(as heard on FBI Radio)
Food parallels through different cultures is something of interest to me. Back in July, Sweetie, Shag and I talked about hotpot dishes from around the world on The Friday Delicious on FBI and this week (drum roll please)...it's meat on sticks.
Popular misconceptions may have you thinking about Dagwood Dogs, and other processed carni food (small hands, smell like cabbage), but the concept of eating meat cooked on sticks is downright primal and many cultures have their own versions.
The Brazilian churrasco is said to originate in Rio Grande do Sul, over 400 years ago, while the Portugese in Madeira have their espetadas, and the Greeks have Socrates munching on souvlaki, but where can you sample the best 'meat on stick' food in Sydney?
1. Mamak - Satay
15 Goulburn St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone (02) 9211 1668
Fax (02) 9211 1669
There are certain foods that make you nostalgic about your childhood. It might be devon sandwiches, your nan's lamb roast but for me it’s the Singaporean and Malaysian food my mum used to cook, especially when the relos would come over. This is the kind of place that will have Malaysian and Singaporean ex-pats having flashbacks about their local hawker centre eating satay in 40-degree weather.
These aren't the tough, charred kind you might at a backyard barbecue, but exceptionally tender, marinated chicken or beef, expertly grilled for maximum smoky flavour. Douse generously with satay sauce; a peanut allergic patient's nightmare.
2. Vasco da Gama - Espetadas
Sydney Portuguese Community Club
Ph: (02) 9550 6344; Fraser Park,
100 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville, 2204
This place might be a little hard to find (a thank you Franz Sheurer, from Australian Gourmet Pages for pointing this foodie in the right direction). Espetadas, the Portuguese version of barbecued, skewered meat, generously rubbed with garlic is often served suspended over a gigantic pile of chips and gravy are one of the house specialities, along with the gigantic platters of seafood, so bring a small army of friends to tackle this one.
88 Audley St
Petersham NSW 2049
(02) 9569 7534
Chef David Tserakis knows what makes Greek food rock. A solid staple amongst those who know and love food in the inner-west, Perama is known as much for its consistently great food, including his infamous pork belly baklava, as it is for its warm service.
So if you're going to try souvlaki, don't go to your local take-away joint, take a ride through Little Portugal to find Big Greece waiting for you.
The souvlaki here isn't marinated in 'the Colonial's sercret herbs and spices'...it's much simpler than that; wine garlic paprika oregano and olive oil, the staples of any good Greek kitchen are used to infuse lamb tenderloins or pork, which are then char grilled and served with grilled pita bread, tzatziki & mustard, onion, tomato and lettuce in the style of the street side vendors that pepper Athens.