Experience Sydney’s best multicultural cuisine
From Hungarian to Taiwanese, Ethiopian to Chilean, Sydney’s multicultural food scene is as diverse as it is delicious.
It doesn’t matter where you wander in Sydney, the city’s many ethnic centres are a constant reminder of just how diverse it is. In fact, Sydney is one of the most multicultural destinations in the world, with more than a third of residents born overseas.
The result is a cultural melting-pot, with food from all over the planet being prepared in kitchens around town – companies like Taste Food Tours and Gourmet Safaris will show you the tastiest examples.
Whatever corner of the culinary globe you’re keenest to try, you’ll find a Sydney dining room or food stall offering exactly what you want.
Who doesn’t love the aroma of freshly baked bagels? It never fades at Bondi’s Lox in a Box, where you can bite into a Classic Lox Bagel with a schmear, or add fancy toppings with deli goods to take away.
The Jewish community swear by nearby Lox Stock & Barrel, where fresh-daily bagels call, alongside challah and bulging Reuben sandwiches. Bondi and neighbouring Randwick also deliver Hungarian delights at Corner 75 and 21 Espresso, each known for matzo dumpling soup, goulash and schnitzel.
In the southern suburb of Riverwood, Taste of Poland Deli transports you to Eastern Europe via mountains of specialty breads and traditional Polish cakes (think poppyseed strudel). Plus, some imported vodka for good measure.
Then venture to the Mediterranean in Earlwood, home to a Greek restaurant on almost every corner. Nieo's Grille pairs mezze with smoky meats and house-made breads, plus desserts dripping in honey and pistachios. Gyradiko Kitchen, meanwhile, is dedicated to comfort food: thick-as-your-arm pita wraps and gyros to relieve that Sunday hangover. Earlwood is also the go-to for Greek beverages – visit Miloway Wines for imported ouzo and other specialty drops.
Little Italy occupies portions of the inner-west suburbs of Leichhardt, Haberfield and Five Dock. Where would a culinary tour of this country be without tiramisu and cannoli? Get both, and strong coffee, at Locantro Bakery. Sustain your sugar high at Cremeria Giuseppina , where gelato burgers are on the menu. Yes, you read that correctly.
Nearby, Bar Sport is an institution, established in 1959 and gloriously old-school as ever. The soccer is always on, so order a latte, toasted salami and provolone brioche and enjoy a match. Meals at Bar Italia are more substantial, but no less traditional – countless pizzas you’ve never heard of, and a roster of more than 20 pastas.
The Eight is legendary for its lunchtime yum cha, with steamer-laden trollies of xiaolongbao and plump pork buns wheeled around diners – wear elastic-waisted pants. It’s a similar affair at East Ocean, whose specialty is just-caught seafood, whether crabs smothered in fragrant sauces or delicate steamed pipis.
Down the road, Spicy Joint earns its name, dishing up tongue-numbing Sichuan dishes: think catfish poached in a chili broth, or crispy chicken dusted in, you guessed it, spice – and plenty of it.
Head north for more regional Chinese in Chatswood, try Haidilao for their steaming hot pot. This eclectic suburb’s streets are also lined with eateries from the rest of Asia. Like Taiwanese at Din Tai Fung, a global chain where chefs in neat white uniforms work at whiplash speed folding dumplings in an open kitchen. Malaysian cuisine at Mamak, specialising in crisp roti – plain, or with egg and lashings of onion. Follow your nose to Manpuku for the best ramen this side of Japan, with dozens of broths and toppings to accompany your chewy noodles.
Vietnamese is the largest ethnic group in Cabramatta, so you know the pho here is world-class. Browse the Vietnamese market for hard-to-find veggies and herbs, then sit down to an enormous bowl of the aromatic rice-noodle soup at Pho Tau Bay. Tan Viet Noodle House also ladles up broth-drenched noodles, plus signature goat curry and crispy chicken. Then follow the queue outside Vinata’s Hot Bread, where the banh mi menu is simple, but the sandwich results are phenomenal.
Crispy chicken is also a menu favourite among Strathfield’s Korean community, as well as bibimbap and kimchi pancakes, which do brisk trade at Hansang. Seoul BBQ sizzles – literally – with platter-laden tables of piping hot meat and seafood, cooking while you watch.
Despite its name, Radio Cairo in Cremorne ushers you across the whole African continent, and even beyond, through plates like South African lamb sosaties and chicken wings with African peach sauce.
The restaurant scene in Glebe is eclectic to say the least. Enter Jambo Jambo Africa, where Ethiopian dishes like injera (hand-held breads with curries) and wot (beef stews) are accompanied by vibrant African artefacts and music. A similar scene awaits at Gursha Ethiopian in Blacktown – from strong coffee to stews to stellar vegan and vegetarian offerings, it offers a tasty introduction to this North African country.
South American and Caribbean
The fire is always burning in Surry Hills’ achingly cool Argentinian restaurant Porteno, with smoke from grilling meats prefacing what will soon be delivered to your table by tattooed waiters. It’s ideally paired with a good malbec from this South American country.
Surry Hills is also your passport to Jamaican jerk chicken, blackened fish and knock-your-socks-off rum cocktails, all perfected at Rosie Campbell’s.
It’s wise to skip breakfast before visiting Pochito, Mascot’s answer to a Chilean sandwich bar. Empanadas and buns sold here are enormous, stuffed with everything from chilli prawns to roast pork. The only other source for these beauties in Sydney is at Fairfield’s La Paula Continental Cakes. In the west, it’s a Chilean institution. When you’ve had your fill of savoury dishes, be sure to order something sweet, ideally drizzled with dulce de leche.
Longing for your mug of hot chocolate with cheese? Colombians who love this delicacy regularly make a beeline to Woolloomooloo’s Juan Montagu. Another house favourite is the fried prawns in coconut and tomato sauce, a family recipe that will leave you wanting to know more about this under-the-radar cuisine.
Take our advice and venture beyond our Aussie classics – the whole world awaits your culinary visit, right here in Sydney.