A couple of weeks back, Saucer and I attended the Malaysia Fest (MFest), an annual community and cultural festival organised by the Malaysian Student Community of Sydney. Impressively, this year marks the 22nd time this event has been held here, mainly to promote and raise awareness of the Malaysian diverse culture to the Australian community. Fortunately for us, that day was brilliant with sun shining upon us from the early morning until late evening! It was the perfect weather for a day out with friends and familiar food. 🙂
Amazing crowd at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour
Towards Darling Harbour
The event was held at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, so we took the train down to the city and walked there. We could already see the crowd from far and the big screen displaying shows on the stage. The first thing I noticed was, of course, food stalls! There were about 20 stalls or more and most of them had long queues.
with Saucer, walking to Tumbalong Park
Crowd at MFest
Gorgeous day for a picnic
One of the first counters that we stopped by was the one selling Raffle tickets. These were essentially tickets for lucky draw, and were sold at $1 each. Just because we’re first-timers, we purchased some in the hope for beginners’ luck! 🙂
Long queues for food
There were stalls selling roti canai, char kuey teow, nasi lemak, mee goreng, cendol, rojak, fried radish cake, satay and Hainanese chicken rice, just to name a few. And all of them screamed home! It was really hard deciding which stall to buy from, because the queues were so long and we didn’t want to waste too much time by just queuing. I noticed the stalls selling char kuey teow and roti canai to be the more popular ones, which was bad news for me because I was craving for char kuey teow! In the end, Saucer had to sacrifice by queuing for the famour Jackie M char kuey teow while I queued for the fried radish cake. 🙂
Amazing roti canai-making performance
Roti canai demonstration
Busy Malay Village stall selling roti
While waiting, I could see some other activities going on, like fashion shows on the stage, photo opportunity with some Malay costume wearers complete with the Pinang trees, as well as a live cooking demonstration. The atmosphere was really quite festive.
Photo opportunity with traditional Malay costume wearers
Host of Malaysian spices and chilli sauce for sale
Rojak and cendol
One thing for sure, the prices of the food sure did not come close to Malaysian prices. Most of the noodles and rice cost at least $8 or more, and drinks were selling at around $3 each. The most overpriced item, to me, was the Nyonya kuih that was selling for $2.50 per piece! And the size was similar to what you would get from Malaysia. I have no idea why they would want to sell something so small at such a high price.
Nyonya kuih at $2.50 each!
Once we managed to get our food, we found a nice spot on the park and had a little picnic. We met a few other Malaysians there too, so we shared some of the food. The satay was pretty tasty and generously portioned, the fried radish cake from Penang Hawker was lack of the heat of wok, but the Jackie M seafood char kuey teow was pretty brilliant! There were 6 huge prawns spotted and the noodles were fried well with a fabulous aroma. That was my favourite buy of the day. Of course, it didn’t come cheap at $14 a plate!
Fried Kuey Teow from Penang Hawker stall ($9)
Fried radish cake from Penang Hawker stall ($9)
Char Kuey Teow from Jackie M – huge prawns! ($14)
While enjoying our food, we were treated with various cultural performances on stage, presented by Malaysian students mostly. Among those were the Chinese fan dance and a classical Indian dance. Credits should be given to these students for taking the time off to plan such a huge event and to prepare these performances. It was undoubtedly an effective way to share our rich Malaysian culture and food to the rest of the Australians. Looking forward to the one next year!
Chinese fan dance
Classical Indian dance