Sydney is a major global city with a vibrant scene of musical, theatrical, visual, literary and other artistic activity. The cultural life of Sydney is dynamic, diverse and multicultural. Many of the individual cultures that make up the Sydney mosaic are centred on the cultural, artistic, ethnic, linguistic and religious communities formed by waves of immigration from over 180 nationalities over a period of over 200 years.
That cultural diversity has shaped the city and its suburbs in a major way. Many localities have the unique smells, sights and sounds, cultural, community and family events that typify the cultures and nationalities that are predominant there. In other places, restaurants and shops of diverse ethnic backgrounds form an intoxicating mix that provides both visitors and locals a smorgasbord of choice, often within a single street.
Sydney has its Chinatown, located in Central Sydney at the Haymarket end, within walking distance of Central Station, and at the southern end of Darling Harbour. Dixon Street is the main thoroughfare. Yum cha in Chinatown is very good, arguably even better than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Yum cha restaurants can also be found scattered throughout Sydney, particularly in suburbs where Chinese communities thrive such as Chatswood.
Cabramatta is particularly fascinating and worthy of a day trip just to wander around and take in the atmosphere. So awash is the suburb with Vietnamese restaurants groceries, butchers, craft shops, clothing stores and restaurants not to mention Vietnamese people you d swear you were walking around Saigon rather than Sydney.
The three decades after World War 2 saw a steady growth in Lebanese migration of Australia, with people from different religious backgrounds settling in different areas. Because of the diverse localities of the Lebanese communities, you ll find restaurants serving Lebanese cuisine in many localities, though Lakemba is generally acknowledged as having the widest choice. The municipality of Canterbury, once a predominantly Anglo-Irish enclave, has been Sydney's Muslim community heartland since the 1960s.
In a relatively short time, Kingsford has been transformed into an area dotted with good Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants, coffee shops, take-aways and by some of the best well-stocked Asian shops in Sydney. The change came about as a result of an influx of students from all over Asia attending the University of New South Wales, which is located in the suburb.
Italians have been making a contribution to the Australian way of life ever since the 1950s Gold Rush which brought large numbers of Italian migrants to the shores of Eastern Australia. Their influence on Sydney can be found in the statues, monuments, stone masonry and architecture around the city and inner suburbs. If you love all things Italian from handmade pasta, freshly ground coffee, and seasonal gelati to stylish shoes - then Leichhardt is the place for you.
Following the settlement of many Korean families in Campsie and the surrounding district in the 1980s, the once dilapidated suburb of Campsie has gained the title of Korean Town. Beamish Street is a hive of acivity, with Korean restaurants, grocery stores and business premises predominant in what is still a relatively cosmopolitan shopping street.
Sydney's 'Little Spain' is squeezed into 100 metres of Liverpool Street in the city between George and Sussex Streets. It all began with the opening of the Spanish Club here in 1962 and Sydney s Spanish Quarter has grown in leaps and bounds from this humble beginning. The the area is quite small, there is plenty of choice for the diner, with Tapas Bars, spicy Iberian cuisine, paellas, red wine, not to mention dancing and live Spanish music on weekends. Liverpool Street is a short walk from Town Hall Station on the City Circle.
Nepalese and Tibetan
The Nepalese and Tibetans have relatively small communities in Sydney that are scattered mainly in the inner suburbs from Redfern to Glebe. Redfern, Newtown and Surry Hills all have Nepalese and Tibetan restaurants, though Glebe Point Road, Glebe, and King Street, Newtown, is where most Sydneysiders gravite towards when seeking to sample their cuisine.
The majority of Sydney s Indian community either arrived or are descendants of an influx of migrants from India after World War II. They were drawn from many regions of India and many religious, cultural and linguistic groups. No one area has emerged as a predominantly Indian precinct, and there are Indian restaurants and take-aways scattered throughout the whole Sydney region, offering all types of Indian cuisine, so you don t have to travel far to savour the cuisine.
Cleveland Street and Crown Street, around where Redfern meets Surry Hills, have some of the most exciting, affordable and friendly Turkish eateries in Sydney. Alternatively, you can hop on a train to the suburb of Auburn, , Sydney s unofficial Little Turkey, where a third of Australia s 30,000 or so residents of Turkish descent have called home.
The Inner West suburb of Petersham has a reputation of being Sydney s Little Portugal . Most of the action is focused around the corner of New Canterbury Road and Stanmore Road, where you ll catch the fragrance of charcoal-grilled Portugeuese chicken, the sweet aroma of Portuguese pastries and the strains of fado (the traditional Portuguese ballad) wafting through the air. As well as traditional restaurants and cafes, you ll find cake shops, busy delicatessens and retail and foods shops that bring the traditions of Portugal to the streets of Sydney.
Thai restaurants and take-aways are today very much a part of the Sydney dining landscape, and in places it rivals Chinese as the most popular Asian cuisine. In fact Sydney has more Thai eating places per capita of any city in the world outside of Thailand itself. Kings Cross and Newtown have both developed reputations for having some of the city's best Thai restaurants.