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LAKEMBA

Western Sydney is known for its multicultural make-up, vibrant culinary scene, and local communities. One place with each of these on proud display is Lakemba’s main road Haldon Street. Lakemba is on the traditional land of the Dharug people. It’s a colourful centre lined with many international grocery stores, cultural clothing shops, and plenty of restaurants. With so many cultures represented on one street, Lakemba is a destination where you can travel the world, meet beautiful people and experience many cuisines. It’s great during the day, and late into the night.


lakemba haldon street

 

You may have visited Lakemba for the annual Ramadan Nights festival which attracts over one million people each year. It’s a buzzing showcase and celebration of cultures and food, and we love just how many people visit! Yet, Lakemba is an excellent place to visit any time of the year, and with many venues open until late, you’ll find Lakemba pumping as a night destination too.


Whenever you’re visiting Lakemba, you know to arrive hungry – so WEST has done the hard yards and created an itinerary for your next visit to this iconic Western Sydney hot spot.



For coffee and a refreshing juice, start at La Belle Coffee and Sweets which overlooks Haldon Street from the Boulevarde corner. Here you’ll also find beautiful and very colourful cakes, pastries, and cold pressed juices. Freshly crushed sugarcane juice is absolutely a must-try!



Another very popular venue is Island Dreams Cafe who make Cocos Islands Malay cuisine. Super homely and friendly, the owners put their heart and soul into cooking dishes like murtabak, roti, mee goreng, and other Island fusion favourites. Depending on what day you arrive, you’re bound to find a delicious home cooked special.


Lakemba is home to a high percentage of people with a Bangladeshi background, so you know the food is going to be flavourful and authentic. You’ll find several Bangladeshi restaurants in the strip off shops along Railway Parade including Grameen and Dhansiri Restora. There is also a halal butchery, fruit shop, bakery and sweets store too – all within 100 metres! The best part is that most of these places close at 11pm.



Along Haldon Street, you’ll notice just how colourful many of the buildings are. The many colours reflect the diversity of cultures found here. Along each side, you’ll see jewellery shops and clothing stores. Many of these clothing stores cater to the large Islamic population here, introducing a fusion of ethnic and western styles. Much of the goods are imported from the subcontinent, meaning there are things that you’ll only be able to find here in Lakemba.



One popular shop is the Darussalam Islamic Bookstore. This is one of the largest Islamic bookstores in Sydney, and sells lifestyle goods, perfumes, clothing, and prayer mats too. It’s an interesting place to learn more about the worldview of billions of people across hundreds of different cultures.



Another popular restaurant is Afghan Sufra, an Afghani restaurant and bakery. We love a sit-down meal here, especially because each dish comes with flat Afghan or Arabic bread piping hot from the tandoor oven. Their curries, skewers and biryani are always delicious – you can’t go wrong!



As you can already tell, you’re spoilt for choice in Lakemba. But be sure to make time for El Manara which has been an institution in Lakemba since it was opened in 1989. Cooking everything fresh to order, we love the wooden panel walls, the framed photos of Lebanon, and the pleasing aroma from the kitchen. We love the Lebanese Mixed Plate which includes their famous falafel, kofta, hummus, and baba ghanouj. The foule and fatteh are two other great side dishes that are popular here.



Lakemba also has a thriving Indonesian population, and so you’ll notice several great Indonesian retailers including Warung Ita. For baklava, look no further than King of Sweets. For juices and fruit cocktails, try colourful I Juice +. You’ll also find Mataam Al Mandi, a very spacious restaurant which specialises in Mandi, an Arabian rice dish with your choice of protein.



With so many restaurants, grocers, clothing stores, and sweets shops along Haldon Street, there something new to try every time you visit Lakemba. Take it slow, enjoy the sights and sounds, and don’t stress if you don’t try everything because Lakemba’s always ready for you to visit again… day or night!



For foodies, Lakemba is a must, for families, this is a great place to go out for a late-night dinner. The heart of Lakemba thrives well into the evening and the locals gather, mingle, and celebrate their cultures with all to enjoy.

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