Chinatown 30: not all Chinese

There is a bit of a jacaranda war between this blog and Stumbling on Melons. Marcellous has scored with Sydney’s best known jacaranda, but on the other hand he rightly says the short jacaranda season has peaked. Nonetheless, here is yesterday’s jacaranda in Belmore Park around 4 pm. Still looking for THE light!

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I’m still fascinated by park sleepers… Except these have kept most of their clothes on. So Sydney, this.

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Chinatown and Haymarket is by no means all Chinese. In a true multicultural spirit it embraces the traditional…

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… even if this is a nostalgic revival, the original being down by the naval base in Potts Point/Woolloomooloo. But it seems to do good business.

Then there is Cyril’s, a venerable institution if ever, reflective of the central European influx after World War II and the 1950s when “ham and beef shops” began selling rather more than devon, and became delicatessens.

Vincenc arrived here from Czechoslovakia in 1949, opening his deli, Cyril’s, in 1956. It has not moved from Hay Street in Haymarket since. The wholesale fruit-and-vegetable markets were nearby back then and there were at least 10 delis in the area… Today, Cyril’s still smells deliciously like a deli – the shelves are piled with middle and northern European delicacies, smoked trout sit on the counter top, the freezer is full of pelmeny and piroshki and plump corn-fed ducks wait behind the glass-fronted cabinet. Two young women are asking Vincenc questions, in Polish. "They are students," he tells me later. "They want a properly fermented cucumber and I speak their language."

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Original photos by Neil Whitfield 2008

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