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Auburn food tour
Auburn food tour

Auburn food tour

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Auburn is a melting-pot suburb, a blend of Turkish, Afghani, Bosnians, Somalians and Vietnamese. It has just one pub but lots and lots of cafes, clothing shops, barbers and hairdressers. As you leave the M4 Motorway you will see signs in Arabic and the stunning Gallipoli Mosque with its silver minaret. The mosque took 13 years to complete and acknowledges a common legacy between Australian and Turkish cultures. Its marble, stone, carpet and 25 chandeliers all came from Istanbul.

Walking along Auburn streets, you'll hear different languages and see women dressed in traditional hijab.

Gourmet Safaris is a company which takes group food tours. They have 30 tours to distinct Sydney "villages" — Haberfield for the Italian experience, Punchbowl for Lebanese, Marrickville for Greek, Cabramatta for Vietnamese and of course, Auburn for the Turkish experience.

First stop in the five-hour Auburn tour is Mado Café, a beautiful Aladdin's-cave-like place. Women beautifully dressed in hijab serve coffee in small glasses on brass trays. There is also ice-cream made from the root of a wild orchid which grows in the Turkish mountains. It's carved in the same way doner kebab is carved. It's eaten with a knife and fork and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

The owners have a display of very attractive Turkish antiques — a sultan's headdress, slippers with curled toes, rugs, musical instruments, brass samovars and even bone finger protectors which were worn to scythe wheat and grain.

Your guide introduces the Turkish culture and cuisine and talks about important traditions. One is that a girl cannot be considered eligible for marriage until she can make good coffee.

Turkish Delight, a business owned by Baha Pektuzun, was started in 1970 when the family arrived in Australia. What began as a small amount of the sweet being made on a home stovetop has grown into a big, sparkling business. They churn out all the traditional flavours — rose, vanilla, pistachio and orange — and are trying others for the Australian market.

Arzum Market has everything and more for those wanting to prepare authentic cuisine — nuts, thick yoghurt, sublime fig jam, honey with nuts, little special sweets called loukum which are served with apple tea. There are strings of dried okra, eggplant and capsicum and a totally addictive Turkish fairy floss which comes in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours. "Turkish Viagra" is a mix of grape paste, walnuts and sugar and gives a huge sugar hit.


Auburn is a western suburb of Sydney


Gourmet Safari's Turkish tours start at $82 per person and run every two months. They also have tours around Sydney, Australia and internationally.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Gourmet Safaris
PO Box 326
Mosman 2088
Ph/Fax: (02) 9960 5675
Mobile: 0410 508 993

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