A tantalising feast for your tastebuds that runs from March 18 to April 24 this year , Eat Drink Perth is a celebration of Perth’s ever burgeoning food scene, with something to suit every age and taste. In its 11th year now, Eat Drink Perth events include educational and inspiring cooking classes, adventurous food tours on foot, gorgeous long table dinners and the centrepiece was the Night Noodle Markets which landed in the Perth Cultural Centre for the first time from 18 – 29 March.
It was a pretty rocking scene, complete with its own sea-container/wine-bar hosted by Yalumba, beer garden and more Asian hawker market type food than you could poke a stick out (though a surprising lack of actual noodles). I visited a couple of times on the way home from work, sneaking in as the gates opened at 5 so as to avoid the queue’s that seemed to form pretty quickly as the sun made its way over the horizon.
The first night I headed straight over to the Lucky Chan’s stall to try some of the ramen that has been so long awaited by the people of Perth. Poached chicken, soy egg, pickled shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots filled up the bowl, and the poached chicken was cooked to perfection and wanted for nothing. The soy egg was different to anything I had ever had before, but I enjoyed the salty hit as I found the broth itself a bit mild. I have to admit I am a bit of a ramen novice and I understand that there is a lot of different types, so maybe I just haven’t hit my ramen stride yet. Watch this space!
I also had mantou pork buns from Low Key Chow House, because they are always ace (seriously, go check them out if you haven’t before) and braved the queue at Hoy Pinoy, only to find out that that they were all out of pork belly skewers (sob!) but tried the chicken skewers and enjoyed them all the same. There was also some freakin’ delicious waffles on a stick floating around – not very traditional Asian hawkers market fare, but amazing nonetheless!
On 25 of March I went along to the Food for Thought cooking class that was being run by OzHarvest, a food rescue organization that has long been an institution on the east coast, and has recently spread its wings and arrived in Perth. Founded by Ronni Kahn, probably one of the most inspirational people I have ever heard speak, OzHarvest takes imperfect food that customers at grocery stores cast aside for something more aesthetically pleasing, and with a bit of love creates meals for those who experience food insecurity (those that, instead of wondering where they will eat out next, wonder where their next meal will come from full stop). For every dollar donated to OzHarvest, they are able to provide 2 meals for people in need – as Ronni said, where else will you get such a return on investment?
Turning up at about 5, we were treated to some yummy canapés, indulged in some mid week wine, and split up into different tables to each create a meal to be transported over to St Bartholomew’s house to feed people in need.
Guided by a volunteer chef, a quirky American named Cyndi who used to be the chef for the US consulate in Perth and now volunteers with OzHarvest and Ronald MacDonald house, our table created beef kofta with apple cous cous. In the true ethos of waste not want not, we gathered up all the food scraps for OzHarvest to use at a later date for stock. Working together it all got done pretty quickly, and before I knew it we were packaging the food up and writing messages on the boxes (including a few great puns) and all feeling pretty happy with what we had done for the evening.
Next on the list for my Eat Drink Perth adventure was the hyped-up food truck rumble. Organised by Ai-Ling who writes a really cool food blog called Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse, its basically 30 different food trucks converging on the cultural centre for 9 completely out of control hours. We rocked up at about 2.30, and the place was absolutely pumping – a breakdancing competition was going down at the bottom of the stairs, and food trucks as far as the eye could see had smiling faces behind them handing out food left, right and centre. There was some pretty big queues which were the source of some contention, but I had expected it when I headed down which meant I wasn’t too bothered by them. I have to say, the thing I was most impressed by was the manner in which the staff in the food trucks conducted themselves – it must have been a long, hot day in those trucks and I thought the people I interacted with were handling it really well.
We tried the Brazilian Stew from Comida du Sol which had (are you ready for it) smoked speck bacon, pork loin, smoked beef ribs, carne seca (dried beef), chorizo, garlic sausage, osso bucco and trotters in the stew, and also came with plantain (a small banana which is eaten once cooked), garlic kale, tomato sala, farofa (a kind of floury/buttery mixture that accompanied the plantains), black beans and seasoned rice – what a truck load of elements! While we were there we also grabbed two Coxinha, a tasty ball of shredded chicken with paprika, covered in dough and deep fried. It was all sorts of glorious, and I regretted not getting two more of them at the time.
And that was that for me, as far as Eat Drink Perth went! I would have loved to go to a few more events, particularly Breastfed at The Standard, The Creatives Long Table Dinner and the Fervor and Co Long Table Dinner. Unfortunately, my bank account dictated that it wasn’t to be this year, and I will look forward to getting along to a few more events next year. But it will still a pretty fun time exploring the events that catered to my budget!