This is a guest post from Greenat16. I got to know him last year, when he was, well a year younger as Greenatfifteen. He’s a teenager who lives in Elizabeth Bay. He watched Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta on SBS. He wrote a guest post about his foodie experience of Cabramatta. This is his latest guest post for noodlies, Sydney food blog, on his day trip to Lakemba…
I decided to venture out to Lakemba in Sydney’s West. Yes, I was in a car, and yes I was wearing a hoodie, but no, there where no guns or crime. All of the news recently portraying Lakemba as a crime hotspot is utter rubbish. Lakemba is instead a melting pot of cultures, religions and races and when those three come together in one area it only means one thing: GOOD FOOD. I asked Thang about where to eat in the area and was directed to Island Dreams, the Christmas Island restaurant. After having a look at a video of ABC Radio’s Simon Marnie eating a sago desert and pictures of their rainbow crackers I was hooked. But as we soon found out, all the food shops where shut because of the Islamic Eid day in very much the same way as shops do on Christmas day. Anyway we still walked around the main street and shopping area – Haldon Street.
Having been forced to seek a new place to eat we walked back down from the station and discovered Patisserie Aryja, a Lebanese sweetshop that was open. As soon as we walked in the faces of the middle aged Lebanese men behind the counter lit up, elated, most likely because during Ramadan Muslims don’t eat or drink anything, so he was getting no sales. We asked the shop owner to put together half a kilo of scrumptious sweets, Baklavas etc.
Next door to the sweet shop was Big Fresh Food and Groceries (above) and in a bid to find some rose bud tea we ventured in. We found pistachio and almond sweets presumably to give to friends and family when you attend their house for Ramadan dinner. We also found, and purchased, some American Apple Vinegar, Turkish Jalapeño Chilis and Turkish Rose Water; see even the food is multicultural.
After all that walking and shopping we needed to eat something, and it seemed that we found the only Lebanese restaurant that was open so we ventured in. This restaurant happened to be Al Aseel. As we opened the door we where met by the staff’s friendly faces and the pre-quartered Lebanese bread already on the table. We sat down on the lounge-like chairs that where provided and waited for the menus to arrive. The smiling waitress came out with both the menus and a plate filled with olives and pickled vegetables (above).
We scanned a menu promising endless taste sensations and ordered our food. I ordered an Al Aseel mixed plate with Kibbe and Sambousek (above) after googling one of the items in the meal (it ended up being a sausage meat ball type thing). After a short wait and the consumption of many yummy entrees, the main meals arrived. There was dad’s Nile River Cod (below) topped with nuts and spices and my three barbecued skewers, one chicken, one lamb and one kafta (The sausage thing that I googled). There was also fresh Tabouli and three very yummy dips. The barbecued lamb skewer was the best lamb that I have ever had, smokey yet still rare.
The vegetarian in our group was even raving about the falafel and spinach triangles, they where ‘the best she had ever eaten’ (below).
Today’s experience was a memorable one, an experience I would recommend to anyone. Now my image of Lakemba has shifted in my mind, from a ‘Westie hellhole filled with Subaru WRXs and gangs’ into ‘the only place where you get can get truly authentic Lebanese food this side of Lebanon’.
135 Haldon Street, Lakemba
Ph: 9758 0000