• Monte Carlo Reception – Celebrating 30 Years in Australia
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    I was only 10 days old when my parents escaped war-torn Vietnam in 1979. They, along with half of our hometown, Camau (located on the southern tip of South Vietnam), jumped on boats and made the brave and dangerous journey towards freedom. After Ho Chi Minh took power and the threat of communism was fast becoming a way of life, my parents (and many others) were sent to re-education camps because they were of Chinese-descent. Almost everything that was worth building a future with was taken away from them, for fear of a revolt. My parents had to sell their precious belongings to a black market to feed their 5 daughters. Brave, but full of fear, they boarded strung-together boats to look for…

  • Mars Hill Cafe – Music, Poetry, Photography
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    On the ever so popular Church Street in Parramatta, there are many places that can tickle ones fancy. There are big loud pubs and clubs, wine and dine restaurants, swish sport bars, hip cafes. Mars Hill Cafe sits quietly amongst them without much ado, it is the hidden gem amongst all the eateries. It describes itself as “a local music and art venue as well as a cool place to hang out. The cafe provides ethical coffee, affordable food, outdoor dining and performance spaces.” This isn’t far from the truth. Mars Hill Cafe would not be dissimiliar to any other cafe you would find on King St, Newtown. Its bohemian atmosphere and friendly staff makes it the most approachable…

  • The Dutch Shop & Cafe
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    When i heard that there was a quaint Dutch Cafe in the middle of nowhere in Smithfield I told pizzaboy we had to go for a visit. We happen to have gone on the hottest day of the year so far. Its 40+ degrees outside and we drive over to Smithfield in a car with no-aircon. Without even thinking i say, “there had better be air-con at this place”. The entire car goes quiet. None of us have ever been to the Dutch Cafe and do not know what to expect. We are following the GPS and tomatogal asks me, “Where the hell is this place? We’ve reached the end of the road”. I look ahead and we are in the middle of nowhere. There are residential houses to our left and closed…

  • Tan Viet Noodle House – Cabramatta
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    Tan Viet is one of our favourite places to eat. They serve traditional vietnamese cuisine but they are famous for their “Criskin Chicken”. Yes – Criskin. It’s an appropriate play on the words crispy and skin. And if you are familiar with the vietnamese accent, this is how the vietnamese say crispyskin in english. Or possibly a spelling mistake made many years ago, and now is the norm. They are so reliable that we order the same thing on every visit. This is one of few places that I rarely stray from my usual order because my favourite thing on the menu is so good I want to eat it every time that I visit. The chicken is wonderfully crispy and amazingly flavourful.…

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