Chinese New Year ... Xiao long bao are on the menu at Din Tai Fung as part of Lunar Feasts. Photo: Marco Del Grande
Lend a hand in the summer garden
It's becoming easier for city-dwellers to get in touch with their inner Don Burke with the rise in popularity of balcony gardens and communal veggie patches. If you don't have access to either, the City of Sydney summer garden at Sydney Park, St Peters (near the brick kilns) could be your chance to flex your green thumb. The recently opened garden will host an array of unusual crops. If you sign up as a volunteer, you can get your hands dirty weeding and watering. The council will also be holding workshops on Saturdays with activities such as scarecrow building and meet-and-greets with a beekeeper. A big harvest celebration is planned on the garden's last weekend (it closes on March 24).
Patriotic sausages for Australia Day
You can enjoy the taste of lamingtons for lunch and dessert on Australia Day, courtesy of butcher Tender Value Meats. For the past five years owner Adam Stratton has released a speciality range of snags for Australia Day. The biggest seller at its Brookvale and Hornsby stores: the 'beef, vegemite and cheese'. Last year they sold 500 kilograms of it in the week preceding January 26. Other varieties include the 'LAMBington,' with lamb, chocolate and coconut and the 'burger with the lot', which was the winner of a Facebook competition to come up with the best Australian flavour.
Or a burger...
The Grill'd burger chain is also getting patriotic, with the release of its 'Coat of Arms' burger. The 100 per cent kangaroo and emu pattie, accompanied by Meredith Dairy cheese, bush tomato relish and native thyme mayo, is on sale until January 31.
Details: From Grill'd outlets around the country, $14.50 ($15.50 in WA), grilld.com.au.
Chinese New Year
Lunar Feasts is a recent addition to the Sydney food calendar. Part of the City of Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival, Lunar Feasts offers set-price meals at some of the city's favourite Asian restaurants during February. Highlights include fresh spring rolls and snapper curry at Chat Thai for $20 per person, a sample menu at Din Tai Fung, including xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and wontons, for $20 per person, and the choice of two set menus, including wine, at Fat Noodle for $20 or $30 per person.
Food trucks win award
Sydney's food trucks have been recognised with the FBi Radio Remix the City gong for creative use of public space at the station's annual Sydney Music, Arts and Culture (SMAC) awards. The category celebrates "an event, person or team who've creatively used, created or recreated a physical space, location or landmark in this city, making it a creative destination". The first food truck hit the road in May last year. Now there are a total of eight, popping up in parks, squares and at big events just as you start to get hungry.
“It's just another expression of the embracing the Sydney scene has shown towards us," Stephanie Raco, co-owner of Mexican van Cantina Mobil said.
"They're loving it, we're loving the enthusiasm, and it was just a really great nod."
For the diary ...
The Island Bar at Cockatoo Island is getting a temporary makeover and will emerge looking much like New Orleans's famous Bourbon Street. For a weekend in February, bourbon and rum will be flowing, you can feast on Southern specialties like Creole pizza, spicy Cajun chicken strips and banana fritters for dessert. There’ll be blues and jazz performances and even a marching band.
Details: February 15 -17, theislandbar.com.au
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