Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sarap in Parap

I was looking at my photos from last year's Darwin trip and was inspired again! The markets in Darwin were one of the highlights of a trip to NT, and we weren't even there for the famous Thursday/Sunday night Mindl beach markets. We headed to the Saturday morning Parap market on recommendation of Marion from Masterchef's and our great foodie's friends, to find the Green Papaya salad and Laksa. The markets are an ecclectic mix of Australian, indigenous Australian and Asian, all surrounding one block of a suburb on the outskirts of Darwin.

We had been advised to look for the woman with the big wooden pestle and mortar bashing the green papaya salad together. I guess we found her, and if we didn't (there seemed to be several large pestle and mortars on various stalls) it was certainly a salad worth the hunt. I regret not picking up one of the green papaya shavers (an implement I'm sure I could substitute with one of my mandolin slicer attachments, but it's just not the same!) as the salad was so expertly and quickly thrown together, with the shards of fruit, bashed up chilli, fish sauce and peanuts (I'm sure there's other secret ingredients). When I placed the order, I was asked how many chillis. I think we got two in our "medium" salad - I didn't want to be too blown away! It's a shame I wasn't in Darwin long enough to figure out how many I do - chillis that is - I think I could have gone hotter, but good to start off safe.

The market was bustling and surprisingly, despite the heat, the queue for the laksa was a few people deep. Not only was this the busiest, so the people were crammed in waiting for their turn to order and pick up their pots of spicy soup, but it was situated right in the heart of the market with the heat from the stalls and the day making us a little hot and bothered.

When ours finally arrived we escaped to a cool table under a tree to cool down, but the sweat didn't stop pouring off the brow with the heat of the laksa broth and the kick of the papaya salad. This, however, was sweat of contentment!

PS. Sarap means Delicious in Tagalog (the language my family in the Philippines speaks) I couldn't help thinking "how appropriate" the whole time I was in Parap markets!

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