Buvette Masthead

Get ready for a food frenzy at The Forage

Michelle Brotohusodo

This is one of my favourite times of the year. Not because I just had my birthday (calories don’t count on one’s birthday) or it’s the lead up to Christmas. No, it’s because it’s time for another Forage!

If you haven’t heard of The Forage, you have seriously been missing out. Held quarterly, it’s a showcase of street food (and drinks and music) from Canberra and surrounding regions, the only one of its kind in the capital. And it just gets bigger and better each time.

This means all the choice can be a little overwhelming, so to help you out, here are some of my recommendations for what to eat and my strategies to maximise tasting as much as possible. Please note that I’m far from vegetarian, so most of these recommendations probably involve meat, BUT most of these vendors also have vegetarian options, so if you are vego, it’s still worth looking at their menus on the day. And there are two stalls specially for you—Sweet Bones Bakery and Bush Taco Girls are both vegan.

Mr Papa

Mr Papa is a Forage veteran. Their signature dish is the Chanchito, a Peruvian pork belly sandwich, which is just as good as it sounds. But don’t limit yourself to that—everything else I’ve tried from Mr Papa has been equally delicious, whether it be the alitas (chicken wings), empanadas, faites (a Peruvian burrito), or papas (stuffed potatoes). And they all go very well with a bottle of Inca Kola. If you can’t decide and want to try it all, buy one of each and split them with friends/family (I may have done this on several occasions…).

Mr Papa's food never disappoints


Hard Core Carnivore

If you need evidence of how tasty Hard Core Carnivore’s food is, it’s that they often sell out of some of their dishes well before closing time! So if you see something you like on their menu, best to get in quick! My favourite dish is the confit duck on grilled polenta with mushroom ragu and a rocket/beet salad—I’m crossing my fingers it’ll be on offer again.

Duck confit from Hard Core Carnivore


Miss Van’s

Those of you familiar with Westside Acton Park will have seen Miss Van’s in its permanent shipping container location. If you haven’t made it out there yet, then this is your chance to discover their delicious take on Vietnamese favourites. This includes pho (beef noodle soup, including an ox tail one, my favourite), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), and bun (noodle salad bowls).

Pho and banh mi from Miss Van's


The Brathaus

You can probably guess from the name that The Brathaus’ speciality is bratwurst. They offer several different kinds, all served on a crusty roll with German sauerkraut. I personally associate The Brathaus with the biggest schnitzels I’ve seen in Canberra. I once ordered a half size Jaeger schnitty from their van at The Hamlet, and it was huge and awesome. This is food you can share with others if you wish.

Jaeger schnitzel from The Brathaus


Burra Berkshires

Burra Berkshires specialises in dishes incorporating free range pasture pork grown on their property in Burra (but they do have a vegetarian option!). Their food is delicious and wholesome—I’m always surprised when healthy food tastes so good. You can choose from pulled pork or different kinds of meatballs (including a vegetarian option), and all of those come with delicious sides, like couscous, baked potato, and salad. These dishes are easily shared, and for those of you who have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant, you’ll be happy with this stall, because most of their options are gluten free.

Burra Berkshires - healthy and delicious


The One

The One is another resident of Westside Acton Park, specialising in American style pressed buns and Thai tacos. Their offerings are amazingly tasty, but be warned, they are BIG. If you want to try a few things, I would definitely recommend sharing!

American pressed sandwich halves and a Thai-style taco from The One


B St Bakery

I love B St Bakery. Everything I’ve ever had from there has been delectable. I know a lot of others agree, because this stall is almost completely wiped out by closing time, every time. If you see something you like at B St Bakery, I suggest you buy it then and there, because I can almost guarantee you it will be gone if you decide to ‘come back and get one later’. My strategy is to go there as soon as I arrive and buy everything I want right away. I would rather carry it all around with me than miss out.

Goodies from B St Bakery


Dream Cuisine

If you have a sweet tooth, a visit to Dream Cuisine is a must. Their macarons are my favourite in Canberra, and I recently discovered the amazingness that is their pastries. Their croissants are lovely, flaky layers of perfection, made with butter from the Butter Factory in Myrtleford. Dream Cuisine’s shop in Fyshwick (which also bakes for their shop Little Dreams in Braddon) goes through 60kg of this butter a week. Yum.

Pastries from Dream Cuisine


Babic Biscuiteers

Babic Biscuiteers’ biscuits are big, beautiful, and tasty (I couldn’t find a B adjective for the last one). Like B St Bakery, if you see something you like here, buy it right away, because these biscuits go like hot cakes (that was lame, I know—but it’s true!), and they do sell out. And if you’re full from everything else, these can be conveniently saved for later in the day, or the day after!

Delicious biscuits from Babic Biscuiteers


This is just a snapshot of what’s on offer at The Forage, remember there are lots of other food options too, as well as stalls showcasing some of the best local wine and beer, and some non-alcoholic options too.

Finally, I just want to note that I know there’s been some confusion lately between The Forage and a new market that’s popped up called The Foragers Market. They are not the same thing, nor are they owned by the same people. Make sure you put 5 December in your diary to experience this amazing food frenzy…and don’t forget to swing by the HerCanberra stand to say hi and pick up a free copy of issue 3 of Magazine!

The essentials
What: The Forage
When: 3-8pm, Saturday 5 December 2015
Where: Little National Hotel, 21 National Circuit, Barton
Web: theforage.com.au/


Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. More than 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author