The 5 best things about southwest Sydney

November 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Sure, it might be slightly hotter and drier out west during summer, but there’s so much to love about Liverpool and its surrounds. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

1. Asian food

Apart from a few ethnic enclaves such as Haymarket, Chatswood and Ashfield, there really is nowhere as authentically Asian as Cabramatta. Food bloggers consistently rave about the tremendous quality and presentation of the dishes served here, and cuisines range from Vietnamese and Thai to Chinese and Cambodian.

It’s also where you’ll find the best pho and banh mi (pork rolls) in Sydney, with endless choices lining the bustling streets. Scattered among colourful fabric shops, electronics stores and bakeries, the abundance of amazing Asian food here is really something worth experiencing – and it’s a solid example of how deliciously multicultural Australia is! Two favourites include Pho 54 and Pho Tau Bay, with many dishes under $10.

 2. Op-shopping

Who’da thunk it? Liverpool has some of the greatest op shopping in NSW, and there’s really no mystery as to why.

As part of a more traditionally working class suburban area, there are a great number of charity organisations that set up shop here providing affordable clothing for the thousands of families living on a tight budget. That trend caught on and second hand boutiques began springing up around the suburb over a decade ago.

Now you’re essentially spoilt for choice – it’s an op shoppers dream, with vintage Levis and Ben Sherman shirting a fairly regular find in the men’s sections of each store. Moore St is home to one of the oldest and greatest (One Moore Time), the shop owner clearly blessed with excellent pun skills.

Monika’s Pre Loved Clothing on Railway St is also just a short walk from the station – a great starting point for any spending spree if you’re coming from another part of Sydney – and from there you’ll find a number of regional second-hand stores including Vinnies, Salvos, Anglicare, Lifeline and Big Heart Op-Shop.

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A hearty Ristretto salad. Source

3. Ristretto & Co

When it comes to a good cuppa, Liverpool has more of a burgeoning coffee culture, but that doesn’t mean a few existing cafes don’t whip up a solid cappuccino.

Enter Ristretto & Co on Northumberland St. It brings an inner city Italian flair that would be more commonly associated with Paddington or Newtown.

Featuring everyone’s favourite Campos coffee, the menu is warm and homely, complimenting the Italian heritage of the cooking. On offer are tasty paninis, enormous salads and eggs in every shape and form. We also encourage you to try the Big Brekky – it may very well be the most wonderfully plated dish on the menu.

Rachel Park's 'At the time it didn't resonate' (2014), as part of the 'Subject to Ruin' exhibition. Image supplied.

Rachel Park’s ‘At the time it didn’t resonate’ (2014), as part of the ‘Subject to Ruin’ exhibition. Image supplied.

4. Casula Powerhouse

An outstanding gallery and performance space housed in a gentrified 1950s power station, works featured rotate constantly, showing off the wonders and talents of western Sydney and beyond. Funded by Liverpool City Council, the building contains two artist studios, six gallery spaces a 326 seat theatre and outdoor areas with gardens and an amphitheatre.

First opening its doors as an arts centre in 1994, this twenty-year old space is the pride and joy of the local art scene.

This coming Saturday (November 22), it will host a Vintage Fashion Fair, and even the in-house Bellbird Café will be dishing up meals from the pages of the past century’s cookbooks.

Image by Jay La Photography

Musicians entertain the market crowds. Image by Jay La Photography

5. Liverpool Night Markets

Sydney City’s well-known Night Noodle Markets come alive every October for Good Food Month, but what many people outside of south-western Sydney don’t know is that out here we’ve got something splendid all year round.

Held on the first Saturday of every month from 4pm, the Liverpool Night Markets boast a melting pot of cultures and colours, with craft stalls, live music, clothing and food, glorious food. In the past, the markets have played host to talented chef Amina El Shafei from Masterchef and Fred’s Bush Tucker – a unique indigenous food experience.

The next market is to be held on December 6 and is all about Christmas, with carols, a tree lighting ceremony and stalls serving up all kinds of holiday treats. Here’s to hoping that gluhwein’s an option.