Even though his breakout 2006 debut album is called Food & Liquor, we weren’t sure how big of a food guy Lupe Fiasco was. This all changed when his reps reached out to Food Republic to see if we’d be interested in publishing some of his culinary writing from an upcoming tour of Australia (April 14-22). We recently hashed out a game plan on the phone—which involves Malaysian chicken, barramundi and the quest to uncover real Aboriginal food. Check back next week for his first installment.
Is there a city in Australia that you’re particularly feeling, in terms of the food?
Melbourne is pretty good for food. But Sydney, man, that is good too. Those are the food cities, I’m telling you.
When I was in Melbourne, I went to some crazy spots. Go to Vue de Monde (if somebody else is paying). When you think of Melbourne food, what do you think about?
The selection is very international. There are whole blocks of Italian restaurants. There are whole blocks of bakeries and Chinese restaurants. It reminds me a lot of Chicago in that sense. Like in Greek Town there are real Greek restaurants.
What types of food are you looking forward to the most?
My diet is somewhat restrictive. I try to eat halal as much as I can because I’m Muslim. Last time I was in Melbourne I found this Malaysian café and they had this barbecue chicken dish that was just awesome. I ate it like every day.
Let’s talk about Sydney. It’s got a little different vibe you feel…
Sydney is more like a mix of San Diego, Miami and maybe a little San Francisco. The feel and vibe is definitely a complete 180 from Melbourne. Whenever I go to Sydney, I always get tons and tons of seafood.
It’s some of the best in the world. What kind of seafood are you eating?
I always get barramundi when I go to Sydney. It’s a really meaty fish that I guess you could relate to a tilapia. It’s almost a national dish. It’s the Australian fish for sure. There’s a place called Fishmonger’s. It’s almost like a little franchise across the country, but there’s only maybe three or four of them and they’re mostly near the beach. The one in Sydney is actually near Bondi Beach.
Who are you touring with in Australia?
This tour is called Supafast, which is more of a hip-hop and R&B tour. Chris Brown is headlining. Rick Ross is headlining. I was almost reluctant to do it because I’ve done the cream of the crop tour in Australia [Big Day Out]. But any chance to go to Australia, I’ll take it. It’s almost like a vacation tour.
Are you looking forward to going out to dinner with any of the people you mentioned?
The last time I went with Australia I was with a bunch of locals and those were the best meals I had. One of the big comedians down there, I got invited to his house for barbecue.
I always find myself running around with the locals. Last time I went I bumped into Mary J. Blige and it was her first time ever in Australia. That was a few years ago. I was like ‘Wow, you’ve never been here?’ Now, I’m sure there are some people on tour who’ve never been. I’ll have to show them around.
What do you like to eat before shows? Any food rituals?
I try not to eat a lot before shows. For instance, the last show I had was in Dayton, Ohio and I ate like a lobster roll at some random place. It was actually really bangin’. It depends on what city we’re at. If we’re in Philadelphia, we eat cheesesteaks all day. If we’re in New York, there’s this soul food spot in Brooklyn called Soul Spot. That’s off the chain.
I look forward to your food blogging and challenge you to eat some things you haven’t had before. We want to hear about your discoveries Down Under!
I’ll definitely run the gamut for you. One thing I haven’t had is true Aboriginal food. And there are some fast food spots down there that definitely have some items that need to be blogged about.