The One Thing You Must Do In Sydney: Check the Ethnic Food

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dim sum sydney photo

Photo by Charles Haynes

In our days in Toronto , my wife and I checked out the various ethnic restaurants in downtown Toronto -it was a favorite weekend “to-do”. Sydney is as impressive as Toronto when it comes to ethnic food.

In such a world class city, there are many things you’d want to do. Check our Sydney Opera post, or the wildlife watching, if you somehow ran out of ideas.

So, the one thing that you absolutely must do in Sydney is check the ethnic food. The range of food available is huge and isn’t necessarily expensive. It is usually possible to find a restaurant of any nationality, specializing in almost any cuisine.

Eating well without breaking the bank in Sydney

Yum cha in Chinatown is very good, arguably even better than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Yum Cha is an entire meal comprising many small dishes called “dim sum” (Mandarin: dian xin). It’s similar to Spanish tapas in serving style- but the food moves in roving, heated trolleys around the restaurant. Yum cha restaurants can also be found scattered throughout Sydney, particularly in suburbs where Chinese communities thrive such as Chatswood. Yum cha is very popular and queues form on weekends. Go early (11am – noon) or be prepared to wait.

Thanks to my friend Christina Chung(she moved now to Hong Kong), and Barry Chung (still in Toronto), for introducing me to Yum-Cha.

Eat Chinese (Cantonese) in Chinatown Chatswood on the North Shore. “Noodle markets” are also held in Chinatown every Friday, starting from around 5:30PM. Many Chinatown restaurants hold open-air stalls, selling everything from finger food, to stir-fry noodles, to Chinese-style desserts. For more northern Chinese flavours, including Shanghainese and Pekingnese, head to Ashfield and Strathfield in the Sydney/Inner West- both easily accessible via public transport. Some outer suburbs are particularly known for their Chinese restaurants – recommended examples are Eastwood (north-west), Parramatta (west) and Hurstville in Sydney’s southern suburbs which all have a number of restaurants offering more home-style Chinese food.

Sydney is not only about Chinese restaurants. There is great diversity – and a short list below.

Lebanese
Lebanese
Directions
Korean
Korean
Directions
Portugese
Portugese
Directions
Spanish
Spanish
Directions
Italian
Italian
Directions
Thai Food
Thai Food
Directions
Turkish Uyghur
Turkish Uyghur on Dixon Street
Directions

A list of clusters of ethnic restaurants in Sydney

  1. Turkish Uyghur on Dixon Street, Haymarket (Chinatown)- fiery, flavour-bursting food originating from the Turkic regions of Central Asia. Be that the Sultan’s table, or the delicious Efendi Meze & Bar, your thirst for Turkish food will find  avenue.
  2. Thai in one of the many low priced Thai outlets in Newtown’s King Street in the Inner West. Be that rice or noodle, there is a place for you here.
  3. Italian in one of the restaurants in Leichhardt’s Norton Street, or nearby Ramsay Street, Haberfield in the Inner West. Or in Stanley St in East Sydney – a short walk from the CBD. Check Pendolino for a nice dinner with your loved one.
  4. Spanish in Liverpool Street in the city. For great tapas at good prices, I recommend En Casa.
  5. Portuguese in Petersham in the Inner West.
  6. Indian in one of the many restaurants in the Outer West with all types of Indian cuisine (North Indian, South Indian, Vegetarian, meat, etc.)
  7. Korean in Liverpool & Pitt St in City, Strathfield, Eastwood and Campsie.
  8. Japanese in Neutral Bay or Crows Nest. Try Ryo’s for a portion of Ramen in Tokyo Style.
  9. Nepalese in Glebe Point Road, Glebe, in the Inner West or Crows Nest, for a choice of Prawn Maacha Pakauda or Lamb Curry Dish with Basmati. Yummi!
  10. Turkish in Auburn (Outer West). Closer to the city, there try Enmore Rd Enmore / South King St Newtown in the Inner West. Get your Sucuklu and Pastirmali here.
  11. Lebanese in Cleveland Street. Baba Ghanouj, Lahem Begin and Baclawa here. Salam Alaikum. For the very best Lebanese, head out to the Middle Eastern enclaves of Greenacre or Lakemba.
  12. Vietnamese in Marrickville. The most authentic Vietnamese can be experienced in Cabramatta or Bankstown. If you have the time, Cabramatta particularly is a fascinating and worthwhile day trip. So awash is the suburb with Vietnamese restaurants groceries, butchers, craft shops, clothing stores and restaurants – not to mention Vietnamese people – you’d swear you were walking around Saigon rather than Sydney.
  13. Kosher in Bondi. Many great restaurants throughout the area.
  14. Indonesian in Anzac Parade, Kensington, Kingsford & Maroubra if your desire is Beef Rendang or Fried Hokkien Mee.

Other places you recommend? Leave us a comment.