A Multicultural Christmas

The Market is home to more than 600 traders from many different backgrounds and cultures. Here we find out how some of our trader family will be celebrating Christmas this year.

Bruce Pham from Bruce Goose 

Your Background/ Nationality: Vietnamese

How long have you been trading at Queen Victoria Market? My mum started in 1987, my father in 1989 and I started in 1991.

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you celebrate?

My mother and father would always find an excuse for a family day get together with my mum preparing Vietnamese food and my sister preparing Aussie/Thai/Italian dishes. We would feast from lunch and then it would be time to open our Christmas presents. Most of the dishes we eat at Christmas time comprise a lot of fresh seafood from the Market like Tiger prawns, oysters, crabs and lobsters.

Do you have any Christmas traditions or family stories to tell?

There would always be different dishes with many multicultural foods to make it interesting, but we always had our favourite dessert of Mango Gateau alongside Kensington Pride mangoes, rock melon and cherries.

What’s your go-to Christmas dish? Where does this dish come from? Is it a family recipe or where did it derive from? And could you share the recipe with us here?

Every year the surprise for us is the way the food is cooked.

What will be on your Christmas lunch/dinner table this year?

Varieties of seafood and tropical fruits.

What do you do with your Christmas left-overs? Any secrets to share as to how to make good use of them?

My Mum reinvents the left-overs into her own Vietnamese-style dishes. All left-overs become the week’s market trading lunches until they’re finished.

Any hot tips on what will be a popular item from your stall this Christmas?

Tropical fruit socks is the theme for this Christmas.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

Spending time with my family and kids as I am always so busy running the business at the Market!


John Pontelandolfo from Tomato City

Your Background/ Nationality: Molise, Italy. My grandfather came to Australia in 1927 and my father came to Australia in 1940 just as war broke out with the Italians.

How long have you been trading at Queen Victoria Market?  73 years. My father started at age 19 in 1946, and I have been doing full time for about 30 years.

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you celebrate?

When my grandfather was alive he was the patriarch of the family. Christmas was always at his house. It was not unusual to have 40+ people at his house. Families grow and move on, now my mother does Christmas for about 15 people. We always eat at home Christmas day. Never out.

When we were younger, we would finish Christmas eve at the market and go home to  my Mother’s house, she and my Aunts would make hand made pasta. Then they would play cards till midnight, and then go to church. Now we only do Christmas day. And all meet again the day after to eat left overs.

Do you have any Christmas traditions or family stories to tell?    

For us it’s always being together at Christmas. We always talk about how different the weather can be on Christmas Day. One year we lit the open fire at my Grandfather’s because it was extremely cold and the next year it was so hot, people went down under the house into the cellar.

What’s your go-to Christmas dish? Where does this dish come from? Is it a family recipe or where did it derive from? And could you share the recipe with us here?   

Always starting with our antipasto of home-made sausages, home-made bacon, home-made prosciutto and porchetta [roasted pork belly].

What will be on your Christmas lunch/dinner table this year?

Antipasto of our  own sausage, bacon, prosciutto  porchetta, home grown and cured olives, and cheeses. Then pasta, ravioli or an egg pasta…followed by meat cooked in the sauce, garlic prawns, roast chicken and vegies and salad. Followed by fresh fruit ,coffee and maybe icecream. Mid afternoon, coffee and cakes, then if you can still breathe we have salad and meats for dinner.

What do you do with your Christmas left-overs? Any secrets to share as to how to make good use of them?

Yes we go back the next day and finish them off.

Any hot tips on what will be a popular item from your stall this Christmas?

Tomatoes, beetroot and carrots for the roast.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

To spend another healthy, happy Christmas with my parents, wife children and cousins.


Kris Robinson from Art n Groove

Your Background/ Nationality: Irish

How long have you been trading at Queen Victoria Market? 5 years

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you celebrate?

We always have Christmas day at home with family. I have 3 children so in the morning we check out what Santa has brought. Then its Christmas breakfast before we all head off to mass the kids love that.

Do you have any Christmas traditions or family stories to tell?

One favourite story is how when I emigrated to Australia I arrived on Christmas day at 7pm to surprise the kids who had moved out 6 months beforehand.

What’s your go-to Christmas dish? Where does this dish come from? Is it a family recipe or where did it derive from? And could you share the recipe with us here?

We have the traditional honey glazed ham, turkey, roast spuds with duck fat, pumpkin now adorns the table after moving to Australia. We also have onions in a whiskey gravy which is a wee Irish number.

What will be on your Christmas lunch/dinner table this year?

As above with prawn starter and apple pie for dessert.

What do you do with your Christmas left-overs? Any secrets to share as to how to make good use of them?

My wife goes mad but boy do I hate left overs – can’t have them at all!

Any hot tips on what will be a popular item from your stall this Christmas?

This year, it looks like the new Joker movie images are the one and with the last episode in the Star Wars series due for release in December this should make it a very Jedi Christmas at my stall!

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

Can’t say! Don’t like to make it easy for the wife!!


Kunle Adesua & Rosie Fenech from Tribal Taste Foods

Your Background/ Nationality: Kunle is from Yoruba (from Nigeria in West Africa), Rosie is Australian born Maltese

How long have you been trading at Queen Victoria Market? Since 2002

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you celebrate?

We celebrate Christmas lunch with our daughter at our cousin’s home. This is very much  ‘Aussie Christmas’ with marquees set up on her lawn amidst spectacular gardens. We are usually exhausted after the very busy Christmas trading at the Market but manage to prepare our food contribution. Christmas lunch is about celebration and family.

Do you have any Christmas traditions or family stories to tell?

Family traditions are all about food, pudding and cricket. Christmas Day wouldn’t be the same without the family playing cricket. So grateful to celebrate with family.

What’s your go-to Christmas dish? Where does this dish come from? Is it a family recipe or where did it derive from? And could you share the recipe with us here?

My go to Christmas dish is our smoked salmon pesto pasta salad. It is a showstopper dish and all time favourite. Kunle looks after the vegetarians and pescetarians in the family bringing a chunky eggplant sauce or whole fish.

What will be on your Christmas lunch/dinner table this year?

Our Christmas lunch is abundant with each family contributing their favourite dish. Roast turkey, ham, stuffed pumpkin. I look forward to Aunty Dot’s beautiful Christmas pudding. It’s set on fire and served with custard and cream. Family lunch is about tradition.

What do you do with your Christmas left-overs? Any secrets to share as to how to make good use of them?

There aren’t a lot of left overs at our Christmas lunch. If there are any they are put to good use on Boxing Day and certainly never thrown out!

Any hot tips on what will be a popular item from your stall this Christmas?

Chef Kunle has prepared a fabulous menu of signature, small batch made, smoked goods. Tribal Tastes products are free from chemicals and preservatives and are suitable for gluten free and keto customers.

Kunle’s famous ‘hot-smoked’ salmon is the highlight of our offer. Recipe cards for the smoked salmon and pesto salad are available online and in store.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

A restful and safe period enjoyed with family and friends.


Chris and Olivia Gavriel from the Corner Chicken Shop

Your Background/ Nationality: Greek/Cypriot

How long have you been trading at Queen Victoria Market? More than 11 years.

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you celebrate?

Big. With lots of people. Chris comes from a family where both parents having nine siblings each! Chris has over 26 first cousins on each side, so a gathering for Christmas is very big and very special.

Do you have any Christmas traditions or family stories to tell?

Traditionally every single year since Chris was little, we gather together with his mum’s side of the family every Christmas Day for dinner. Every year the task to host is done via pulling a name out of a hat the year before. So your turn will come around once every six years because the family is so big and we include New Year’s and Easter in that too. We have also started to gather in more recent years with Chris’ Dad’s side on Boxing Day.

What’s your go-to Christmas dish?  

Turkey of course. Although we begin to look like turkeys by the end of Christmas Eve after working the long hours at the shop we still present one at Christmas.

Where does this dish come from? Is it a family recipe or where did it derive from? And could you share the recipe with us here?

Olivia has been perfecting the turkey roll over the years (17 years in the poultry game) and it’s so good that we now present all our customers with our cooking instructions we personally use for our turkey roll. The instructions are available to print online here or we have them printed in the shop to collect with your order.

What will be on your Christmas lunch/dinner table this year?

A bit of everything. Seeing as the gathering is so big, everyone brings a plate. It varies from sweet to savoury but to be honest, there is very little left by the end of our celebrations!

What do you do with your Christmas left-overs? Any secrets to share as to how to make good use of them?

We came up with a few ideas for the leftover turkey (if there ever was any) but our favourite would be a turkey stock. Nothing makes a better stock than the roasted bones and the stuffing flavours (our personal favourite is the sage and onion we make for the shop), it really adds to the stock flavour too.

Any hot tips on what will be a popular item from your stall this Christmas?

The turkey fillet roll is the most popular. It’s so easy and convenient to roast carve and present. Some people get overwhelmed by the whole turkey concept but the turkey fillet roll is a great alternative and a lot less fuss too.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

It’ll probably be sleep come the 25th of December but with our beautiful daughters eager for the opening of presents (at the crack of dawn I’m sure), what’s another day! After all, we do all of this for them right?!

To browse our other Christmas offerings and what’s on, click here.

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