"You're always welcome here, to do your shopping, it is safe, like any suburb of Sydney," our Egyptian guide Sahar says encouragingly.
It’s hard not to cringe a bit when Sahar explains Greenacre “is a beautiful village, the people here try as hard as they can to undo the perceptions people have of them from the media.”
Greenacre seems a fitting place to end my nearly 9-year tenure as Altmedia Dining Editor undoing some of the barriers my media colleagues have helped create.
I’m ashamed that despite it taking less time to drive to Greenacre (25 minutes) than to drive and park in Darlinghurst on a busy Saturday morning, I’ve never visited, and resolve to start breaking down that psychological fence that keeps us city-types looking east. Cue Taste Tours and their Arabic Adventure ($65/head), which offers you the chance to experience six venues on a 2.5 hour guided walking tour.
Don’t eat breakfast – at five of the pit stops you’ll be dining on everything from an Arabic breakfast of fattah, fattoush and foul (fava beans) at Little Tripoli...
...to za’atar topped pizzas at Oven Bake...
...to znoud el sett (ladies’ arms) - cheese-stuffed sweet pastries still warm from the ovens of the famous Sabbagh Sweets.
As a confirmed felafel enthusiast, Sahar and I debate the merits of Jasmins (Lakemba) and Al Aseel (Greenacre), before she introduces us all to her favourites at El Khayal.
Another highlight is entering Abu Salim Supermarket with someone who can explain how to use shanklish (cheese) and which types of haloumi are salty (and thus need to be soaked before cooking with them).
Taste Tours will be uncovering suburbs including Fairfield (Persian, Iraqi, Assyrian), Bankstown (Lebanese, Vietnamese, Greek), and Lakemba (Bangladeshi, Middle Eastern) in the New Year. Using food as our bridge, we can all contribute to a more cohesive, tolerant, multicultural Australia - perhaps even with gift vouchers under this year's tree?
Greenacre businesses pictured in this post are:
195A Waterloo Road, Greenacre
Ph: (02) 9750 0901
Ph: (02) 9758 5020
Ph: (02) 9759 0899
134A Waterloo Road, Greenacre
Ph: (02) 9758 9997
Four Seasons Juice Bar
144A Waterloo Road, Greenacre
Ph: (02) 8084 7379
Abu Salim Supermarket
151 Waterloo Road, Greenacre
Ph: (02) 9758 5927