Today is the first day of NAIDOC week. It’s a pretty important week, one which is dedicated to celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people. Considering the many years of degradation and dismissal of the culture, history and talents of our Indigenous people, I think that spending a week focusing on reversing this damage is really important.
I have very fond memories of NAIDOC week from when I was in school. We would hear from Aboriginal elders, learn dreamtime stories and create Aboriginal art. But I think I speak for many people when I say that my favourite part about NAIDOC week was the food. We would get to try all sorts of amazing foods, from witchetty grubs to crocodile steaks. Needless to say, here at I Ate My Way Through, we decided to honour the unique and priceless traditions of Indigenous Australians by exploring their amazing cuisine.
photo credit: Chris J. Bartle
The following restaurants harness unique Indigenous ingredients to create a truly Australian dining experience. Visiting one of these restaurants is a great way to spend NAIDOC Week- appreciating Indigenous culture and food. This list is also useful for anyone who is hosting friends or family from overseas and wants to show them some authentic Australian cuisine that won’t disappoint! We’ve even broken them up into dining categories so you can choose the perfect eatery to suit your mood.
Down To Earth
Purple Goanna, Redfern
Redfern is drenched in Aboriginal culture, so it’s only fitting that it should be the home of the amazing Purple Goanna Café. Suzanne Grech, the founder of Purple Goanna, was inspired by her mother’s family to bring Indigenous cuisine to Redfern in order to share it with both the indigenous and the non-indigenous community. The café promotes the health benefits of eating bush tucker and enables the Indigenous community to incorporate their traditional foods into the modern diet, improving health and wellbeing. They also do an amazing job at combining traditional foods with modern cuisine, dishing up distinctive meals like crocodile curry, marinated kangaroo loin fillet, burgers with crocodile, barramundi or kangaroo and even a delicious “Roo Bolognese.” As an added bonus, the meals are all extremely affordable, ranging from $9 to $16.
photo credit: kochtopf
137 Redfern Street. Cnr Redfern and Renwick Streets, Redfern
Phone: 0405 773 285
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm
Billy Kwong, Surry Hills
Billy Kwong dishes up a completely unique fusion of Indigenous Australian ingredients and Chinese cooking methods. Founder Kylie Kwong says ‘Offering these native foods has allowed me to offer a truly authentic Australian-Chinese cuisine experience … native ingredients is my way of offering and showing respect and support to our indigenous Australians.’ The restaurant serves up a mouth-watering selection of native cuisine inspired meals such as crispy cricket and prawn wontons, crispy-skin native ‘yolla’ bird with chilli-cricket sauce, red-braised, caramelised wallaby tail with black bean & chilli and our favourite; Cantonese-style fried rice with roasted meal worms, crushed wood roaches and a chilli-cricket sauce.
photo credit: 10b travelling
355 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Phone: +61 2 9332 3300
Monday to Thursday – 6pm – 10pm
Friday and Saturday – 6pm – 11pm
Sunday – 6pm – 9.30pm
Rockpool Bar and Grill, The Rocks
This well respected fine-dining establishment is located in the historic Rocks area, near Sydney’s famous harbour. Rockpool uses only the highest quality ingredients, showcasing native Australian ingredients in the finest possible style. Although some dishes incorporate non-native ingredients, you won’t have to search too far to find an Indigenous inspired meal. Some examples include, Kinkawooka mussels steamed in tomato and white wine with fregola and spicy ‘Nduja’ bruschetta, sautéed Warrigal greens with aged feta and dill or Spanner Crab ravioli with caramelised Kangaroo and rosemary broth.
photo credit: alibash
66 Hunter Street, Sydney
Phone: +61 2 8078 1900
Lunch (12:00-3:00 pm) Monday to Friday
Dinner (6:00-11:00 pm) Monday to Saturday
Gardener’s Lodge Café,Camperdown
Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo runs the café in addition to a hospitality training college which teaches students about using bush flavours. She allows her students to gain work experience at the café, making it a great asset to the Indigenous community as it creates employment and training opportunities. The café is a stunning feat of Gothic architecture and is located in the beautiful Victoria Park, next to a large lake and green grassy slopes littered with bright flowers. The menu is full of native delights such as Buttermilk Wattle Seed Pancakes Served with bush berries and macadamia honey, kangaroo fillet, caramelised onion and tomato with wattle seed mustard cream or the delicious Kangaroo and stout pie we tried on Australia Day this year. Click Here for a full review.
Corner City & Parramatta Roads
(near Broadway Shopping Centre)
Phone: 9692 9778
Open 7 days
Breakfast 8am – 11:30pm
Lunch 11:30am – 3pm