C anberra locals are obsessed with pop up food events, and it’s easy to understand why. There’s just something about eating food made in a tent, sitting on the grass and enjoying the busy atmosphere. Usually these events come with music, dance, entertainment, a wide range of cultures and different foods, busy lines, lots of locals and a great time enjoyed by all.


The National Multicultural Festival kicked off this craze over 20 years ago and the growing popularity has led to other events also jumping on the band wagon. The multicultural festival takes place in the centre of Canberra every February. Every year the crowd grows as the festival brings entertainment shows, music, dance, activities, food stalls and celebrations for all cultures to enjoy together. The fun, free, family-friendly event bring together people from all different cultures and backgrounds to share stories and experiences from their culture, family and people. The Multicultural festival provides opportunities of cultural diversity and social inclusion for Canberrans from all walks of life.

With more than 280,000 people attending the event in 2017, the pop up event has evolved into one of the biggest events in Canberra.

Kebabs and rice at the National Multicultural Festival

Hotdog at the National Multicultural Festival


The growing trend of pop up food events in Canberra has encouraged others to join in the craze. Reconciliation Place held the Enlighten Night Noodle Markets again this year for the fourth year in a row which saw more than 43,000 visitors attend in the first weekend alone. The Asian influence behind the markets meant foodies had a chance to try foods they might not usually eat. Enlighten was a free entry event which was family and dog friendly. The atmosphere was lit up by colourful Chinese lanterns which added to the magical atmosphere. The outdoor markets hosted 21 food stalls with a mix of both eastern and western flavours. There was something for everyone.

Chinese lanterns lighting up the Night Noodle Markets

Waffle on a stick!
Dessert from Waffleland at the Noodle Markets


The newest member to join the pop up food event calendar was the Canberra Commons.

The Canberra Commons Street Feast ran for 10 days following the Spilt Milk Music Festival held at Commonwealth Park in early December. The food truck festival ran for its second-year last year and featured some amazing food vans not only from Canberra but other major cities as well. In its first year in 2016, the Commons attracted over 50,000 people over the 10 days to enjoy and indulge. The event hosted 20 food trucks, beer and wine bars, and entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy. The free event also boasted different games spread out around the picnic area including table tennis which really added to the family friendly appeal.

Graze Expectations vegan options


Burgers at the Commons Street Feast

It’s easy to see why Canberrans are so struck by pop up food events. If the event only takes place once a year everyone jumps at the opportunity as it’s something different to anything else on offer. It’s a chance to try different foods maybe outside of your comfort zone which makes the event really fun and special. As Canberra is such a small capital city it makes hosting these events quite easy compared to large populated cities like Melbourne or Sydney. The smaller scale event actually makes it more intimate and personal for event goers which brings locals closer together.

Even though the event might lighten the wallet and be a little more expensive than a normal night out for dinner it’s a chance for people to try food from every corner of the world and be a part of a special experience.

Definitely something any Canberra foodie needs to go and experience for themselves!

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