I'm a postgraduate student living in the inner west cities of Sydney, with a passion for food, music and travel.
Published August 27th 2012
Be like a local, eat like a local
Cabramatta has long been seen as an exciting, vibrant, foodie destination. Restaurants are not hard to find, especially on the main road of John Street. However, many locals eat and shop at places hidden in the confines of an alley. So how many people know about those?
A born and bred local Chinese girl, I have come to make a correlation with a Chinese tradition about Cabramatta; "the 100 Good Wishes quilt". This quilt is a Chinese tradition made up of 100 squares of cloth contributed by loved ones. Cabramatta is like the quilt itself, sewed and knitted together by the commitment of the community through different contributions, such as restaurants, grocery stores, fabric stores to name a few. The tradition of the quilt is to pass the quilt to generations below, like that of passing the knowledge and culture of Cabramatta.
It wasn't until recently that I realized I spoke more of the tradition than I followed it. When one of my friends asked me to introduce local eateries in Cabramatta, I felt that I knew quite a bit, but until I was asked where, the problem came.
As a local, I have been inundated to the fact that all restaurants are in alleyways, all I needed to remember was the shop front and name was irrelevant.
First Stop: U.E Restaurant 4A /117 John Street Cabramatta As you can see from the picture above, the restaurant is within a narrow alleyway, you must by pass toilets and kitchens of other restaurants until you reach the end.
The restaurant is known for their duck leg egg noodle soup, the duck legs are tender and succulent, making a flavorsome match with the egg noodles. The restaurant may not have an appealing entrance but it is a popular local eatery. Prices are fairly higher than your average meal in the same area, but this local place has been opened for more than 5 years with little change, so it is worth a try.
Now, the restaurants stipulated address on most websites would be 4A 117 John Street, but it is clearly not located on John Street precisely.
Rather, the best method to find it would be via John Street and turn right to Hill Street, walk a few stores down (being slightly more attentive) and you will reach small alley. This restaurant like most others are closed for dinner, opened solely for lunch.
Next time you want to feel and eat like a local, go by U.E Restaurant.
Second Stop: Battambang Cambodian Restaurant Shop 4, 156-158 John Street Cabramatta
This Cambodian Restaurant has opened for many years, offering a wide variety of dishes, but known particularly for their Cambodian hu tieu. This is a thin rice noodle mixed with a combination of pork, prawn, offal and pigs blood/blood jelly.
The staff speaks many languages; so if you don't want certain meat, simply tell them. They are friendly and so easy to converse with.
This restaurant is hidden in a little alley known as the new world centre; you can enter it via John Street or via Dutton Lane.
While the restaurant is slightly hidden, many locals know about it, so it does get quite packed. You may even have to share a table, but it is an Asian culture to do so.
What do I like most about this restaurant? I can eat it as early as 630am, yes, so if you don't feel like McDonalds, why not have some noodles?
This shop has been opened in the last 5 years but has become a "must have" birthday cake. The cake styles are all quite similar but their signature chocolate swirls with glazed fruit topping are in no doubt, very alluring to the eye. For at least 3 years straight, I have ordered my birthday cake from this place.
They also sell a range of sponge roll cakes and pastries.
You can enter into the alley also via John Street.
The only downside to this place is the small shop front; the alley can become crowded very quickly on a weekend.
Other great alley bakeries or eateries include the crispy crepe, so a twist to your usual soft crepe. They offer both savory and dessert crepes at reasonable prices. If you want a pork roll or chicken roll and you value the crunchiness of the bread roll, then go to KK bakery. Every morning there is a swamp of people lining up to buy dozens of plain bread rolls.
Just because it is hidden doesn't mean it isn't good.