Cabramatta is a suburb full of cultures, textures, good food and fragrances.
Colloquially known as ‘Cabra’, Cabramatta is home to the largest Hoa Vietnamese community in Australia. It is also Australia’s largest non-Anglo-Celtic commercial precinct. The population demographics are reflected by the many Vietnamese-Australian and Chinese-Australian businesses. As a result, the suburb draws in the crowds as it is home to the finest Vietnamese, and Chinese food throughout Sydney.
Cabramatta was first named so in the early 19th century when the Bull family named a property they had purchased, Cabramatta Park and the small village that ultimately formed after this purchase took on the name Cabramatta. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Cabramatta was facing a major image problem. With drug trade at an all-time high, and gang turf wars escalating walking around the area was like being in an open-air heroin market. Through a combination of aggressive policing, government intervention, and hardworking residence wanting to change their area, a largescale transformation occurred, leading to the Cabramatta we see today.
Starting at the intersection of John Street and Hill Street, you will find yourself in the commercial centre of Cabramatta. Heading down John Street towards Railway parade, your senses will be in for a real treat. Take note of not only the copious amount of Asian eateries, bakeries and fruit stores but the multi-lingual signage dotted throughout the street.
Stopping off at the bustling Viet Hoa Hot Bread – a traditional Vietnamese Bakery pick yourself up a fresh Banh Mi, also known as a Vietnamese pork roll. For only a few gold coins, you’ll take with you a fresh crusty bread roll with simple and trustworthy ingredients. Selling Banh Mi for over three decades, and open 24/7 the bakery has become the go-to spot for fresh Pork Rolls.
Continuing down John Street, take the pedestrian mall connecting John Street to Arthur Street. Known as Freedom Plaza, this culturally soaked precinct is home to the Pailau Gateway. Constructed in 1991, the Gateway was built to enhance the entryway into the mall, with the words ‘The world is for us to share and respect’ ‘liberty’ and ‘democracy’ inscribed on the gate. Throughout the year, Freedom Plaza hosts many culturally significant events, such as the Cabramatta Lunar New Year event which brings colour and vibrancy into the streets.
After passing through the gate, head up onto Dutton Lane and take in the fresh seafood and fruit markets. Explore all that the markets have to offer, a real feast for the senses.
Head into Cabramatta either by train to Cabramatta Station or by car. There is plenty of street parking available in the residential streets surrounding John Street. Park a few streets back from John Street and enjoy the walk through the residential area. There is also the Dutton Street multistorey car park.