The Bankstown social event of the year, especially if you’re a foodie, Bankstown Bites was amazing. I’m glad we did as much walking as we did, we ate so much food, but I must say, I enjoyed every morsel, even if Dad didn’t. It was nice to spend the day out with Dad where we weren’t doing the shopping or other chores that we need to do, we could just relax and enjoy hanging out. Allan and Julie were there too, as well as some of their friends that live locally so it was a good day out for all.
Dad and I started on the Black Tour, which saw us go to the Star Buffet at Bankstown RSL where we had a simple antipasto platter, pumpkin, feta and couscous salad, pasta salad and some sushi. The main was a buffet of Mongolian Beef, fried rice, tempura vegetables, deep-fried fish, steamed pork bun, and seafood dumplings. I really enjoyed the beef, but the rice wasn’t great. And I’ve never had tempura pumpkin before! We had a lovely blueberry cheesecake for dessert, as well as a selection of little squares of Mud Cake, Passionfruit cheesecake, rosewater sponge and this strange green one that neither of us liked.
From there we went to Bankstown Cellars, a nice little bottle shop that I have been to on a few occasions, especially when looking for something out of the ordinary. We had a Greek liquor, one called Gold and one called Rose, and a nice smooth Bourbon. I should have written the names of these down properly, but after four shots at about 11:30am, I thought to myself “I’ll remember these…” They were all nice, but I had to laugh that Dad and I were the only ones “throwing them down”. We didn’t hang around there too long, as I wanted to get us booked into a tour at 12:30, so we had to head back to the starting point. We had walked from one side of Bankstown Plaza to the other, so we had to go back over the station and down to “Chinatown”.
Next, we went on the Pink Tour, which started at Izvor Deli in the old Compass Centre, so we had to go back up and over the station again. Dad was beginning to grumble about the incline, but I told him to think himself lucky that he is able to do all of this this year. At the Deli, we had their specialty, homemade Macedonian Sausage. It was smoky and gently spiced pork and I quite liked it. She served it lightly pan fried so I thought it would be nice chopped through tomato and onion on toast, or maybe with some mushrooms on toast. We also had some soy cheese, which was really good and showed not all soy products suck. I’ve had this before so I was happy to nibble a few cubes again. The other tasty morsel was a capsicum and eggplant relish on Italian bread. I was a little skeptical as I’m not the hugest fan of eggplant, but this was lovely so I went back for seconds and thirds.
From there we went to Valley View Continental Groceries, which was just awesome. The smell of the place as you walk in took me to a faraway market place, with the large open barrels of dried herbs and spices. We had some corn on the cob, served on a skewer, some leb bread and homemade hommus, and these really tasty marinated chicken wings. They served chai tea after the food sampling and it was the best chai I’ve ever had. I bought some of this (and some for Dad), and I also got a small bag of Italian Herbs that were a lot cheaper than the supermarket and they were a nicer blend. Definitely be going back here, best way to get herbs and spices.
After Valley View, it was on to Hai Yen Noodle House, where we had two types of barbecue pork, barbecue chicken and garlic fried rice. I was expecting noodles! Again, wasn’t too impressed with the rice, but I did like the red pork. Wasn’t overly happy with the other pork, as the bone was left in and there were little shards of bone and I didn’t like this at all. The chicken kind of made up for it, would have liked more of it instead of the bony pork.
To finish the day, we went on the Blue Tour, so again we walked up and over the station, where we stopped on our way up the hill at Nam Fong Hot Bread, to have pork rolls, barbecue pork rolls, barbecue chicken rolls, spring rolls, and the Vietnamese equivalent of a sausage roll (I couldn’t hear what they were called over all the noise on the street). I really enjoyed the chicken roll. I normally wouldn’t have a roll from “one of those places”, but it was really good and very different from every other chicken roll I have ever had. Would definitely like to go back for the same again.
Over the hill and around the corner found us at Bankstown Hotel, Oscars. They are launching a new menu and we got to sample it all. We enjoyed chicken quesadillas, pork ribs with salad and lamb souvlaki. All of it was good, and I think their new menu will be a hit with the locals. I like finger-type-food at a pub, and it was a nice, clean pub. Would have liked to have been served matching drinks but wasn’t to be. We did get soft drink and water though, which was good because no one else really served drinks. I’m certainly glad I took my water bottle.
Last stop was Nhu Y Juice Bar, back down in the chinatown section of the plaza. They were offering a fruit smoothie, which was mainly melons, an avocado smoothie or a sweet juice. The sweet juice was a wonderful colourful concoction with jellies, beans and all sorts of things in there. I wasn’t brave enough for one of these, so I settled on an Avocado smoothie, which had sugarcane juice in it. It was really nice, but I couldn’t finish it as I was so stuffed from all the food we’d eaten today.
All in all, it was an awesome day and I look forward to going along again next year. Not sure if Dad will go, he’s a bit fussier about where he eats than I am. I’ll try and get into tours with Allan and Julie as they are definitely more adventurous in the culinary department. They got to see the Adam Liaw cooking demonstration, and Julie did the “fan thing” and had a photo taken with him. They said it was really good, and they got some good advice and tips from the MasterChef winner.