A few months ago, (April I think) it was time for Canberra's yearly Multicultural Festival. We forget why we missed it last year (I think it was raining), but we made sure to go this year. From Friday at noon to Sunday night downtown Canberra is taken over by arts & crafts booths, food carts, and performance stages. The festival breaks into basic geographic areas covering the entire world. We went on Saturday and kind of just entered at random and milled around, eventually finding ourselves in the Polynesian section. We watched the shows and dancing a little bit before peeling off to find more food.
We would not advise messing with the guy on the left.
The place was absolutely packed. We had no idea Canberra even had so many people. It seemed like every country in the world had a booth too, most of them with food or something to sell. We're pretty sure they were all sponsored by the local embassies. Strangely, the US stand was not selling hot dogs.
Each booth had their country's representative flag displayed above, so that you could more easily identify them through the large crowds.
Polynesian woodcraft for sale!
While the women were working the booths, the guys were hanging out here drinking something from coconut shells. Whatever it was, it looked very exotic.
Clearly, we came for the food. It's one of those events that no matter how hungry you show up, and no matter how long you stay, there is just no way you can stuff in all the delicious things there are to try. We had a plate of West African rice and beans and pork, an Eastern European honey liquor (terrible), turkish snacks, and then we turned the corner and found the booth we had been looking for- Finland! Look how happy Laurel is with her pulla!
The next day, another local embassy was sponsoring an open house/fair. This time it was Bangladesh, a country we don't really know all that much about. We still don't know a whole lot about it, but we do know that they have very friendly people, delicious food, and adorable babies, as demonstrated below.
Now, the first thing to remember about fairs like these is you can't just dive in and go eat at the first table you see. Rookie mistake. You need to make a circuit and see what your options are in order to develop a gameplan. Although, we did decide we needed some chicken kabobs while we did that.
Success! This was an orangey, rice pudding. Amazingly good, but ridiculously sweet. It probably took us the better part of a week to finish off the whole container.
This, my friends, is why you have to scope the whole place out. In the very back was a family selling smorgashbord plates with small servings of about a dozen different dishes. For people like us, who want to sample as much as possible, it was perfect. Wow, was it good. After licking the plate we went back to tell them how good it was, and we took a picture of Laurel with the family.
Hmmmmm, sweets. I'll have one of everything.
Those are some happy, well-fed faces.
One of Greg's co-workers went as well, and ate at the same family table that we did. She said that it was one of the better meals she's had since she's been in Canberra. We don't think we would go that far, but it was fantastic. So, if you come cross a Bangladeshi restaurant in your neighborhood, we highly suggest you eat there.