Where to try authentic international food in Western Sydney
Western Sydney is the place where your tastebuds can savour the world’s cuisines.
Who needs a passport when an Opal card can transport you gastronomically to delicious faraway lands? Dive into the extraordinary culinary delights offered in Western Sydney’s thriving multicultural neighbourhoods. We suggest arriving with an empty stomach – and carrying an empty bag or two to fill with your new favourite grocery items.
How to get there: Cabramatta is serviced by the T2, T3 and T5 train lines. From Central Station, the trip takes just under an hour.
In Cabramatta, home to one of Australia’s largest Vietnamese communities, join the fast-moving queue for a booth at the original Tan Viet Noodle House outpost. Inside the Chinese-Vietnamese eatery, there’s a happy buzz from customers filling up on the signature dish, crispy skin chicken noodle soup. Pick your noodle (egg, rice or tapioca) and then choose if it’s to arrive dry or lazing in a bowl of clear soup. The golden-hued roasted maryland chicken pieces are accompanied by sprouts, fresh herbs and crisp lettuce. If you’re in the mood for some more meaty goodness, try the goat curry or spicy beef stew.
An Nhien is the place to go for tasty vegetarian and vegan options that have their origins in Hue, Vietnam. Try the Peking “duck” wraps, Vietnamese pancakes, lemongrass soy nuggets, grilled tofu and seaweed cutlets or clay-pot eggplants – along with a glass of fresh passionfruit lemonade.
For haute seafood, head to Iron Chef Chinese Seafood where you can dive into the drama of the seafood tom yum goong served within a hollow pumpkin or the wok-fried sea cucumber with XO sauce.
How to get there: Merrylands is serviced by the T2 and T5 train lines. From Central Station, the trip takes about 40min.
Where to start in Merrylands, a hub of Middle Eastern deliciousness? How about at Al Shami, a Syrian restaurant that could have been lifted straight from an alleyway in Damascus? It will redefine your concept of excellent falafel (the offerings here are shaped like donuts to maximise the crunch factor). For brunch, sit by the indoor water fountain and dip into a generous bowl of fatteh (fried pita and chickpea casserole) before finishing with slightly stretchy Arabic ice cream.
Want a mouth-watering takeaway instead of dining in? Cross over the train line to the buzzy western side and place your order at Kebab Al-Hojat, where they brine chicken pieces in onion juice and turmeric before grilling the skewered meat and encasing the smoky results in fluffy flatbread.
Sit down at Avasana Afghan Street Food for spicy lamb-mince kebabs and shor nakhud (tangy chickpea and potato salad), washed down with chai or saffron and ginger tea. On the same block is Asal Sweet, a bakery with display cases devoted separately to cream pastries and dry sweets such as coconut cookies. Make like an Iranian and order your cookies by the kilo.
How to get there: Fairfield is serviced by the T2 and T5 train lines. From Central Station, the trip takes about 45min.
Travel to Europe and South America simply by visiting Fairfield, two train stops away from Merrylands. Those with a craving for carbs should head straight to Barbara Street for La Paula – a Chilean cafe and bakery that specialises in empanadas, lomito completo (meat sandwiches), pimped-up hotdogs, biscuits stuck together with dulce de leche (caramel) and tres leche – a delicious three-milk cake soaked in condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream.
On The Horsley Drive in nearby Smithfield you’ll find My Yerba Mate World, which specialises not only in the namesake herbal tea (mate is pronounced mar-tay) and its traditional drinking implements but bizcochos (pastries, cake and biscuits). Smithfield is also home to an outlet of cult Lebanese-style charcoal chicken shop El Jannah.
On Fairfield’s The Crescent, Hot Burek specialises in the namesake flaky, filled pastries that originated in Central Asia before spreading to other regions. Fairfield institution Frank’s Lebanese Restaurant serves up a bargain spread that can include hommus, fattouch, shawarma and stuffed kibbeh.
How to get there: Auburn, just west of Sydney Olympic Park, is serviced by the T1 and T2 train lines. From Central Station, the trip takes about 30min.
Thanks in part to the beacon of the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque, frequented by Turkish-Australian and other Muslim worshippers, this vibrant suburb is home to a wide range of Middle Eastern eateries. For next-level kebabs, head to New Star Kebab Family Restaurant. Meat skewers are barbecued over a charcoal grill that includes coconut shell for extra flavour.
Menzil Turkish Bakery is all about the simit (a sesame-seed-crusted bagel) but you can also buy village-style bazlama flatbread and boxes of cookies and baklava. For an exotic falooda (a colourful dessert drink layered with vermicelli, basil seeds, jelly, rose syrup, milk, ice cream and nuts), try Auburn Fresh Juice Centre. The Willy Wonka-esque establishment also dishes out scoops of rose and saffron ice cream and unusual shakes (think carrot and fig flavours). Those after a savoury snack can slurp chicken and corn soup with eggs.
For Afghan delights such as buranee-badenjan (sautéed eggplant with tomato, yoghurt and mint) and lamb buried within a mound of jewelled rice, Khaybar is your best bet.
How to get there: Parramatta is serviced by the T1, T2, T5 and Blue Mountains train lines. From Central Station, the trip takes around 25min. You can also catch a river ferry from Circular Quay.
Parramatta, the business heart of Western Sydney, is home to a huge range of cuisines. Start with a stroll along Church Street, strung with fairy lights and known as Parramatta’s eat street, before exploring the new dining precinct of Parramatta Square, near the train station.
Between the two is the ever-popular Temasek, famous for Singaporean-Malay dishes such as Singapore chilli crab, nasi goreng, nasi lemak, laksa, beef rendang, king prawn hae mee and Hainanese chicken rice. No-frills institution Pho Pasteur is on Church Street south of the train line. Its speciality is a fragrant bowl of beefy soup (containing rare beef, brisket, meatballs, tendon and tripe). Non-carnivores can order the bun bo hue chay (vegetarian spicy noodle soup) that’s brimming with mushrooms and fresh veggies.
A Parramatta Square highlight is LilyMu – a geographic departure from the team behind Lebanese-focused Nour in Surry Hills. The Chinese/South East Asian menu includes kimchi fried rice, Clarence River king prawn red curry, wagyu beef skewers, and coconut and pineapple sorbet.