A Culinary Map of Western Sydney
Just 6 of our favourite places (restaurants, cafes, and bakeries) in Western Sydney for Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Chinese, and South American delights! These are the amazing places you can only find out about from a local!
By: Fabián Marcel Vergara DeLeón, fabulous Taste Tour Guide
For many people who visit and even live in our great city of Sydney, the Western Suburbs remain a mystery. This monolith of urban suburbia stretches its concrete fingertips from Blacktown in the north, to Campbelltown in the south and to Parramatta in the mid-west. Of Western Sydney’s many amazing qualities, it is the food that is most deeply enamouring. While the cuisine can be a far cry from the elegance and refinement that comes with eating in the inner city, Western Sydney offers a landscape brimming with diversity and some of the most authentic international food that Sydney has to offer.
You can encounter Iraqi bakeries next to South American pastelerías and daily yum cha restaurants only a brief train ride from the best halal snack packs in the city. If you’re looking for something that comes to you served on a wooden board with a mason jar beverage, stop reading this article and take a quick walk over to Newtown, this isn’t for you. These are just a few of the best multicultural culinary experiences that Western Sydney has to offer.
King Kebabs, Campelltown
2/171-179 Queen St, Campbelltown
This Middle Eastern kebab house has rapidly become known across the city for serving some of the most delicious halal snack packs available, packed with devotees every day. The snack pack (Snackie, HSP, meat box etc.) is a genuine one plate wonder: hot chips seasoned with chicken salt lie underneath a dense layer of cheese and shawarma smothered in your choice of sauce. Opt for the classic mixed beef and chicken with the holy trinity of garlic, barbecue and chilli sauces. The savoury creaminess of the garlic sauce, the angular and pronounced nature of the chilli and the sweet and sour tang of the barbecue collide and become something entirely new. The succulence and tenderness of the meat are balanced out by the crunchiness of the chips. The precision and attention given to every snack pack at King makes it an artisanal product, one worthy of your monetary praise.
Tan Viet, Cabramatta
100 John St, Cabramatta
As the capital of the Indochinese community in Sydney, Cabramatta boasts countless Cambodian, Laotian and Thai restaurants. However, the Vietnamese cuisine is the most well represented with a wide array of eateries offering the classics of sugarcane prawns, pho (beef noodle soup) and bun bo hue (a spicy lemongrass-infused vermicelli noodle soup). Popular Vietnamese noodle house, Tan Viet, is renowned for its Crispy Skin Chicken. The skin draped around the perfectly cooked, moist flesh exudes an infinitely satisfying and audible crunch when bitten into. Order a plate of tomato rice; the colour of sunset, steamed and mildly flavoured, for the complete authentic Vietnamese experience.
Vinh Phat, Cabramatta
1, 10-12 Hughes Street, Cabramatta
The experience of a crowded dining room, waiters pushing along carts with bamboo steamers stacked up high and the choice to pick dishes as you wish are highly alluring prospects which make Yum Cha, one of my favourite culinary experiences. The Yum Cha at Vinh Phat is a local favourite, serving up some of the best har gow (steamed prawn dumplings) and cheung fan (flat rice noodle filled with mince prawns, rolled and steamed) I’ve had. Covered in light soy, the steaming makes the outside so deft you can part it with one chopstick. For the more adventurous, try the gelatinous and flavourful chicken feet. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the delicious mango pancake dessert.
1/9 Barbara Street, Fairfield
La Paula has been significant feature in my life for as long as I can remember. As a child, my parents would take my brother and I to this pastelería. My earliest memories of the place are of me, knee-high to my mother, pressing my face up to the display counter in the store to get a better look at all of the sweets. A huge array of traditional pastries from Latin America are available. The classics include Alfajores, two vanilla flavoured cookies bound together with a layer of dulce de leche, a sweet caramel spread, and covered in coconut. Conejitos are a sweet dense eggy bread bun, slit open and filled with either vanilla, custard cream, dulce de leche or chocolate. If you’re looking for something bigger, try the milhoja. Translating to a “thousand-leaves”, it is layers of semi-hard pastry and dulce de leche, dusted in coconut.
7 Breust Place, Punchbowl
While El Jannah may have stolen the Lebanese Charcoal Chicken limelight, for me there is only one place to go when you’re craving a good Lebanese-style charcoal chicken with all the trimmings and that’s Al-Awafi. For $8, you can get a student meal of a succulent quarter chicken, a mountain of golden chips, pickles, a basket of bread and a good dose of their toum (garlic sauce). The chicken is moist, the purple pickles are a mix of salty and sweet with a slight bitterness at the end. The star however is the smooth, suede-like garlic sauce to dip the bread, chicken and chips into it.
El Rabieh Sweets, Punchbowl
769A Punchbowl Road, Punchbowl
El Rabieh Sweets was first recommended to me by a classmate of Syrian origin. An abundance of Middle Eastern patisserie’s exist in Sydney but, El Rabieh reigns supreme. Walking in the door, you see the enormous display counter. A myriad of culinary brilliance. The sweet makers at El Rabieh are truly artisans, turn sugar syrup, pastry and crushed nuts into the best baklava you can taste. Another amazing pastry on offer here is the Znood El-Sit or Lady’s Arms. A thin sheet of pastry, filled with homemade clotted cream or ashtar and then deep-fried and soaked in syrup. The crunchy shell gives way to the sweet and dense centre. Sugar syrup permeates the inside of your mouth. A true melange of sweetness. One of my personal favourites is Knafeh. Sweet cheese pressed between layers of dense, crumbly, dark pastry and then covered in syrup and garnished with pistachios.