As a suburb set right in the middle of two competing mega-centres, Macquarie Centre and Top Ryde City, Eastwood was always going to need to produce something special to attract anyone - bar immediate residents - to its commercial centre. Enter the Taiwan Night Market – a clever conglomeration of permanent and temporary stalls - putting out hawker food...
This bright and clean corral of stalls is a short walk from Eastwood Station.
It sits right next to the Rowe Street pedestrian mall, which is also running some street food stalls on this busy Saturday night. And if there was ever any doubt that having a vibrant night market scene feeds into the existing restaurants and businesses, nearly all of the restaurants I walked past were also full. In fact there was more nighttime street foot traffic than Oxford Street has had since the Liberal Party ruined it with their Lockout Laws.
Some restaurants, like Singaporean street food specialist, Kreta Ayer, and the experts in crispy chicken, Tan Viet Noodle House, had queues to even score a table. After making a note of two regional Chinese restaurants serving up the dishes of Chongqing in Southwest China for a return visit, I fixed my attention firmly upon the Taiwan Night Market.
With bright lighting and a giant movie screen, it's easy to get distracted by the spectacle of this bustling place. Luckily there’s the tantalising aroma of barbeque to keep your stomach on the job.
No stall puts out quite so much smoke as Lamb & Cumin. This is a chain outlet based upon owner Raymond Hou’s street food memories from his childhood in Shenyang, the largest city in Northeast China.
In true street-food form, Lamb & Cumin staff are cooking their short menu of skewers in plain sight.
In a warning small sign for Western diners who tend to get squeamish about biting into anything too squishy, they clearly explain their signature Lamb & Cumin Skewers ($8/5) each contain two lumps of lamb rump fat. We watch them turned, and then spiced on the grill with their signature spice blend (you can buy this separately if you love it as much as I did) and dusted with sesame seeds. The finished product is served up to us in a paper bag within minutes. The fat keeps the lamb nice and juicy, while the spice mix has our mouths tingling cumin with a big chilli kick. We consume them in one of the complex's three covered eating areas. If all the tables are full, this is an easy dish to eat as you walk around seeking out the next dish on your Taiwan Night Markets progressive dinner...
GET THE FULL TAIWAN NIGHT MARKETS STORY: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6
Lamb & Cumin
Taiwan Night Market,
Shop 7, 178-182 Rowe Street, Eastwood
Ph: (02) 9267 7612