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At the first ever ‘Curry Festival’ held in Sydney recently, the only thing wanting was – more curry! And perhaps some elbow room to eat it
As larger than expected crowds thronged the venue Main Street Castle Hill in front of Castle Towers, the queues outside the stalls became chaotic and the food ran out.
Organisers said some 15,000 people walked in over the course of the day, sampling the wares of various stalls that offered different avatars of curry.
These included popular Indian restaurants such as Castle Taj, Calcutta Kathi Rolls, Kashi Indian Restaurant, Blue Elephant, Fine Events Catering, VegeDelight and India’s Best. Just as popular were stalls such as those of Curry Traders, the Queensland-based company that produces gourmet spice kits, marinades and rubs, and Al’s Spices, selling traditional curry powders.
Foodies tucked into dosas, kathi rolls, sohan papris and the like on a busy Sunday morning. Also present at the festival were stalls offering Turkish gozleme, Malaysian and Sri Lankan cuisines.
The brainchild of entrepreneurs Nitin Madan and Bikram Singh Cheema, the Sydney Hills Curry Festival was organised with the support of the Hills Shire Council. Chief guests Mayor Andrew Jeffries and Ray Williams MP addressed the crowds from a podium that also saw cultural events.
Like your regular Indian fair, the event also included clothes and fashion jewellery stalls, henna tattoos, kids’ rides and face painting.
The confined space and the long queues left a few curry-lovers disgruntled, yet the message got through that there is space in the events market for a function such as this.
Indeed the organisers are comparing themselves to Parramasala. “The success of this event has proven that big budgets and high profile committees are not needed to put together an event and sometimes letting small businesses and entrepreneurs work together is a better recipe for success,” they claimed in a release.
Yet they acknowledge themselves that future events should look at larger venues.
Castle Hill-based curry aficionado Malli Iyer concluded afterwards, “There is no getting away from ‘curry’, whether you are an Aussie, a Turk, a Malay, Fijian or a Continental. May be the Hills Shire Council should look at the Showground in Castle Hill next time they have a go.”
Definitely a bigger venue, and yes, more of the curry, please!