Mr Sticky and I had the pleasure of being invited to attend opening night of Taste of Sydney 2013.
Well… actually. Malaysia Kitchen kindly asked if I would like to attend and because they mentioned Mr Sticky as my potential +1 he insisted that as his name was specifically in the email then he had to be my date. Good thing he likes to eat as much as I do!
The food festival Taste of Sydney is back for another year – same location but definitely a different event.
What’s changed for the pop up event in 2013? New restaurants, different exhibitors, a crown debit card, more spaces to hang out and interesting (and practical!) demonstrations.
Let’s start with the most important thing – the food! There were a lot of choices but we had planned ahead and highlighted our favourites in advance to make a beeline for what our stomachs were craving.
Porteno – BBQ Wagyu Beef Brisket with BBQ Sauce and Pickle x 12 crowns (equivalent to $12).
We really enjoyed this dish – the beef was tender and the sauce was sweet, but I think that the brisket should have had a deeper smokier charred top, or as the Southerners call it ‘bark’. There was some char, but we really wanted more.
Four in Hand – Spit Roast Suckling Pig with Coleslaw and Hot Sauce x 12 crowns (equivalent to $12).
This dish was actually a feature at Taste of Sydney 2012, but was served with onion rings rather than potatoes. It was a crowd favourite again this year, so maybe Colin Fassnidge will bring it back in 2014 too. Mr Sticky thought the hot sauce (although not too spicy) was brilliant, and we both agreed the pork was tender and juicy.
Kitchen by Mike – Mike’s Pluto Pop x 10 Crowns (equivalent to $10).
The Pluto Pop was a smoky sausage with a beer batter and then fried, served with their house tomato sauce.
Now, Pluto Pops aren’t for me. I love food on a stick, and don’t even get me started on my feelings for thedeep-fried… but I just can’t appreciate hot dogs. This was Mr Sticky’s choice and he thought the smoky flavours and the crunch were great, although there was something in the batter he couldn’t put his finger on.
Ananas Bar and Brasserie – Salted Caramel Eclair x 6 Crowns (equivalent to $6).
THIS WAS THE BUSINESS! Seriously. After one bite, I turned to Mr Sticky and told him there was no way I was going to share! Salted caramel cream filling with a salted caramel icing and a airy and a light choux pastry. Perfection.
Four in Hand – 4Fourteen White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich x6 Crowns (equivalent to $6).
It was Mr Sticky’s choice and he was not disappointed. I also really enjoyed this dessert – it’s messy, you’ll end up with ice cream all over your face but you will definitely enjoy. I couldn’t really pick up on much white chocolate, I tasted more of a light caramel tone and then combined with a brown sugar crunch.
I loved that Taste of Sydney 2013 had lots more interactive areas in and around the exhibitor stands. Think: Table Tennis tables, stalls giving free massages, live DJs and bands, photobooths… and you could wrestle an orangatun. Whut? Mr Sticky gave this monkey a piece of his mind and arm wrestled him like he was taking bananas from a monkey!
A big improvement on previous years is all the seating. Hallelujah! Majority of the seating is centred around alcohol venders but all of the seating had shelter, was styled like a magazine and open to anyone.
The Cointreau Tent was one of my favourite looks, simply because I wanted to steal the styling for my own balcony. We stopped for a cocktail while I was admiring the cushions. I was really surprised by the Cointreau combinations! I thought they were refreshing and I had to take a recipe booklet so I could re-make them at home.
Cointreau Fizz – Orange and Cucumber and Basil x 8 Crowns each (equivalent to $8).
There are lots of demonstrations at the exhibitors stalls but you should definitely spend time at the bigger tents with displays, samples and demonstrations like the Dilmah High Tea Experience, Plumm Wine Theatre and Malaysia Kitchen.
Malaysia Kitchen has three pop-up restaurants over the event including Ipoh on York, The Malaya and Jackie M. The smells coming out of their tiny kitchens were pulling a big crowd so I definitely should have elbowed some people out of the way to place an order. There were lots of samples too and Mr Sticky tried some of the Sambal Prawns.
The opening night saw a big display of Malaysian culture and I loved the Malaysian dancers!
Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador, Poh Ling Yeow, officially welcomed us all to the Taste of Sydney 2013 Opening Ceremony by cooking her recipe for Dark Hokkien Noodles. Can we all just take a minute and agree how fabulous Poh is? I just love her enthusiasm! I found it very helpful that when she is creating the dish she will explain the technicalities and cultural influences behind the cuisine.
Poh will be demonstrating this dish a few times over the event so make sure you catch her little cooking show, or you can find her recipes at the stalls and online at the Malaysia Kitchen Australia website. I enjoy eating hawker-style food – it reminds me of my time visiting Mama and Papa Sweet in Singapore – and now I vow to cook more Malaysian food at home.
Poh was pretty busy with photos so Mr Sticky posed with Poh and her dish… in his own special way.
Will you be heading to Taste of Sydney 2013? What was your favourite dish?
Taste of Sydney 2013 is at Centennial Park from 14-17 March. Tickets are available at the door for $30. More information at http://www.tasteofsydney.com.au
Disclaimer: Mr Sticky and I were invited to attend Taste of Sydney 2013 as VIP guests of Malaysia Kitchen. We received complimentary entry, invitation into the VIP tent and drinks. All other items were purchased by Mr Sticky and I. My thanks again to Malaysia Kitchen for their hospitality.