Since living in Homebush West for a year and beginning to familiarise ourselves with general suburban western Sydney, we realised what a central and convenient suburb it was. Perhaps enough time time spent in most suburbs will give you a similar feeling as you discover lonely watering holes that serve good food, a discreet shortcut to a major access road or the way the local grocery store grows on you and you refuse to shop anywhere else. I would now advertise Homebush West (classically Flemington) as a great suburb to call home. Flemington is named after John Flemington who was granted 200 acres of land in the area in 1806 (Wikipeadia). The name of the suburb was changed to Homebush West when the Sydney Markets area was called Flemington.
I have already dropped the first jewel of this suburb - the Sydney Markets or Flemington markets. The markets were right across from our apartment on Marlborough Road - only Centenary Drive (an eight lane highway) separates us. Thank God for the underpass which is unfortunately not very well lit after sun down. The benefits of living a 15 minute walk away from the markets far outweighs the fall backs - at peak grocery times (maybe 9am to 2pm on a Saturday), there is traffic near the market entrance but it never takes you that long to get through. A handy tip - walk to and from the markets or if you have a car, get someone to pick you up after you've finished shopping from the Plaza side (near the Paddy's brewery which is easily accessible via Parramatta Road). Speaking from experience. If you're hungry, stop at the Cafe Toms for breakkie (they used to have a two-for-one Sunday breakfast) or head up to Tingha for salacious yum cha.
Having the markets close by is perfect for doing your fresh food grocery shopping on a Saturday, the seafood is cheaper and fresh, and there is also to a large extent, dry perishables as well. The Flower Market is great for wedding florists who come really early (4 am or 5 am). I tend to rock up around 8.30am when the remaining criers are dumping the last of the days' beauties for cheap.
On Sundays, the whole warehouse converts to Paddy's flea market - an interesting way to spend a couple of hours.
The Markets Plaza boasts a Paddy's Brewery with good wholesome pub food, a few slot machines and a weekly trivia night! It also has most of the major banks, a post office, a subway, a meat shop and other general retail stores.
One of my personal favourite reasons why the Markets are so wonderful is the train benefits (yes, I Heart CityRail). While most train stations (especially small ones the same size as Flemington station) have less services on weekends as compared to weekdays, Flemington station has twice as many trains stopping beacuse of the droves of folks who flock to the weekend markets. Mondays through Friday mostly only the Inner West line trains stop at Flemington (stopping at other tiny stations like Summer Hill, Petersham, Lewisham, Stanmore, Macdonaldtown etc). On Saturdays and Sundays, the limited stops South line (Museum to Campbelltown) trains also stop at Flemington).
If you believe public transport was meant for the public and have your own set of wheels like my other half, Marlborough Road is still a good location because it sits at the crossing of the main artery to go out west (the M4 motorway), the way out South and to the Airport (Centenary Drive) and is so close to Hume Highway as well. To go towards Epping or Ryde, you head the opposite direction on Homebush Bay drive. The nearest shopping centre is either Rhodes Shopping Centre (which has an Ikea) or Burwood Wesfields, both of which has cinemas. Even closer to us was Auburn Reading cinemas.
What else is good about Flemington or Homebush West?
Ah, the "Homebush West Shopping Centre" which is a T-shaped block of restaurants, Asian and sub-continental groecery stores and other useful stores. These are the ones I frequent:
1. Pyramid Video and Spice - for my Indian movies fix, curry leaves, curry powders, rice, banana chips. There are several other spice stores as well but I find it easier to stick to one! Pyramid has the best Malayalam movies collection too.
2.Sun Sun - a homely Chinese restaurant run by a friendly aunty from Hong Kong. We come here for the pork porridge with yee char kuey (or fried bread). The fried chicken laksa is an unusual take on the traditional Malaysian dish. The fried chicken comes on the side and you can dunk it in the laksa for quickie before biting into it.
3. Mithu's takeway for Indian curries and good vadais or puffs
4. Ram's takeway - for takeway idiappam, idli , thosai, and even really good Nasi Lemak takeway (on wekeends)
5. Gumballs - a franchise of Asian desserts - you can get cendol in a glass here and also fresh sugar cane juice made using that scary squeezy machine right at their doorstep. A wonderful treat during a balmy summer day.
6. Vani's beauty parlour - a good stop for anyone needing a facial or some threading done. With a loyalty card, your 11th visit is free!
7. A Chemist for medical needs
8. A few Asian grocery stores which sell Rambutan, Durian and Mangosteen in summer!!!
9. An Asian bakery which sells Coconut buns, Red bean bun, Green Pandan sponge cake and good old Egg tarts!
10. Happy BBQ which has delightful siew yoke (roast pork), roasted chicken and char siew (BBQ pork) with flavoured rice to eat in or take away. Make sure you ask for the ginger/green onion condiment on the side.
11. Fresh fish mongers where I can get my beloved ikan tenggiri (English - spanish mackeral).
The more I think of it, living in Flemington is pretty much like living in Klang. There is even a Chinese restaurant called Khai's where you can get Nasi Lemak, and yes, believe it or not, Bah Kut Teh!!! No wonder I loved it so much.
Visit Flemington, or even make it home, for a wonderful 'Asia in Australia' experience.
"Simple joys of meals,grateful am I indeed,Never worry how next it comes,But always hope for a delicious feed"