because I can't cook
Throughout March, I managed to attend a few splendid events at places that celebrated the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2012:
- Greenhouse by “a world without waste is not that hard” Joost – an eco-friendly, waste-free concept restaurant that lasted for about a month on the banks of Yarra. Everything was ‘green’; from the food through to the decorations and architecture. A truly unique feasting experience.
- Veludo in St Kilda held a ‘Home Grown’ event hosted by the St Kilda Brew founders where we enjoyed 2 meal courses paired with, of course, some icy cold St Kilda Brew!
- The nostalgic 'Jazz Dinner Dance' held by Limericks Arms Hotel in South Melbourne where we stepped back 60 years to a time when going out for dinner meant something really special. The evening was delightful indeed where we (ate, drunk, and) danced the night away to elegant jazz.
- And also the InterContinental Melbourne the Rialto for their Rooftop Honey Afternoon Tea where we enjoyed a fine afternoon tea incorporating honey from the hotel’s rooftop beehives and a selection of pastries with honey-inspired champagne on the side.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
For the closing weekend, on the Sunday there were 2 festivals in the Melbourne city; the World Street Food festival at the Queen Victoria Market and the Thai Culture & Food festival at Federation Square.
The amazing World Street Food Festival gave me a rare chance to experience an express international culinary journey. For half a day, the dreary parking lot at the QV Market was turned into a collection of food stands offering cuisines from various parts of the world. Playing in the background was international music performed live by local bands, making the vibe very merry and… appetizing!
I tried a few yummy bits and bobs from numerous stands; some Las Penas’ empenadas, chicken satay from Bamboo the Indonesian stand, (free-range) chicken dim sim from Taste of the Orient the Chinese stand, and some nice fresh fruit juice from… well, the juice stand. Sadly the first half of my dessert was disappointing thanks to the soggy, limp lemon-and-sugar crepe by the French stand that tasted like flour and sweat (plus the sight of dirty, muddy cooking utensils and food storage did not help - ick), but I managed to recover my tastebuds with toffee fruits; pieces of strawberries, pineapple, grapes covered in sugary toffee on a stick – yum!
For those who were not too faint-hearted (unlike me), available were some octopus dumplings and pork crackle (not that I did not like pork crackle, I did, but not when a big pig head was prominently displayed!).
And of course there was the lively twist potato stand that seemed to originate from many countries as they always had presence in food festivals be it Greek, Thai, or Chinese, except this time, their stand said they originated from Korea!
For some extra global culinary experience, we made our way to Federation Square to find the Thai Culture and Food festival.
Overall it was pretty much similar to the previous year’s celebration. The cultural part was pretty lovely including an array of dance performances, Muay Thai, silk/handicraft and massage stalls, and Buddhist ceremony at the Thai pagoda.
But downstairs on the river terrace was very crowded; Singha as usual sponsored live band performances and just like last year, it was so congested that it was almost impossible to have a browse through the food stalls around the beer garden area. With the event attracting over 64,000 visitors, they really should have made the beer garden smaller or found a bigger venue/area for it. Nevertheless, Thai cuisine had always been delightful that it was (sort of) worth the annoyance!