Canberra Sri Lankan Community

Speech in the ACT Legislative Assembly

17 February 2016

I rise this evening to talk about the ongoing food fairs organised by Canberra’s Sri Lankan community. On the third Saturday of each month the Sri Lankan Buddhist community in Canberra organise two food fairs around Canberra. The fairs are held respectively in the north of Canberra, usually at the Gungahlin Community Centre, as well as the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in Kambah.

All food sold at these fairs are Sri Lankan delicacies, and cooked and provided by members of the Sri Lankan community. Food fairs are very popular. Indeed, some foods are so popular that they are available as take-home packs to store and eat during the week, and they are very popular.

Revenue collected from these fairs is currently being directed towards the upkeep of the temple in Kambah, as well as fundraising for the construction of a new temple in Canberra’s north.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Sri Lankan food fair at the Gungahlin community centre. There is a variety of Sri Lankan foods on offer. I was introduced to hoppers, a type of crepe with a crusty edge with a soft centre. Hoppers are usually made from fermented rice flower and coconut milk, and come in a number of varieties including plain hoppers, egg hoppers, and string hoppers.

Other foods on offer included Thosai, a form of fermented crepe, and Sri Lankan fish cutlets, a type of fish ball which goes well as a side to—as a side dish to most rice and curry dishes. A variety of different hot and spicy curries were all available and all cooked by volunteers.

As well as hosting food fairs once a month, the Sri Lankan community had a couple of stalls at last weekend’s National Multicultural Festival. Unsurprisingly, the food was a big hit.

I would like to acknowledge all those who organise the food fairs, as well as those who donate their time to cook and sell the cuisine. All involved do a wonderful job of promoting their culture and working towards the betterment of the Sri Lankan community here in the ACT.

I encourage all members to attend the Sri Lankan food fair in the coming months. I congratulate the Sri Lankan community for hosting these ongoing events. I wish them all the best for their fundraising efforts.