Fly me to the Moon Festival

Cabramatta Moon Festival 2013

Things are bagging out down Illawarra way. And I mean that in the literal sense as we’ve arranged a special meet and greet with some cool creepy-crawlies as part of Illawara Fly’s Bugs @ the Fly school holiday event.

Introductions begin with a hirsute Wolf Spider, a grotesque beast of a thing who I’m pleased to say is kept behind glass. Then comes a lairy pair of perfectly pretty Rainbow Stag Beetles who shimmer and shine like cheap costume jewellery which Sugarpuff thinks would make nice earrings. Raffles is entranced but Sugarpuff, on discovering that the incredible insects aren’t about to become additions to her jewellery box, heads with her dad to the gift shop to make out with a fluffy python or two.

Back in bugland, Raffles is getting touchy feely with some other interesting invertebrates including a super-cool Spiny Leaf Stick Insect…

Bugs @ The Fly

And this dinosaur, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach.

That not a cockroach, THIS is a cockroach

The ‘roach is so freaking big and so awesomely strong that he declares it a Teenage Mutant Ninja Cockroach – high praise indeed from my mutant loving boy.

Giant Burrowing Cockroach at Illawarra Fly

In a slightly macabre twist, on our trip home, our creepy-crawly meet and greet turns to into a meet and eat as Raffles finds himself noshing on some of his new pal’s cousins.

On a weekend whim we decide to stop by Cabramatta for some Vietnamese vittles to find the annual Moon Festival celebrations in swing. The kids are quickly joining in. They jump and sing and chase down a dancing lion or seven.

who needs a constume - lion dancing boy

They bang some gongs and collect enough balloons to send the pair of them floating into outer space.

He bangs the drums

The whole of Cabramatta’s John Street is a buzz of people, colour, noise and, of course, tantalising smells.

Lotus at the Moon Festival Cabramatta

There are steaming bowls of pho tai (beef noodle soup) big enough to swim in.

the kid loves pho

Platters of Com Dac Biet (a quirky combo of rice with pork chop, minced pork, noodles, egg and fried rice) to shovel.

Com Dac Biet

Piles of delicious zongzi (sticky rice parcels) to unravel and comsume.

zongzi at Cabramatta Moon festival

A fabulous duck and bamboo shoot noodle soup is nothing short of an epiphany.

Duck and bamboo shoot noodle soup

Not to mention the plates and plates of steaming hot dumplings. We willingly scoff it all but even after consuming his own body-weight in Vietnamese food Raffles remains hungry.

A packet of traditional mooncakes fills a little more of his tardis like belly but, having now devoured enough to make a dozen sumo wrestlers feel bloated, my little compactus still swears he’s wasting away from starvation.

mooncake at Cabramatta Moon FestivalSo when we stumble across Butterfly Skye and her stall of edible insects, we put him to the test. How hungry is he really?

Hungry enough to eat a packet of mixed bugs it would seem.

chocolate critters from the Edible Bug Shop

A chocolate-coated mealworm here, a choc-dipped cockroach there and a couple of choccy crickets as garnish almost do the trick, but he is disappointed when he discovers the stall is all out of scorpions and tarantulas.

Whilst Raffles thinks the edible insects are just ok, Sugarpuff is in a frenzy of chocolate bug bliss and is begging for more… neither of them appears to notice that their cowardly parents are not joining in the insect inhalation.

For those of you more squeamish than my little weirdos, and who may think it odd that I’m actually allowing my children to eat worms and cockroaches, it’s not their first time at scoffing insects. And as it happens, bugs are extremely nutritious and a great sustainable protein alternative. Most bugs are also high in calcium, iron, essential amino and fatty acids but low in fat.

The only thing even remotely unhealthy about these ones is the wads of chocolate they’re coated in. But give us a break, it’s a festival and buggers can’t be choosers.

18 Comments on Fly me to the Moon Festival

  1. dad down under
    September 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm (11 years ago)

    Your boy is destined to star on the big stage, I’m convinced of it, he oozes charisma

      September 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm (11 years ago)

      He certainly has a way with cockroaches 😉

  2. yinyangmother
    September 26, 2013 at 9:15 pm (11 years ago)

    That was one adventurous day! Adventure certainly fuels a boy’s hunger, but I’d stop at bugs.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm (11 years ago)

      Hehe. I swear Raffles would eat us if we didn’t move fast!

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    September 27, 2013 at 12:40 am (11 years ago)

    OMG I would have run screaming from that massive cockroach! I was even squeamish looking at it so close to his open mouth-eek! :O

      October 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm (11 years ago)

      He’s a brave lad. And the giant cockroach seemed somehow less cockroachy up close. Or I would have passed out.

  4. Have a laugh on me
    September 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm (11 years ago)

    My kids would FREAK at the cocky but would LOVE the ropes, as would I!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm (11 years ago)

      It’s a great day out, even without the cockroaches, Em 🙂

  5. Rachel
    September 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm (11 years ago)

    Wow the tree top walk in the Illawara looks just magical! Amazing views and your hub and little fella do look like cheeky ghosts. I think my boys are too old to get into chocolate bugs but they would be most impressed that Raffles was willing to try them!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks Rachel. He’s pretty fearless with food.

  6. FreshHomeCook
    September 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm (11 years ago)

    Now that is a big cockroach!! I think my little man would love seeing that too – but he would pass on the choc coated version!! 🙂
    I am in awe of the food Raffles will eat – I would love to see my kids enjoy that diversity!!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm (11 years ago)

      I’m really lucky with Raffles. He really is brave when it comes to cuisine. 🙂

  7. theveggiemama
    September 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m tough with cockroaches! Wouldn’t eat one, though haha

      October 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm (11 years ago)

      Yeah, I wasn’t exactly queuing up for one myself 😉

  8. TriGirl
    October 1, 2013 at 1:31 am (11 years ago)

    What a beautiful forest! And you have some very brave children! Start them young and they’ll be adventurous for life, right?

      October 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm (11 years ago)

      THat’s the plan, Tri-Girl. I want to raise fearless children and so far it seems to be working!

  9. Michelle Liew
    October 1, 2013 at 2:27 am (11 years ago)

    Looks like you’ve had a great time! Thanks for sharing!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm (11 years ago)

      We did have a great time. I heartily recommend Illawarra Fly and CAbramatta as great day trips for families.


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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