Secret Snacks 2022
01 July 2022 -
05 November 2022
Haymarket and Inner West
Secret Snacks celebrates the unsung heroes of Asian snack culture via interactive projects that connect artists and the public with food vendors and purveyors.
Eat your way through Sydney's Chinatown and Haymarket precincts with Secret Snacks—an interactive project that connects your mouth with a medley of treats available across restaurants, eateries, supermarkets, and food providers in the area! The evolving program involves digital campaigns, snack giveaways, snack tours, and food story-telling, and will eventually transform into a community inventory for all to enjoy.
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How Secret Snacks works
Across the year, 4A invites six Asian artists to pick a favourite snack that can be found in Sydney’s Haymarket or Chinatown and tell us what makes the snack special to them. We’ve teamed up with designer Joy Li to bring these snack profiles to life with her vibrant artworks that pay ode to childhood memories and nostalgic food branding.
We then invite the public to take part in a snack-sharing activity that will eventually lead to a beloved inventory of new and re-discovered dishes in the area, as well as snack tours led by 4A and Asian creatives. Hunt down new snacks or share your own via our Instagram. Here's how to do it.
Secret Snacks is produced by Mariam Arcilla for 4A and is supported by the City of Sydney.
Secret Snacker #1: EJ SON
Fancy something chewy? Try EJ SON’s secret snack: dried squid legs! 🦑
“It makes me feel kinda’ like a cowboy or a gangster to chew on a squid leg instead of a toothpick. It’s a pretty hardcore snack – its hardness and fishy flavours are not for the faint-hearted, so I eat it when I feel frustrated.”
Find this snack at Asian international supermarkets in Sydney’s Haymarket and Chinatown, including Thai Kee, Cosmos Korean grocery store, and Mido Mart.
Secret Snacker #2: Kalanjay Dhir
Artist and self-confessed fried food purveyor, Kalanjay Dhir, tells us about his go-to snack: fried skewers from Kwafood Fried Skewer 夸父炸串 at Dixon Street, Haymarket. 🍡
“I love fried snacks and I love skewers…but do you know what’s better than that? Sharing snacks with friends! There’s something about food being cooked and served on a stick that makes for an unrivalled culinary experience. Kwafood reminds me of a late night feed with friends. Make your own combo of Potato, peppers, tofu, chicken wings, lamb, mushrooms, covered in spice and deep fried ughhh, heaven is a place on earth.”
Secret Snacker #3: Nabilah Nordin
We stan pandan! 💚🥐🌱🍚 Our Secret Snack series continues with Nabilah Nordin’s penchant for all things pandan! The artist gives us an insight into her love for the aromatic screwpine:
“Pandan is my favourite fragrant plant. It is hearty, nutty, creamy, heart-warming. The smell of pandan is irresistible. Pandan is used in Nasi Lemak rice for fragrance, and is also used in my favourite desert Badak Berendam (soaking hippopotamus), Ondeh Ondeh, Kuih Lopes – these are all old traditional Malay desserts that have pandan as a key ingredient. I don’t get to eat pandan as often as I would like but when I’m with my family in Singapore I indulge in my love for pandan. It brings back so many childhood memories: I feel love and comfort. I feel connected to home and family.”
Discover pandan snacks at eateries and snack providers around Haymarket and Chinatown, including Mango Coco, Chat Thai, Yok yor, and Thai Kee! Hunt down the cult classic pandan custard on croissant at Boon Cafe. Stay tuned as we reveal more Secret Snackers in 2022 and 2023!
What qualities as a snack?
Snacks are usually light dishes and nibbles consumed in between meals—outside the normal staples of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They include morsels, packaged treats, drinks, entrees, and share meals.
What is a secret snack, then?
A secret snack could be anything from guilty pleasures to childhood drinks or candies shared among friends or on romantic dates. It could be a flavour-combo or fusion favourite or a long-forgotten treat that’s making a comeback! Ultimately, a secret snack can be a type of food that reflects your personality, eating habits, and taste profile.
When did Secret Snacks start?
Secret Snacks launched in 2021 as part of 4A's Lunar New Year program and featured big-slurp snacks selected by Benjamin Law, Kylie Kwong, Luisa Brimble, and James Jirat Patradoon. We commissioned More of Something Good to design our brand identity, which paid homage to Chinese lanterns and Lunar New Year red envelopes. Find out more here.
Why Secret Snacks?
Simply put, food is life and eating is an act of care and sustenance. Food culture is a universal connector to communal experiences; it empowers pathways for us to discover and preserve ethno-cultural histories, family memories, and social moments. Secret Snacks began as a way to help uplift food-based Haymarket and Chinatown businesses that were severely affected during the lockdown disruptions. We've teamed up with Asian creatives and designers to bring this project to life by sharing snacks stories in the hopes that this will inspire the community to explore or re-visit the wide-plated plethora of eats that contribute to our precinct's vibrant eating culture.
If you're not on Instagram but want to share a pic of your snack, email email@example.com and we'll feature this on IG Stories for you!
Top image: Secret Snacks cover image
Project design: Joy Li for 4A.