It was not our time time in Fairfield but the second. The first was for the opening of Fairfield Hotel and the Green Peppercorn. It was a really fun night out with @theheartoffood, @CorridorKitchen and supporting @ThangNgo as he was the compère of the evening. We did not get to see much of it but have heard a fair bit from Thang and a few friends that raved about a particular bakery at Fairfield.
I did forget to share the little piggy that was one of the highlights of the evening. And below is the beautiful chicken that I had too much off that evening. We were all very well fed. I shall have to make another trip back up to Green Peppercorn. If only more hotels in Australia had such good food like this!
I have a rather curious tummy if you have noticed by now. With @mamajeroxie and 2 Melbourne friends in town, I thought why not a mini eating adventure in Fairfield. Thang emailed a list over and off we went with no expectations and a bit of a gamble. Fairfield seems like a small sleepy town in the Western part of Sydney. There was hardly anyone on the streets when we got there and wonder if it is usually like this? Many of the residents here are born overseas and have a second language that they are probably more comfortable with than English. It seems like a place from the 70s that never moved forward.
The first stop we made was this little Filipino grocer, Sans Rival Filipino Dishes & Sari-Sari Store, that serves home cooked food in bain marie. We did feel a little out of place when we got here. It was a feeling of unfamiliarity that caused discomfort of some sort. What were we doing here? What should I do? And because it was my suggestion, I felt pressure to do something.
Since it was our first of few stops, we ordered a plate of rice with various dishes. From left to right – pork and blood jelly, chicken and pork adobo, mung beans with tripe and vegetables, spicy pork and potatoes. I think it was the awkwardness that distracted me from enjoying the food. I do like the pork and blood jelly and the mung beans. It did have a lot of flavour and will gladly eat it all. This is place to come if you want to try Filipino home cooking.
Sari Sari also means convenience store in the Philippines. This store is filled with a lot of old skool snacks and food that many do not remember or have seen before. Even if you do not intend to eat, check this place out for nostalgia and proper junk food! I bought some instant noodles and cheese whiz. Nasty but yummy!
Next stop is Al-Dhiaffah Al-Iraqi Restaurant. The place was rather empty except for a couple of tables occupied by locals. They were looking at us. A weird lot to them as well I think. The walls were lined with lots of old photos of Iraq. It reminds me of old restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore. A foreigner walks in. Locals stare and then goes back to eating. It was the feeling that I’ve got.
We ordered some salad, pickles and bread/ curry stew. When the curry arrived, the group of elderly men from the next table looked at us, smile and nodded. My personal wall fell and I smiled back This is a beautiful and hearty dish which is great for winter. The lamb shanks were super tender and the sauce was deep in cumquat essence. It was loaded with tomatoes, chickpeas and the soaked bread laid patiently below the shanks awaiting discovery! It is the first time that I had pickled olives. They are delish! We ordered the token salad to make ourselves feel better and free Iraqi bread is served with the meal. One for each person and it is made in house. We could smell the charcoal burning from the kitchen. If this was the only place that we were eating at, I would have finished one by myself. It was so delicious but I had to pace.
We also ordered the combination of kehab and chicken tika. The lighter coloured stick is chicken and then followed by beef and lamb. The lamb is the favourite of everyone. It is quite strong in flavour so not suitable for those that hate the full on lamb taste and smell. Take a chunk of Iraqi bread, place the meat, add the salad, pickles and hummus, wrap and eat! Delicious. You will also need to be a meat lover to enjoy the dishes here.
We ended the meal with black tea. We thought it will be wrong but it turned out to be quite weak and probably something from Lipton! I won’t recommend ordering it. The bill was ridiculously low and we were almost too full to walk to our next destination. I shall be back with a larger group and with a bigger appetite.
@Rippingyan had a couple of tweets from @phon about this particular Laos place in the area that serves food that is almost as good as mum’s cooking. Laos Village is located on the other side of the train station on Anzac Ave. It’s another run down looking restaurant which almost only locals will go to for an everyday type meal. This was the only table enjoying a Sunday family meal together when we walked in. I love watching these kids digging into ox tongue, larb, chicken feet and many more dishes. It is like normal and that is how it should be.
On the way to Laos Village, we set @mamajeroxie a challenge – To eat balut. Was she up for the challenge and how did she handle it? Watch this video to find out and I have to apologise about my giggling. It was hard not to!
Please look away now if balut is just not your thing. I don’t want you to gross out.And for those that are interested, I have another balut story here. I miss those days of fun with fellow bloggers in Melbourne.
The rest of us had more normal food. Or maybe not. We ordered a plate of ox tongue. I love how it is prepared. It just sliced in horizontal stripes, pan fried and served with a sweet, sour and chilli sauce. It is not dry but is a little chewy which I did not finda deterrent or made this dish undesirable. As @mamajeroxie said, this makes really good beer food. I agree!
@phon also recommended the beef larb. The initial tasting was a little meh. But once we squeezed the lemon, mix it up with the sauce below and allow it to sit for a little, it tasted great. I like it anyway. Mister was a little skeptical about how it tasted and not a fan. I was quite happy to finish the whole thing but unsure what the consequence may be. I will like to come back here for a proper meal as well as to check out the other Laos place just next door. The other dishes to order when you come here are the fried quail, chicken feet salad, pork sausages and paw paw salad.
On the way back to the car, we stopped by Aladin Sweets which I took away some super sweet desserts. This sweet shop is not big but it does have a nice selection of sweet goodies. I took away 6 pieces for $5! O M G!
We are almost there! I just had to take a shot of Afghan & Arab Bakery shop. Persian, Afghan, Turkish and Iraqi flatbreads are made in its specially built clay oven. This place has been around for over 10 years as one local mentioned to me. Thanks for the action shot, Mr Bread Man! I shall be back Fairfield. There is a lot more to explore and learn.
Places we visited in Fairfield
Sans Rival Filipino Dishes & Sari-Sari Store
The Crescent where the train station is and near a Commonwealth ATM machine
Aldhiaffah Al-Iraqi Restaurant
13 The Crescent, Fairfield, Sydney Tel: +61 (02) 9755 0870
3 Anzac Ave Fairfield NSW 2165 (02) 9728 7136
U2/ 17 Ware St, Fairfield NSW 2165, Australia (02) 9724 7435
Afghan & Arab Bakery
2/13 Nelson St Fairfield NSW 2165 (02) 9728 1832