Food is much more than flavour to many of us. It can be deeply spiritual, hold cultural significance, evoke memories or encourage the retelling of stories. It’s important we recognize the many foodie cultures in our state’s restaurant and dining scene. One region in particular is going through a cultural dining renaissance, which is very exciting.
Take a trip up the range from Brisbane, and you’ll be in Toowoomba in an hour-and-a-half. The country town has its produce roots drilled firmly into the land, but they are now expanding!
The Mulberry Project is a collaboration of three community gardens throughout the town of Toowoomba, that bring together cultures from across the world to cultivate their fare.
From Sudan to the Middle East and everywhere in between, The Mulberry Project focuses on helping new migrants to Australia integrate into the community, all under the common language of food and produce. Owner Louise Noble says it all started by having a conversation with a South African man under her mulberry tree.
Take a stroll through the centre of Toowoomba and there are several restaurants opening up, offering diners more than just meat and three veg. One recent addition to Margaret Street is Chimac, a restaurant dedicated to selling the most authentic Korean fried chicken going round.
The name “Chimac” literally means “chicken and beer” in Korean. MJ, the owner, tells us that when in Korea, you can ask a friend if they would like to “do chimac” one night. This means heading out to a fried chicken bar to have a few drinks. He also tells us that if the father of the household brings home a full chicken at the end of the week, it has been a good week for the family, again showing a lovely cultural background to such a simple idea.
Finally, a country town wouldn’t be complete without a bakery. A bakery is often more than just a place of pastry, pies and pasties. The stories behind them are often steeped in family tradition or humble beginnings. The Baker’s Duck on Campbell Street started at little farmers markets, selling freshly baked sourdough to lines of loyal customers. Nowadays, the storefront is buzzing every morning, with people indulging in a great cuppa and an equally amazing delicacy baked fresh that morning.