Oops, missed again: aka the unofficial GFM tour of Campsie
Posted by kathryn in Miscellanea
This seem to be shaping up as the Good Food Month (GFM) I didn’t quite make. I pored over the programme when it was released, picked out classes (ice-cream making at Serendipity); tours ( Sydney Markets with Jared Ingersoll); and various events. However, by the time I actually tried to book, places were taken, classes were full, there was no room at the table.
No problem, I thought, there are still loads of outdoor and general entry events, plenty that I can participate in.
Saturday, I had an early meeting on the north shore, but there was still time to get back for the last hour of the Good Living Growers’ Market and buy some fabulous groceries. Wrong. Driving back over the Bridge, traffic was horrendous, it took an hour to cross the harbour and by the time I got to Pyrmont, everyone was packing up. Missed again.
Then Sunday, Richard and I planned to do the Mangia Italiano self-guided tour of Five Dock. Great idea, we can set our own starting time and pace, enjoy lots of wonderful Italian foods and finally have a GFM experience. Wrong again. Someone (ie me) forgot to read the fine print (“Mon – Fri only”), so Caffe Migliore, the start and where you collect your itinerary, was closed, along with nine-tenths of Five Dock. Missed yet again.
Not wanting to waste our day and being in a food shopping, marvelling and tasting mode, the only thing left to do was take matters into our own hands and do our own unofficial GFM tour. We picked Campsie.
Campsie is a new discovery for me and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite foodie suburbs. It’s in the inner-west of Sydney, near Canterbury and the high street is full of fantastic and interesting food shops. It has an ethnically diverse population, but is known as one of the main Korean areas of Sydney.
Having said that, we started our tour at Hawat, so that Richard could buy some coffee. While he was having animated and in-depth discussions about the merits of Turkish, Columbian, Lebanese and Egyptian coffee, I was free to browse all the middle Eastern goods. Big bags of dried beans , couscous and bulgur wheat, along with serve-yourself nuts and dried fruit. They also have my favourite dried wild oregano and beautiful bags of vegetable chips, that actually look like vegetables. While still high in fat, they’re a vast improvement on plain old potato chips.
Next stop was Liu Kimchi, or as I call it, Kimchi Heaven. Kimchi is a HOT Korean cabbage pickle, which you can eat with noodle soup, as a side dish to sushi, with a stirfry and I love it. It has been put forward as one of the world’s five healthiest foods , with claims that it can defeat SARS and prevent cancer. There isn’t definitive evidence on that, but Kimchi is definitely very, very good for you. It’s made up of cabbage, ginger, chilli and garlic, all of which have proven health benefits. Plus, as with other fermented foods, Kimchi contains a diverse population of gut-friendly probiotic bacteria.
Unfortunately Bun King, our next stop, was completely out of shiitake and cabbage buns, so we lucked out there. Onto i-Mart for agedashi tofu and fantastic toasted sesame seaweed.
Seaweed is another highly nutritious food, full of calcium, potassium, iron and also iodine. This latter mineral is one of the most frequent deficiencies in Australia and yet it’s crucial for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It’s particularly important in little ones, where an iodine deficiency leads to learning difficulties and can affect the development of the brain and nervous system. This seaweed is delicious and since Sunday we’ve been eating it straight from the packet.
Next was the Campsie Centre, where we visited two shops – the fruit and veg store with the gorgeous name of Smashing Pumpkins and the V-Plus Supermarket.
Smashing Pumpkins is full of really good and cheap fruit and vegetables. Lots of Asian greens, big bags of ginger, fresh mangoes, loquats and winter melons, herbs, all sorts of chillies. Plus this time they had fresh almonds, beautiful velvety green covered young fruit . . . which I’m not 100% sure what to do with (apart from eating!). Smashing Pumpkins also sell large packets of dried legumes, as well as nuts and seeds.
The final stop on our itinerary was the V-Plus Supermarket. Being the tofu king of Sydney, I suspect this is Richard’s favourite store, as we walked away with five different sorts of bean curd. We also picked up a huge bag of dried shiitakes, the freshest beansprouts, sesame oil, chilli pastes, weird dried herbs, noodles, new bamboo steamers and steamed buns filled with sticky black rice.
We had a fun afternoon and came away with green bags full of interesting and yummy groceries. Some of them are regular purchases and others are new experiments, but then, that’s what you want from a GFM tour, official or otherwise.
Where we shopped:
Hawat’s Coffee&Nuts – 292 Beamish St, Campsie (9787 1280)
Liu Korean Kim Chi – 282 Beamish St, Campsie (9787 8804)
We would have shopped at Bun King – Suite 5/2 Anglo Rd, Campsie (9789 4855)
i-Mart – 150 Beamish St, Campsie
Smashing Pumpkins Fruit Market – Shop 5, Campsie Centre, 14 – 22 Amy St, Campsie (9718 0233)
V-Plus Supermarket – Shop 10 – 14 Campsie Centre, 14 – 22 Amy St, Campsie (9718 8699)