Eating Like a Mennonite…in Australia

Okay so Andrew and I travel sometimes. And when we travel, we’re not just seeing the sights… we’re also eating the food. From street food to Michelin-starred food, we eat it all. So when we were planning to visit Australia last year, Andrew immediately began researching restaurants. You know how the internet is — next thing we knew, he was in a rabbit hole. One click led to another, and suddenly he announced, “Hey, the chef of this Sydney restaurant is a Friesen. He’s gotta be a Mennonite… right?”

It didn’t take too much more online searching before confirming that he’s from Kleefeld, Manitoba!

Patrick Friesen has been making a real name for himself in the Sydney culinary scene. Because we were staying in Sydney, we chose to dine at his Cantonese restaurant, Queen Chow. And it was amazing. The duck! The dumplings! The stir-fried milk! (Yes, it’s really a thing! Kind of like a custard… rich and seafood-y, right up my alley.) The interior was really quirky and detailed, felt like we’d stepped into a story or a film set. If you’re in Sydney, you should totally go.

But you’re probably wondering, where’s the Mennonite food? No worries, here it comes…

We found some time for a quick ferry trip to Manly beach. On our way, Andrew mentioned that Patrick’s other restaurant, Papi Chulo, is “somewhere in Manly” — so maybe we’d find it, and maybe they could squeeze us in at the bar or something. We were trying fit in a lot of things during our time in Sydney so this ferry trip was not well-researched and was almost an afterthought. We kind of just went for it.

When the ferry docked in Manly, and we found ourselves looking right at it: Papi Chulo, right on the wharf. We hurried up to it — it wasn’t open yet. We didn’t have much time before whatever we had next on our personal itinerary, so, sadly, we could not dine there. But we were able to stare at the menu, and read: “Mennonite Farmer Sausage.” What?

That was maybe the last thing I expected to see in Australia.

Chef Patrick has studied this art extensively, and makes his own Farmer Sausage. I hear it’s very, very good. And why wouldn’t it be? He’s a Friesen from Kleefeld, after all.

We didn’t get to try it on this trip.

But maybe you will, when you go!