Let’s feast! A Middle Eastern night market is coming to Sydney for one night only.
Farah Celjo

20 Jul 2016 - 6:33 PM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2016 - 10:52 PM

The generous hospitality of the Middle East has inspired a colourful night market due to flower in Sydney Thursday July 21st. From 6pm COMMUNE and Act For Peace have teamed up to bring Eid: Middle Eastern Night Markets to Waterloo.

Samir Ali, the founder of the COMMUNE event space, has organised the evening to celebrate two important occasions: Eid, which marks the end of the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan, and also the successes of this year’s ‘Ration Challenge’, which raised  $2 million for Syrian refugees - this will be enough money to feed more than 7000 refugees for a year.

When asked how this market idea came about Samir said, “I was in the Middle East at the end of last year and I did the Hajj pilgrimage, followed by spending a month in Egypt where my family is from. And what really stuck with me from that trip was the huge contrast of what I saw in the Middle East compared to what is portrayed in the media. I thought if I could do anything I thought I could hopefully bring some of that positive and very beautiful hospitality that I experienced on my trip, back to Sydney."

"Food [is] one of the easiest ways to get people together and talking in Australia and I had the idea to make it an Eid celebration that was very open and welcoming of all cultures."

Eid is a time of fun festivities, generosity and feasting and this market hopes to evoke that same sentiment. Expect a night filled with food, fashion, arts and crafts alongside LIVE music - Arabic hip-hop and Iraqi slam poetry just to name a couple - all with some Middle Eastern flair. Act For Peace will also have a photography exhibition that will showcase the images and portraits from travels in Syria and Jordan.  

"I’ve picked things to try and show the multi-faceted and deeply rich culture that we come from,” Samir says.

Whether you are sweet or savoury

Samir has tried to select foods that may be a little different, a little new and perhaps focus on dishes that people may have not have experienced before. A couple of things to look out for include salep - a popular hot milk beverage -  and koshari - a popular Egyptian plate of lentils, tomato and rice, vegan-friendly and delicious.

Check out our koshari recipe right here.


Entry is $10 for adults and kids are free and most of the profits will be donated to Act for Peace and the 'Ration Challenge', providing support, medicine and food to Syrian refugees.


The market will take place at 901 Bourke Street, Waterloo. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.
Here's a little Middle Eastern inspiration
Dukkah lamb cutlets with mint and pomegranate salad

It is so easy to put this dish together, and yet it makes such a big impact with its sharp, clean flavours. The hazelnut dukkah can be kept for up to a year – but I am sure you will eat it all before then! It is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Middle Eastern-spiced cauliflower soup

The difference between a good soup and an amazing soup often comes down to the stock, particularly in vegetarian recipes like this one. Here, a stock cube will suffice - as the recipe does contain plenty of spice - but to really respect your cauliflower, go for the best stock you can afford. This soup is quite thick, so if you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little extra stock or water.

Sweet cheese pastry (knafeh)

Popular throughout the Levant, this syrup-soaked cheese dessert is commonly encased with kataifi pastry, but this recipe from Sydney's modern Lebanese restaurant Embers Mezze Bar uses a crushed Corn Flakes and semolina mixture instead. The golden crust, topped with rose petals and pistachios, barely contains the molten cheese centre.