So, I ate Darwin and I am convinced that I have come back at least five kilos heavier.
The first time round, I was a bit of a sucker and ate at the beach instead of the markets on the Thursday night. This time, I was no chump.
And just to clarify, I went twice to Darwin in the space of four weeks. Don't ask. At least it is warm.
What is there to say? Hawker food is great there. Real, dirty, hawker food. They also have this amazing satay stand at the Mindal beach markets. They also have way too many juice/smoothie stands. It makes me happy that I only saw one Boost in the whole of Darwin.
I also did something I had never done before- camped and be whisked off to a Bush-Doof (dirty hippies and horny European backpackers camping at Lichfield falls, taking heaps of drugs while dangerously jumping into shallow waters from ridiculous heights and publicly fornicating).
Hmm, I am too tired to rave about it, but basically, I love parts of nature, and hate parts of it. THe feeling is apparently mutual, and if there were not bush fires there already, I probably could have lit the land on fire with my rage at filth and pyro behaviour. Cooking in the bush is interesting, to say the least. Eskies are awesome.
We also went to the only Vietnamese joint in the city. They're alright, nothing to rave about, but I don't think that the locals realised that they also serve chinese food there as well. They're a little outrageous though, with the prices of pho starting at the $10.50 mark. Ridicerous.
Nirvana is worth a mention. It is a restaurant/bar/venue that offers thai, malaysian and indian fare. Their menu is broken up into four parts, but don't go overboard with the offerings. This makes me feel confident that they know what they're doing. We ate lightly grilled oysters with a lime and their own chili sauce. I don't think that it needed grilling, personally. Then, we ordered a red duck curry, beef massaman, fish masala, water spinach cooked in bean paste and roti. The party opted for coconut rice, while I settled with plain rice. I think the coconut rice would have murdered some of the flavours. We had to stay safe as we ate with our friend's parents, and we may have freaked them out.
The duck curry had great flavours, but I was a little skeptical with the duck that was obviously bought from a chinese restaurant that had just been sliced into the curry. Maybe I was thinking too much about Gingerboy's or Pearl's version.
The beef massaman was surprisingly good and probably the best dish of the night. Meltingly tender, but still maintaining bite and with many layers of flavour.
The fish masala was good, nothing to rave about, but good. It unfortunately couldn't stand up to the other dishes, and the obvious fillet pieces made it evident that they bought the fish in fillets rather than slicing it off the fish themselves.
The roti was great, house made. Flaky, oily goodness without being too oily.
The water spinach was great, but it is hard to fuck that up.
There was something on the menu that sounded enticing. Bugs cooked in the shell with a coconut cream and "Nirvana" sauce. I love Morton Bay Bugs and it is great if they cook it in the shell, but drowning it in cream and a nondescript sauce made my friends and I leave that out, we kind of wanted to taste the bugs.
They also probably have the best drinks menu of Darwin. They had several pages of beers as well as wines and do pretty damn good cocktails. All I have to say, is that I was surprised that Darwin managed to get a place to sell Chimay or Duvel, let alone Singha. Hooray.
Also, note that beer is probably the only cheap thing in Darwin, or cheaper than Melbourne. At Monsoons on Mitchell st, we only paid $12 for a jug of Coopers.
That is all that comes to mind at the moment, the adventure was a big one, which made coming back to reality quite jarring.