Holi celebrations in Canberra

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Sharing in the recent Indian Australia Association of Canberra hosted Holi celebrations at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park was a great opportunity to support the local Indian community, enjoy some colourful dress, dance, and dry colour ‘play’, henna painting and wonderful Indian foods.

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Particularly good were the goat and chicken biryani $8, palak paneer $8, samosa $2.50 and rashgulla and gulab jaman $2 from Taste of Bangladesh in Style Arcade Manuka.

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Aso for sale were choley kulcha $5, pani puri $6 and papdi chaat $6

Enlighten Noodle Markets 2015

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Canberra’s newest food festival, the Enlighten Night Noodle Markets are a very welcome addition to the annual Canberra Enlighten.

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Running for the ten nights before Canberra Day on March 9 (in 2015) they are well worth including in a visit to the ‘must see’ Enlighten projections on some of Canberra’s significant buildings along the lakefront near Old Parliament House.

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Don’t be discouraged by the reports of long lines, crowds and parking issues. Like other Canberra festivals with food, it just needs a few good strategies to overcome the challenges:

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  1. Go with a group
  2. Park away from the main area and walk down to the lake.
  3. Grab a table and chairs close to the noodle markets (there are nice ones in front of Questacon from where you can also see some of the projections as it gets darkTake your own wine and glasses (not allowed into the actual noodle market stall area) as well as a few extra paper plates for sharing dishes. While one person minds the table and ‘tableware’, others in the group can head to the stalls, each bringing back a dish to share.
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  5. Lines move fairly quickly, even the long ones, but look for some that are shorter.
  6. Some excellent options (e.g. Thirst, Mork’s) have very short lines. (It’s also great to support these local Canberra eateries).

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7. Try to avoid the very busiest times.

8. Time your dining to coincide with the projections starting on dusk, because they are an essential finale to any noodle market visit.

BBQ Pork buns from Let’s Do Yum Cha (5 for $10)

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Vegetarian Dumplings from Let’s Do Yum Cha (5 for $10) (Good*)

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Fried Pork and glass noodle salad with tamarind jam dressing from Thirst $12 (Good*)

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Yellow Curry with Chicken,Potato and Rice Noodles also from Thirst ($12)

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Boat noodle soup (dry version without the broth) from Morks $10

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Pad Thai (probably from Spanthai for about $12)

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Mango Chicken (also probably from Spanthai for about $12) (also Good)

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 Enlighten projections

National Library

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Questacon

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National Portrait Gallery (perhaps the very best)

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National Art Gallery

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Old Parliament House

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Canberra’s Multicultural Festival

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The annual February multicultural festival in Canberra is wonderful. Representing the globe, families, communities and embassies come together for the weekend to share the passion and connection that they have for and with their heritage.

They showcase the foods they love….

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Spanish Paella and Moroccan Pancakes

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Sri Lankan Kothu Roti

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Philippino Halo Halo

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The ever popular Gozlemes

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Bhutanese Momos, Beef Curry, Chilli Cheese and Saffron Rice

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Tibetan Momos

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Italian Gingerbread and Nougat

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Mongolian Dumpling and Croatian Kransky roll

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Greek Loukoumathes

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Foods from the Greek Glendi

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Their dance and music….

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But it’s also a highlight to see communities working together, producing and selling signatures snacks and wishes from their country….

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…..and the global mix through those enjoying everything the festival offers….together.

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Yes, it gets busy and you might have to  wait in line, but there are still plenty of good spot sot get a view of the stage and the lines aren’t so long (especially if you go a bit early). And it’s a great opportunity to chat to those who around you either supporting the stalls and events or waiting in line too. Their pride and love for their country is inspiring.

See, taste and chat about foods and cultures from around the world without leaving home and enjoy one of the great things about living in Canberra!

(Maybe, the ultimate strategy is to go with a few friends and task everyone with collecting a national food to bring back to share along with the back story gleaned while purchasing! Maximum taste and experience.)

Canberra Japanese Nara Candle Festival – a spring cultural festival with food

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Canberra’s annual Japanese Nara Candle Festival is immensely popular and it’s great to join in with the enthusiasm.

The lakeside setting and high quality entertainment is ideal for an evening picnic with a Japanese flavour.

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There are plenty of interesting new foods to explore with some great old favourites as well as lots of other exhibits to enjoy.

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Red bean paste desserts  $6.50                                    Strawberry daifuku $6.50

It’s true that the great  support can mean some long queues for food, but here are ten useful tips to make the very best of this great opportunity.

1. Get a group together so you can work as a team to grab a great spot and gather great food to share and enjoy together.
2. Go early, before the official start time of 4:30.
3. Take your own picnic rug or chairs & table to set up in an ideal spot.
4. Drop off your group and props before parking. There’s good parking across Commonwealth Ave from the Albert Hall and you can walk under the road through the underpass).

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5. Take a bottle of wine, glasses, platter & sharp knife for sharing and napkins.

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6. Look out for the most popular foods (probably with the longest queues, as these are often the best).
The Takoyaki Octupus dumplings ($7 for 6), Yakisoda bread ($8 each), and Okonomiyaki – Savoury Pancake ($9 each),Strawberry Daifuku ($6.50 for 2) were all popular and excellent choices.

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Yakisoba bread $8 (really very good)

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Okonomiyaki – Savoury Pancake ($9 each) (bacon, onion, BBQ type sauce, Mayonnaise type sauce – delcious)

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Green tea ice-cream $4 (quite strong flavour)

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Assorted red bean paste desserts $6.50

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Soba noodles $9

7.  But don’t overlook the old favourites like Sushi and Gyoza.

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Sushi  $3.50 (very good)

8. Use the sharp knife the serve foods in hors d’oevre  size pieces so that everyone can taste and try everything.

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9. Enjoy the entertainment (don’t miss the Narrabundah College dancers, they were great).
10. Have a wander around the exhibits.

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Diwali in Canberra – another spring festival with food!

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Diwali, the festival of lights held each October/November is such a special time to be in India.
Lights are strung up across streets, traditional Indian sweets are everywhere, families visit and exchange gifts, new clothes are worn and there are plenty of fireworks!!
So it’s a great annual spring opportunity to join with the local Canberra Indian community to help capture a little of the excitement.
And what better way to share celebrations across cultures and engage in warm conversations, than through food.

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At the Albert Hall last Sunday there was a full program that included a cooking competition, a concert of dance, fashion, music and a quiz and some enticing food stalls.

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Samosas                                                                                  Marsala Dosa

Cooking competition

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Burfi                                                                                             Rasa malai

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Carrot Halwa                                                             Vegetarian biryani

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Double ka Meetha Dessert

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Beautifully dressed families enjoyed the fair like atmosphere and the joy of celebrating their shared heritage together. It’s a pleasure to be included and to experience a little of India right on our door step.

Food Stalls

 

Living Green Festival – another Canberra Spring Festival with food

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As part of last Sunday’s Living Green Festival’s  focus on sustainable living, a great range of food stalls and a lovely garden picnic area is also included.

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You can enjoy your delicious delights while listening to the live band in the heritage Albert Hall grounds and watching Canberra families having fun.

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A very pleasant way to spend a Sunday spring afternoon.

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Sweet Bones Bakery

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Funky Pies                                                                     Malaysian Chapter

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Sandeep’s Curries and Candles

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Veganarchy                                             Pupusas (Cornmeal with  cheese and fried beans)

 

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Addiction food