EID @ Middle Eastern Night Markets
EID: MIDDLE EASTERN NIGHT MARKETS
When: 21st July 2016
Where: COMMUNE Event space – 901 Bourke St, Waterloo
Why: Eid marks the end of fasting for Muslims all around the world. Eid is a beautiful celebration where friends and families can unite and enjoy a large feast prepared by all. So, the founder of COMMUNE, Samir Ali, as well as the amazing Middle Eastern community decided to share the love (and the food) with you!
With funds going towards “Act for Peace” supporting Syrian refugees, it was a must for my Thursday night, aaaand for another 7k people who also clicked attending on the popular Facebook invite. This was going to be one massive feast!
So, let’s start at the line. The massive, endless, never-ending line that went alllllll the way down Bourke St and beyond! It was actually insane but I don’t think the event organisers anticipated the popularity of the event as it was the first time it was held. Maybe it will be held at Sydney Showgrounds next year?
I went with my awesome friend, Nadine (the name says it all, yes she’s Lebanese), who guided her way to the front of the line, spoke fluent Arabic and before you knew it, WE WERE IN! (What can I say guys…my friends have connections!)
I’m going to get straight into this because I was so excited, hungry and just really couldn’t wait to see and smell and take in all that the night markets had to offer. Did I mention I was excited!?
As you walk through the industrial space and past artworks displayed on the walls you make your way outside, where the party is realllly happenin.
Yes, there were market stalls with authentic clothing and knick-knacks, you could also get your hand tattooed with a lovely Henna design. Buuuuut, I think the music and the smell of falafels are the first to grab your attention (and taste buds). So, we followed our nose and ended up in another line! Yay! But you know what, we actually enjoyed the ambience, chatting to people next to us and really feeling like we were having proper. Middle eastern. Street. Food! Even Nadine felt like she was back in her home town and a lady next to us was recalling how similar this event is to a market she went to in Jordan! So, if there was one thing I really loved was that even though we were waiting, and waiting, it was the journey not the destination right? I guess the Middle East really did come to Sydney for a night!
So let’s talk about these falafels why don’t we. To be honest I’ve been going on about these falafels to everyone. All day! Hands down, BEST FALAFELS I’ve ever had. This gorgeous family made the falafel roll, literally, right in front of you.
As I watched it all come together and this family chat, laugh and share their homemade recipe with Waterloo, with strangers, with me and Nadine, I couldn’t help but smile. I really felt a sense of homeliness and a part of this celebration that I wish was held every night.
Now back to the falafels! The fresh falafel mixture was stirred and scooped up into a ball to be fried instantly so as soon as you took your first bite, the texture was crispy yet creamy and crunchy and HOT! Sahtan! (Enjoy!)
Next up was a sundweesh.
Yes, I spelt it right. Sunweesh is, as owner, Manar like to put it, A Middle Eastern & Western marriage of deliciousness!
And tis marriage is one that will stand the ages of time. WOWZA! “Chicken Or Lamb, Chicken or LAMB!? That was all that was going on in this little hub of hummus, tabouli, chicken…or LAMB?
I have a secret love for tabouli. Okay, it’s actually not so secret at all…everyone I know, knows that I LOVE TABOULI. To the point where people surprise me and my family/friends will go out of their way to make it for me just to see my crazy reaction. I don’t know why, I just LOVE IT SO MUCH! Okay, now let’s get back to my order, LAMB WAS CLEARLY THE WINNER. (Because it involved a whole lotta hummus and even more tabouli tumbling all over! Omg!
It was one of the most popular wraps that Nadine and I were the last to grab one…I seriously guarded it like A MAGIC LAMB, I mean lamp. It was juicy, SO fresh and we needed to sit down to truly enjoy it, away from the crowd. We sat down in this random courtyard and as soon as I inhaled, I mean ate, the sundweesh, I wanted another one. I cannot wait to try these again!!! BEST. SUNDWEESH. IN SYDNEY!
Now what’s that noise, I hear Arabian tunes, drums, flutes and just notes that send your body moving into some kind of slow trance, but you need to get up and DANCE! Nadine and I can’t help ourselves. We get up and tread closer and closer to the beat until we make it to the front. The DJ slows the beat and fades into an intro for MATUSE.
What is going on? Live music too! This is great!!!
I literally got the works at the middle eastern market. The food, music and people really lit up the street with passion and their love for life…you could feel it in the air and we had our hands up nodding to this talented trio of guys singing and rapping away. But their words weren’t vulgar or trashy, they were really real. Everything had a message. Everything they sang was really, beautiful. I know I probably sound like I had too much hummus but check out this guy and you won’t be disappointed. Underground Talent, right there. Nadine and I could have continued onto the sealed off section for shisha/argyle but time was running short and it was a school night, so we had to make our way home.
I regret not staying longer, enjoying an apple/mint/grape/anything argyle and just taking it all in again. Next time I’m also making room for pistachio icecream, Palestinian Balkava and Sahlab! I honestly did NOT feel like I was in Sydney this night…it was honestly an Araaaaabiannnn niiiight!
Overall an amazing night out – full of people either frustrated with the crowds and claustrophobia or people who didn’t care and were actually having fun. We were definitely having too much fun – dancing freely and enjoying the carefree, upbeat, busy and bustling ambience. Next time, I’m getting in early, staying all night and not eating all day so I can make room for more falafels! Mmmm!
I hope to see the Middle Eastern Night Markets come to life again because I felt like it brought light to all who attended! Regardless of anyone’s culture, religion, political stance or opinion on anything, we were all there to enjoy life, appreciate, dance, eat, come together as a community and join in the amazing celebrations. That’s what it’s all about and that’s how it really should be.
So thank you.
Until next time,
Eid Mubarak! J (Blessed Eid)
The Journalette xxx