From pepperoni to pad thai and pork dumplings, food lovers of the Hunter can feast on the flavours of the world without changing postcodes.
Maitland’s diverse residents and visitors originate from around the globe, and so too are the tasty dishes proudly served at its many restaurants. Here, we take you on a mini tour of the multicultural gems just waiting to be discovered at The Levee.
Big ticks for BEUD
Stop off for Asian fusion at BEUD Korean and Japanese, where there’s something for everyone, and over 40 dishes to try. Love a little of everything? Pick the bento box, BEUD owner Imogen Lim suggests. “Combining rice, vegetables, salad, fries, and more bento boxes are perfect for people looking for variety in a neat box,” she says.
Texture and spice is in abundance in BEUD’s memorable kimchi dishes. “We have kimchi pancakes, kimchi tofu, kimchi fried rice.”
Lim and her team are serious about authentic sauces. “We proudly make our sauces on site, such as the Korean teriyaki style marinated sauce, bulgogi, and the more traditional gochujang sauce (seriously spicy).”
Just a few steps down the road are the flavours and textures of Thailand at Aloi D Thai. Craving a colourful curry? From green, to red, to deliciously yellow jungle curry, Aloi D Thai prepares tasty delights six days a week. Meat lovers shouldn’t miss the generous massaman. If simple street food suits, eat in for a spicy crispy pork with rice and fried egg, or tangy tamarind prawn.
fresh is best
Mexican street food in Maitland, anyone? At El’ Chapos fresh is best, says owner, James. “Our top pick for locals would have to be our fish burrito. We source the freshest barramundi which combines beautifully with crispy cabbage.”
El’ Chapos takes pride in its fresh, inhouse ingredients, from condiments to excellent guacamole and crisp pickles. Trading Tuesday to Sunday with happy hours from 5.00pm to 6.00pm, and a large upstairs area, El’ Chapos is just as great for a date night as it is for a big event. For people with a thirst, sip on a coffee flavoured cocktail, or a supercharged corona, mixed with tequila and grenadine.
SPICE ‘IS ON THE SIDE’ AT SUDANIA CAFE & RESTAURANT
At Sudania Café & Restaurant, customers commonly believe their North African/Mediterranean dishes are seriously spicy, says owner, Alex. To the contrary, he says.
“Cumin, coriander and garlic are our dishes’ three main flavours, which are all very mild,” he explains. Instead, spicy elements are kept separate. “So anyone can come and try our food and our dishes can be easily made vegan or vegetarian”.
For Sudania Café first timers, Alex recommends ordering geema (or gima), made from potato, carrot, capsicum, and peas, and served with rice or Sudanese flatbread named kisra. Alex’s second favourite is mahsi, which is stuffed capsicum with rice, mincemeat and a little cumin, cinnamon and garlic.
TAKE IT TO THE TOP AT OMETTO
Over at Ometto Pizza Bar is where the Italians bring out the big flavours from quality ingredients, says business owner, Kris. “We’re sticklers for quality and our customers keep coming back for our traditional, authentic woodfire pizzas. Like our meat lovers’, for instance, topped with ham, speck, salami and pork sausage. With quality ingredients you can have the best of both worlds, big flavour and fewer toppings.”
At Ometto their new gluten free gnocchi is taking off as well.
“The Italians have spent time working on their flour. Italians do flour better! They’ve worked really hard on making a really good gluten free product.”
A DOLLAR DUMPLING
Meanwhile at The Whistler Maitland, sit down for a serve of dumplings for lunch, or dinner, every Tuesday. They’re a dollar a dumpling.
GO DEEPER INTO THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
For even broader servings of our globe’s incredible cuisine – and a smorgasbord of music, dance and performance, head to Riverlights Multicultural Festival at The Levee on October 8.
One of the Hunter’s most highly anticipated festivals, Riverlights Multicultural Festival is
where you can experience cultural dance and fashion performances, lantern making activities and more, from over 20 communities.
Big Jarda, percussion outfit Samba Frog and flamenco performers Paco Lara Flamenco Dúo are among the dynamic acts that will make October 8 satisfying for families, friends and loved ones. Plus, roaming street performers are all set to surprise and delight visitors.
The festival is meticulously timed for Spring’s milder weather, so it’s super easy to twist the arms of friends, family and loved ones to head down to the Levee.
LANTERN WORKSHOPS SHINE BRIGHT AT NIGHT
Round out your evening at Riverlights on October 8 with a colourful and unforgettable finale parade followed by a mesmerising lantern flotilla finale on the Hunter River when the festival finishes at 9.00pm.
Explore Riverlights Multicultural Festival at www.maitlandriverlights.com.au