Celebrating the multicultural aspects of Australia
Following on from yesterday’s uplifting reblog about a Muslim woman who was shown much kindness by a stranger, I’m pleased to share another good-news story. This one is about this weekend’s 21st annual Multicultural Festival in Canberra.
We’ve seen this festival grow and grow since it’s first outing in 1996, and have watched scores of cultural performances, learned about differing cultures, and eaten all sorts of interesting and tasty cuisines.
Usually we try to attend as a group so we can buy plate after plate of food to sample and share—it’s the best way to try up to 10 different dishes—but today it was just Poor John and me.
We set out early (11am) to be sure to get a parking place. I have a secret selection of spots that are hidden away and free of charge on weekends, and sure enough there was one waiting for us. No, don’t expect me to tell you where it is, but it is on the edge of downtown and only two streets away from the start of the festival action.
We started with a shared plate of Iranian food—saffron rice with chunks of chicken and lamb kebab pieces. Oh my, these were so perfectly seasoned that I could have eaten another plate on the spot, but we thought we had to spread around our custom and challenge our taste buds.
As we enjoyed our Iranian food, another couple sat down next to us and we were immediately tempted by their plate of Czech potato pancake, which looked like a giant hash brown. With all it’s buttery goodness, it was as good as it looked. The server kindly cut our share in half.
Before indulging in yet another course, we figured it was time to explore the stalls and check out some performances. There were about a dozen stages with activities taking place on about half of them. We saw acts (musicians, dancers and/or singers) from Tonga, China, Poland, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia and Indonesia.
We also visited embassy and country-info stalls for the USA (to sample homemade lemonade), Zambia, Palestine, Jordan, China, Ethiopia (for a sip of their local coffee) and Egypt, which just happens to be where Poor John and I met all those years ago.
Couldn’t resist having our picture taken at the Filipino stall. If we’re lucky, we might win the trip to the Philippines they are giving away. Fingers crossed.
Our last stop was at the main Tibetan food stall. We visited them on our way in, only to learn that the steamed momos (their delicious vegetarian and/or meat dumplings) wouldn’t be ready for quite some time.
We first had momos in Tibet in 2011 and then again in the north of India in 2013 (in Mussoorie). We’ve had them a few times since, but the Tibetan and Mussoorie ones were the best. Today’s were pretty darn good too. I could have gone for a second plate, but just didn’t have room. The chilli–soy sauce was a perfect addition.
Planning to revisit the festival tomorrow. Just have to wait until I feel hungry again. I’m thinking I need a German sausage, a Thai or Indian curry, and maybe a South American empanada.
P.S. Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the actual food on plates. Too keen to eat. Maybe tomorrow.