It can be tough when you’re a foodie who has a dietary requirement. Mine being halal. You see, I’m a Muslim girl living in Australia, so when I’m deciding on where to eat, the following questions come into play: ‘do they sell pork?’, ‘do they serve alcohol?’, ‘what oil do they use when cooking?’ Now while there are some great places to eat that are 100% halal, options can be limited, which is why I was ecstatic when I found out Sydney was having their own Halal Food Expo. A place where there’s food and it’s ALL halal? Sign me up!

FOODEXPO1

With a $5 entry fee, the place was buzzing with people from all different walks of life. Food trucks lined across the showground featuring different cuisines from Thai all the way to Bengali. This place was a food lover’s dream. The air had an aroma that could only be described as a cocktail of flavours, the sort of smell that instantly made your stomach growl. The food to offer was extensive and there was something for everyone. Gozleme, potato on a stick, Japanese takoyaki balls and not to mention dessert, such as Nutella balls and supersize milkshakes served in your own personal coconut.

Thai food menu
Bengali fried chicken

The expo was an all-day event, starting at 10 in the morning, and ending at 8 in the evening. This is the second year for the Halal Food Expo, and currently it runs in Sydney and Melbourne, but here is hoping that they expand all around Australia. Whether you’re a restaurant owner who needs more exposure, or a foodie who needs a new place to eat, this expo was the perfect place for both sides.

Tabouli

As I walked around photographing people cooking up roti’s and rolling up vine leaves, I stumbled upon Fujiyama Japanese Cuisine. I have a confession to make, I’ve never tried Japanese food. Nope, not even once, simply because I had no idea that a halal Japanese restaurant resided in the heart of Bankstown. So I used this opportunity to try the Japanese fries. Sure, I could have gone for something a little more adventurous, but at this point I was so full from the food that the only thing I could consume were potato chips. The fries were covered in tonkatsu sauce and topped with shaved bonito flakes.

Japanese fries

As I divulged into the chips the fusion of the sauce and the flakes provided a satisfying mixture of flavours and textures. Soft met crunchy, and while I thought I was full, after finishing the entire plate single-handedly, it proved otherwise. I would say the only problem with going to a food expo is that you’re overwhelmed by choices and you have no clue what you should try first. So my tip? Go with an empty stomach and if you go with a group of friends, get everyone to order different things. This way, everyone can share amongst each other and you’re able to try a little bit of everything.

wrapping vine leaves

Some of the restaurants that were involved in this year’s event were: Student Biryani, a hugely popular Pakistani franchise restaurant, specialising in Pakistani cuisine. Also Don Churro, Thai in a Box and social media sensation Kayter Co were also present at the expo, promoting their food to hungry customers who just could not wait to try everything they could get their hands on. 

Prices varied between each stall. Kayter Co had these delectable Nutella Balls to offer that were priced at $5 each, and the generous Japanese fries cost $7. While you may be paying higher prices than if you ate at KFC, the quality of the food speaks for itself. The fresh ingredients and care put into making these dishes are apparent with every bite you take. 

Overall the experience was like no other, and I went home with a huge list of places to eat. If you’re after a great place to go with your family, or if you’re a foodie like myself, look out for the Halal Food Expo next year!

The Halal Food Expo took place in Melbourne on Sunday the 3rd of April, and in Sydney on Sunday the 9th of April. For further information, visit their website halalexpo.com.au

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Basmah is a self-proclaimed chocoholic and pizza lover. When she's not found eating, she is usually studying for her media degree and having a conversation with her two cats. She's a writer, bookworm and an undomestic goddess. She attempted to cook on two occasions, and while it seemed like she knew exactly what she was doing, the end result was not exactly Masterchef standards. That was when she decided to stick to eating food and let someone else do the cooking. While she's not the best cook, she can eat her own body weight in food and believes no dish is complete without a handful of spices. In her spare time, Basmah is a beauty blogger and TV show addict.