Dandenong Gourmet Food Guide Polsh Rye Crust Bakery

Baker Andrew Lipiszko with a freshly baked batch of Polish pretzels

 

I’m not much of a television viewer but one of my guilty TV pleasures is watching foodie shows. Right at the top of that list is the locally produced Food Safari hosted by Maeve O’Meara. Not only is Maeve genuinely excited by food from different cultures she has this amazing rapport with everyone who appears on the show from local producers to home cooks and their families to famous chefs.

So imagine my delight when Decisive Cravings was invited to take part in a special tour of Greater Dandenong guided by Maeve herself. Talk about STAR STRUCK!

Aside from her incredible knowledge of the area, the main benefit of going on tour with Maeve is her genuine rapport with local restaurateurs and retailers. Everyone welcomes her like a family member and she knows so much of their colourful history she has this wonderful knack of extracting precious stories to share with “tourists” like us.

Representing cuisines from all over the world, Greater Dandenong is home to more than 1k restaurants and food retailers with restaurants in the area serving up more than 50k meals per week! Here are just some of the highlights from our whirlwind gourmet tour of food in Dandenong:
 
 
Polish Rye Crust Bakery – 101 Foster St, Dandenong

Our tour began on Foster Street at Polish Rye Crust Bakery where Andrew Lipiszko and his team produce traditional Polish and European baked goods. The bread here is crusty, dense and delicious, and made from only four basic ingredients including a starter culture that’s more than 100 years old! We were lucky enough to try their smokey, salty pretzels straight out of the oven and fresh jam donuts.


Dandenong Gourmet Food Guide Uncle's Smallgoods‘Uncle’ Brendan D’Amelio talks us through the hot smoking process

 
 
Uncles Smallgoods – 123 Thomas St, Dandenong

Bert Glinka and Brendan D’Amelio, the owners of Uncles Smallgoods might not have lifelong experience in owning a deli or smoking meat but they did grow up visiting this Dandenong icon. When the opportunity came to purchase the business from the original owners the boys jumped in and continue to maintain the traditional handmade processes that brings local Polish customers to their door each day.

 
Maiwand Bakery – 7 Scott St, Dandenong

Maiwand Bakery might be a small “hole in the wall” but this buzzing bakery pumps out thousands of flatbreads a week. In fact, some regulars can be seen at Maiwand stocking up on fresh bread several times a day! Each flat bread is flattened on a baking stone and placed on the wall of a traditional clay oven where it’s baked for a few minutes. While the head baker Jawad is originally from Afganistan, this bread is eaten with dishes from many different cultures. At 75c apiece, it’s no wonder!
 
MKS Spices ‘n Things – 23/25 Pultney St, Dandenong

One of the oldest speciality retailers in the area, MKS Spices ‘n Things is a one-stop shop for all things Indian, Asian and Sri Lankan. After a (pre-lunch) snack from their in-house cafe of tandoor prawns, chicken and samosas we were introduced to some of the diverse products available from cooking equipment to Bollywood videos! This family business of 20 years has literally expanded taking over the shop front next door with its growth.
 

Dandenong Gourmet Food Shop Robs British and Irish Butcher Shop
Just some of the award winning produce on display at Rob’s British and Irish Butcher’s Shop


Rob’s British and Irish Butcher’s Shop – 77 Lonsdale St, Dandenong

Jolly butcher Rob Boyle might be from a completely different continent but he is very much part of the local community, having operated in Dandenong for over 30 years. Rob’s British and Irish Butcher’s Shop specialises in traditional favourites like black pudding, pork pies and haggis but also showcases his own creations including “marmalated” (marmalade marinated) ham and a range of award-winning gourmet sausage flavours. His busy shop is decorated with all sorts of homeland paraphernalia from football jerseys to tea towels and you can also purchase famous British groceries like HP Sauce and Branston Pickle.

 

Dandenong Gourmet Food Guide Tengri TagThe Uyghur feast at Tengri Tag

 
Tengri Tag – 151 Lonsdale St, Dandenong

After plenty of snacking, with a little bit of walking in between, it was time for lunch at Tengri Tag where Mukaram Hussan and her team deliver Uyghur cuisine to the masses. This huge restaurant was opened especially for our visit where we were treated to a number of their signature dishes including handmade noodles with spicy chicken and beef, an Azerbaijan chicken hotpot, lamb sesame pancakes and a refreshing cucumber salad. This unique cuisine from Central Asia takes its food influence from many countries including Mongolia, China, Turkey and Kazakhstan but fans of most Asian or Indian style cuisines will find many dishes appealing.

 

Dandenong Gourmet Food Guide A1 BakeryTrays of ‘znoud el sit’ (or ladies arms) at A1 Bakery

 

A1 Bakery – 201-203 Lonsdale St, Dandenong

On we rolled to the last stop on our tour greeted by three brothers who look so alike they could pass for triplets. The Abdallah (Eddie, Leo and Sam) brothers serve traditional Middle Eastern and Lebanese food at their branch of A1 Bakery in Lonsdale Street Dandenong. In between their friendly banter the brothers made us shanklish cheese mixed with tomato and onions wrapped in pita bread followed by thick strong Lebanese coffee served with sticky znoud el sit (crispy pastry filled with clotted cream). Don’t leave this place without filling up a bag with Lebanese sweets, their selection of baklava is amazing!

If you’d like some help navigating all that Greater Dandenong has to offer, the local council hosts regular food and cultural tours in the area or if you’re after the complete Food Safari experience check out Maeve’s website.

AM x
 
 
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