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Sydney World Rice Festival

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by Irenke Forsyth (subscribe)
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The humble grain of rice is the focus for a weekend of wonderful food at the beginning of December but the Sydney World Rice Festival hitting the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park is much more. It ties together the rich and unique cultures behind the grain and showcases the connections through some interesting cultural performances.

Rice is one of the most widely used ingredients in the world and there's a myriad of possibilities when it comes to using it. From the East to the West, and everywhere in between, rice dishes come in the form of entrees, main meals, desserts and drinks. Over 70 stalls will see the likes of satay and rice fare, to paella and burritos, whilst beverages include Soju (Korea's variation on Vodka) and Sake (Japan's rice wine). Find your favourite dishes from around the world or try new ones, all in one place at the Showring. You'll be spoilt for choice with 10 countries represented and 200 varieties of cuisine. Food vendors announced so far include Ume and their new Japanese taco rice bowls, Mate Burger with Filipino rice burgers, Redfern's Donut Papi, and Duo Duo food truck with fried ice cream that includes a sticky rice ice cream sandwich. Each vendor will sell a special rice dish, along with other signature items.

Catch a cooking demonstration too and pick up some tips. Hoda Kobeissi from this year's series of Masterchef will be showing off her dessert skills and Middle Eastern influence. Samples of her new range of desserts will be available for tasting, including her favourite Spiced Rice Pudding Brulee. Savoury-wise, chefs from pop-up stalls HaNa Ju-Rin and The Rocks' Shiki Japanese will show you how to prepare onigiri (triangular-shaped sushi balls) and chirashi (sushi rice bowls).

A free Sake Masterclass is also available for those wanting to learn a bit more about Japanese rice wine and the difference between junmai-shu and ginjo-shu. The Sydney Sake Society will be running this and will be serving up three types of Sake with some free tastings.

As your taste buds are taken on a culinary world journey, plenty of colourful entertainment in music and dance will highlight Australia's multiculturalism and the senses further in this celebration on from 11am-5pm each day. The program ties in with rice in featuring some traditional rice harvesting and planting dances from Indonesian and Thai cultures.

But that's not all. This festival also aims to capture the untold stories about rice as an important part of world cuisine. It presents some rice producer destinations that you probably have never heard of. Businesses in tourism marquees will grace the site providing information on different regions, including experiences that they have to offer. Helloworld Travel is one such agent waiting to help you plan your next adventure.

Entry to this festival of all things rice-related is free, so come and discover the diversity of this staple food as you indulge in new tastes and new places of wonder.
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When: 11am-5pm
Where: Showring, Entertainment Qtr, 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park
Cost: Free entry
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