looking forward to next year’s #parklandsfoodfest!