You can rack up big bucks on corporate entertainment, or stand out from the crowd and give them an rich and interesting cultural experience. IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency has a suggestion…

Last year a PwC report found report found that 82.7% of people who work in media and entertainment are monolingual and speak only English at home. Most live in Sydney and are clustered round the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs with the top 10 suburbs shown below:

  • North Bondi
  • Newtown/Camperdown/Darlington
  • Leichhardt/Annandale
  • Surry Hills
  • Potts Point
  • Bondi/Tamarama/Bronte
  • Coogee/Clovelly
  • Paddington
  • Randwick
  • Redfern/Chippendale

This is dramatically different from the demographic make up of Sydney, where one in three speaks a language other than English at home (2011 Census, ABS). According to ThinkTV research released this month, “media and advertising types are living in a bubble called AdLand“.

Cabramatta main street

John street, Cabramatta

Last year, a media agency contacted IDENTITY Communications to run a food tour for their team of 20 people. The team has done just about everything; fine dining with lots of booze and other typical corporate bonding activities. Encouragingly, the group director really wanted his team to experience cultures and geographies outside of the inner city, eastern suburbs bubble. We jumped at the chance. The half day adventure was a roaring culinary and cultural success which is still talked about today.

While the cultural diversity of clients is probably more balanced than AdLand, a food tour of Sydney’s diverse suburbs can also be an eye-opener, and help clients and agencies understand their customers. It makes an imaginative and interesting change from the usual fine dining and boozing.

Merryland Taste Food Tours

As I discovered recently during a Merrylands experience run by Taste Food Tours, a three hour cultural and food tour costs less than a typical three course fine dining experience. Not only do you feel richer for the experience, the walking and talking burned more calories than sitting on plush chairs being looked after by uber cool waiters.

Merrylands was part of the Holroyd Council before it merged recently with Auburn to become Cumberland Council. Just over half of the residents of Holroyd Council spoke a language other than English according to the 2011 Census. The area is home to a sizeable number of migrants from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, China and India. This Taste Food tour was called From Afghanistan to Persia, an evening experience coinciding with Ramadan.

Afghan mantu Merrylands

Afghan Mantu, Bahar Restaurant, Merrylands

Seven stops, seven different food experiences and an opportunity to talk with the hard working, humble owners of these amazing eateries. If you have a sweet tooth, check out Asal Sweet for their Persian cakes and pastries or Shiraz for the alluringly named dessert, rice in rose water and saffron ice cream. Love dumplings? Mantu (above) is a must-try; the skin is thick and firm, inside it’s a mixture of lamb mince, onion and spices. They’re served with a sauce made of yellow split peas, tomato, onion, garlic. Yogurt is also poured over the top. If you love your meat, Kebab Hojat is your stop – the charcoal grill will make your mouth water (below).

Kebab Hojak Merrylands

Kebab Hojat, Merrylands

Photos and videos used are courtesy of noodlies, Sydney food blog. You can read more about Taste’s Afghanistan to Persia food tour at noodlies.

If you’re looking for a different and interesting experience than the usual, pricey fine diner – a cultural food tour might tick all the boxes.

UPDATE: I did Taste Food Tour’s Ramadan Night Markets in Lakemba last night. It was amazing, check out the video below.

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Credit: This amazing Merrylands experience was thanks to Taste Food Tours (they do heaps of tours all over Sydney).