Australia’s tastiest Ramadan destination

It’s the holy month of Ramadan, the most sacred month in Islamic culture when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Now the sun has set, local Muslims and visitors wanting a cultural experience flock to Lakemba’s Haldon St for Iftar (breaking their fast).

“We could be in another country,” exclaims a woman as she looks around. Some men wear traditional white skullcaps and long tunics. Many women wear hijabs. All are friendly and welcoming, enjoying their night out.

I’ve come to Lakemba in Sydney for a Taste of Ramadan Tour, to learn about the customs of Ramadan and to sample food from different countries.

A charity and social enterprise, Taste Cultural Food Tours, runs this unique tour. Their aim is to promote cross-cultural understanding. They train and employ migrants and young people as tour guides.

Our guide, Alaa, comes from Syria. She wears her hair tucked away beneath a white scarf covering her head and neck. Alaa tells us that today she woke early to prepare and eat Suhoor, the light meal before sunrise. She fasted all day (no food or water) and broke her fast with dates.

Taste Ramadan Food 
Tour guide Alaa
Taste Ramadan Food Tour guide Alaa. Picture: Joanne Karcz

We keep Alaa’s distinctive yellow Taste-branded shirt in view as we weave our way through the throng. “It’s so lively,” one of our group says. It’s certainly noisy. Cars vroom past, music blaring. Two young men at pop-up stalls on opposite sides of the road laughingly compete as they loudly spruik their wares. Each claims theirs is better.

Underneath a large stuffed camel suspended from a shop awning, we sample a camel burger. It’s juicy and more-ish but I hold back on a second serving. I need to pace myself.

A spicy aroma wafts from the Bangladeshi restaurant. Alaa hands me a bowl of haleem, a slow-cooked goat, and lentil stew. Later I sample murtabak, a savory pancake folded over a meat filling, and “the best falafel in Lakemba” washed down with spiced Kashmiri chai.

We watch a man stirring a huge black pot of sahlab, a sweet thickened warm milk infused with rosewater. I’m keen to taste knafeh tonight, and I’m not disappointed. It’s a stretchy, creamy cheese filling topped with semolina, chopped pistachios, and syrup.

Over three hours, we walk the length of Haldon St. Alaa introduces us to a range of delicious food (some dishes only available during Ramadan) from Bangladesh, the Cook Islands, Lebanon, Indonesia, Palestine, and Syria. We have also enjoyed an interesting and fun cultural experience.

Need to Know

  • Taste of Ramadan Tours run throughout April on Sunday and Thursday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.
  • Private tours (minimum six people) are available.
  • Tours cost $109 a person (less with Discover Vouchers).
  • People with mobility issues may struggle with the crowds. Street stalls don’t cater for people with food allergies.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author

Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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