What I love about shops like the Palms Pacific Superstore is how they take you to another place. At one moment, I am standing in a fairly ordinary shopping centre in Glenfield in Western Sydney. Then when I walk through the entrance, it's like I've just walked through some magic portal and I've suddenly been transported to a South Pacific island village store. I could be in Samoa or Tonga.
There are tables full of taro, green bananas and coconut cream. There are unfamiliar but tempting biscuits and drinks from New Zealand. The freezers are full of rainbow coloured Tutti-Frutti ice cream, cassava and a variety of seafoods such as New Zealand mussels and octopus. There's colourful tropical islander clothing hanging all through the store.
The real revelation however is the hot food at the back of the store. Here, the friendly Fred happily shows off his Chop Suey, Baked Taro and Cassava, Banana Donuts, Coconut Buns and apparently Sydney's best kept secret, Fred's Roast Pork Belly.
Fred is very proud of his Pork Belly. He gushes that folk come from all over Sydney to buy it and after savouring these succulent morsels on three occasions, I can declare that it is indeed scrumptious. It's also outstanding value. At $15.50 a kilo, it's juicy, not too fatty, tasty and best of all, has the crispiest crackle you could ever hope to crunch into.
If you haven't got time to go to Apia or Nukalofa or are just tempted by the take-a-way Pork Belly to die for, you might just have to make your way to Glenfield and enter the magic portal to the South Pacific.