Last weekend we had the annual multicultural festival in Canberra. I haven’t been for a number of years but was in the right part of town on Saturday morning and thought it would be a good opportunity to get some inspiration for my cooking.
The festival isn’t just about food, they also have stalls to promote countries and their culture and there are performances from around the world.
My focus was on the food. Not sure what I expected but my take homemessage from the festival was that everyone in the world is eating a lot of food that is either grilled meat or is deep fried goodness such as spring rolls, samosas and other small tasty bite sized snacks.This impression is partly because the food that was in bain-maries was quite hard to see. The glass in front of the food didn’t help because it was a very sunny day (hello another day of temperatures in the high 30s) and so the reflection on the glass was very bright.
However, I did see some very tasty food and as you can see from the photos there were a lot of different cuisines on offer.
The sign over these big paella pans said spanthai. At first I thought it was going to be a paella with thai flavourings – which I really like the sound of. But I think it was just a bizarre stall making a mix of Spanish and Thai Foods. However, it may have been my one inspiration of the day, to try and make a risotto type dish with some thai flavours. I am sure someone has already done this so if you know of any good recipes, please let me know in the comments.
They also had chips on a stick. I couldn’t get a good picture of the chips on a stick without stalking some small child and possibly getting myself arrested but they were a bit like curly fries on a skewer and looked like a great concept.
The main problem for me was the number of people. One of the reasons I hadn’t been in quite a while is the crowds. I am finding that as I get older I am getting less and less tolerant of being jostled and having to struggle through to see what is on offer and the multicultural festival was no exception. The temperature also didn’t help. I tend to get tetchy if it is too hot – which it was. The space the festival is held in is, I think, one of the main problems. There were too many people in a small space. I have managed to survive other food festivals with much less angst and when I look back on them I think it was because people had more room to move.
I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t more tasting plate options rather than main meals. Canberra used to have a food and wine frolic but, as suggested by the name frolic, things got a bit rowdy and it has now been cancelled. It probably was past its used by date but it was in a much better area, I seem to remember more small tasting options and I don’t remember it being such a struggle to see what was on offer. I could be wearing rose tinted glasses and a poor memory but at the multicultural festival I would have liked a few more tasting options, that I would have happily paid for.
Now for my confession. The crowds and heat were too much for me for actually tasting so I wandered in to the nearby shopping centre and bought myself a burrito and sat in the lovely air-conditioned calmness.