For an authentic New Year experience that eschews the commercial it's hard to beat the Vietnamese Tet (New Year) celebrations held on a sports field near Darra. For the Vietnamese community this is the biggest and most sacred festival on their calendar.
Featuring an open air stage, a retro style side show alley and petting zoo and a whole host of delicious cheap hawker stalls selling pork ball and chicken skewers, fried rice, beef in betel leaves, coconut jelly and coconut pandan waffles, dragonfruit and sugar cane juice, the main concession to the handful of Western attendees is a burger stand and a VB tent.
Watching the small army of Vietnamese women who sit in the rear of the tents industriously chopping and wrapping the fresh fare is a reminder of the still-labour intensive nature of the culture and cuisine.
The standout for food though is the pho tent, a large marquee where impeccably dressed Vietnamese families, some in traditional costume sit at long white clothed tables and partake in generous bowls of fabulous pho before heading off to the main outdoor stage to watch the dragon dance and performers from the range of local Asian and Islander cultures perform under the stars.
Arrive prior to 5.30 before the crowds descend and parking (for a fee) is still plentiful.