The best comfort food you can get in Darwin is “Laska” eat it Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
If you don’t know what a Laska is and have been to Darwin well you better get on the next plane back to Darwin! You’ve missed Mary’s famous Laska at Parap Markets.
A laska is a spicy Malaysian soup made from Asian spices, chilli, candlenuts, and coconut milk, served over homemade rice noodles, lettuce and your choice of toppings.
For well over 20 years people have flocked to Parap Markets to enjoy one of Mary’s delicious laskas.
Whatever time you arrive expect a line up. They are usually pretty quick but if you have to wait it’s WORTH IT. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Mary has an amazing memory she can remember which soup you order if you want chilli and coriander and even if you haven’t ordered for 2 years or more she rarely gets it wrong.
I have a friend who hasn’t lived in Darwin for 10 years and Mary said when she saw him “Oh I haven’t seen you for awhile? You still want chicken laska, chilli, coriander?”
Which is what he always ordered!
There are many different Laska’s to choose from chicken, beef, veggie, seafood, BBQ pork, wonton or they are happy to create your own personal Laska.
Love it or hate it every laska comes with a piece of tofu which looks like a sponge. This is my favourite part as the tofu collects all the flavours of the rich spicy coconut soup.
Mary does not just serve Laska’s but also noodle soup which you can also choose to have beef, chicken, wontons, seafood, vegies or a combination.
You must also try Mary’s mothers green pawpaw salad made fresh when you order. Paw Paw’s are grated and then pounded in a large mortar and with a wooden pestle. Fish sauce, peanuts, chilli, tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and brown sugar is added and pounded together. The amount of chilli added is how hot you like it. Medium is 2 birds eye chillies.
So what are you doing next Saturday? I’ve talked myself into a Chicken Laska chilli & coriander!!
See you at Darwin’s Parap Markets and in the meantime, let me know your favourite place for a delicious laksa.
After long delays with getting the final building permit, the new tavern at Berry Springs has finally opened. “It has been a Berry long wait for a beer!” quoted the NT News.
Berry Springs is about a 40-45 minute drive from Darwin if you go via Finn Road or about an hour if you take the Stuart Highway. We opted for Finn Road as our friends had never driven that way before so a bit of a scenic drive and something new for them.
There is not much out at Berry Springs, it’s just a little town which you pass through to get to Litchfield Park, Dundee Beach, Bynoe Harbour and Mandorah. The Territory Wildlife Park is the main attraction which is definitely worth spending the day at. A couple of tourist parks which Tumbling Waters is very popular with tourists and locals, a few service shops, the school and now the Pub.
So with no markets to go to now on Sunday at Mindil Beach, our friends took us on a Sunday drive to check it out.
The verandah was full of people, families and a few motor bike enthusiasts. We walked inside and it was the same, the place was packed. Good thing we booked a table as everyone must have had the same idea or have been thirsty for a very long time.
The line up was about four deep but the service was good so you didn’t have to wait long and the beer was nice and cold when it arrived.
But while we waited for our husbands to get the drinks my friend and I both spotted the same thing. This place was thong city. Everyone was wearing thongs, mainly black, except a few guys who must know comfort and how to look after their feet. They had lime green and blue/green Slappa’s Thongs on.
We had a bit of a wait for lunch but that is understandable as the tavern had just opened a few days again so we can’t be too hard on them. Worth the wait the food was delicious and the table service polite, friendly, constantly giving us updates on when our food would be ready and keeping the place tidy.
With our bellies full and a pleasant day had by all it was off back to the big smoke and back to reality.
It was great to see good old traditions are still allowed in little country pubs. If you want to fit in with the locals wear your thongs, preferably Slappa’s Thongs of course!
I recommend that you get out to Berry Springs Tavern yourself and check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts ( and your Slappa count!)
In Darwin, our kids get four weeks holidays in the dry season in the middle of the year and six weeks holidays for the Christmas break.
You’ll understand why Darwin is the home capital to the best thongs in the world, when you learn that during our dry season the temperature is a glorious 30-32 degrees Celsius every day and the wet season is hotter.
In the Slappa’s Thongs household, we exploit this to the full – and plan a few school holiday days – by chilling at the Darwin Waterfront.
Surrounded by lush, green parkland, the Waterfront has a fantastic wave pool lagoon, along with a safe recreation beach that is free from crocodiles and stingers (jellyfish).
The beach is half natural and half man-made and it’s my preferred choice when I’m entertaining four kids.
The Waterfront features a large hotel car park where you get two hours free or pay $2 for three hours.
However, when its school holidays and our plan is to stay as long as possible, my tip is to park under the Darwin Convention Centre which costs $5 for the whole day. Bargain!
There are restaurants, bars and cafes all around the parkland but you can also bring your own provisions and have a picnic.
In my experience, this is the easiest way to organise school holiday days, get some peace of mind, keep the kids occupied, and road test some new Slappa’s Thongs out under the glorious Darwin sky.
“Who said Melbourne has the best coffee?”
The pace has certainly picked up over the last few years when it comes to great coffee shops in Darwin. Having lived in Darwin for over 20 years I can say The Cool Spot at Fannie Bay, Duck’s Nuts in the City and The Groove Café in Nightcliff now have some serious competitors.
Here’s my list of the top 8 coffee shops in Darwin. Is yours amongst them?
The Cool Spot in my mind has to be the most consistent and reliable coffee maker in Darwin. Some may say I am bias as it is my local coffee shop but why has no other coffee shop opened in the same complex? It speaks for its self.
They use the ever popular and I also say almost fail proof Vittoria Oro Coffee even a bad barista can produce good coffee. My coffee is also being made by the same barista’s for over 10 years.
A fantastic place to meet friends or take the kids after school for a milk shake or locally made Locastro ice cream. They also have a divine selection of locally made cakes and Greek deserts.
Duck’s Nuts boasts they have the best barista in town! So you would expect a great coffee which I am happy to say they do know how to make a great coffee. Currently using Di Bella coffee from Fremantle, it has a smooth, balanced and refined flavour. My experiences have been memorable and the quality is consistent.
One thing to note about Duck’s Nuts is it is also a Bar, although separated expect on some occasions it may be a bit noisy. But don’t let this stop you having a great coffee, you can always take away, wander across the road and enjoy the views along the Esplanade. Don’t forget to grab one of the raw cheese cakes or bliss balls they sell. The Jaffa Bliss ball was like eating a really Jaffa.
If you prefer to drink organic coffee The Groove Café serves Fair Trade coffee from East Timor one of Darwin’s local neighbours. They make the most amazing muffins which change daily. Predominately vegetarian there is also meat dishes on offer. Has a hippy kinder atmosphere but they are always friendly and very relaxed.
Another old favourite is The Roma Bar in Cavenagh Street. Probably one of the oldest cafes in Darwin and a great breakfast venue. It is busy first thing in the morning because of the take away coffee rush but worth the wait. A perfect place to chill and read the newspaper over a few coffees, as one is never enough. If you stay long enough lunch is also a well worth option, the food is extremely fresh.
Eat at Martins located at Coconut Grove just off Dickward Drive (you will see his VW Kombi out the front) is a vegetarian café using mostly organic produce. A quite little place with a real community feel. They make the best raw juices along with their coffee. My friend also recommends the Chai Latte’s too. A great place to catch up with a friend.
Java Spice on Bennett Street in the City is the coffee shop you go to if you want morning or afternoon tea. They have great cakes and serve Illy coffee. When you walk into the coffee shop the air is filled with a mixture of spices, vanilla and of course coffee. The décor is Asian art deco if there is such a thing, mixed with eccentric art work. Once seated they offer you a cold towel to refresh yourself and take your order.
So a couple of newbie’s which have recently opened are Eva’s at the Botanical Gardens and the Laneway Café in Parap.
Eva’s has the ideal setting amongst the Botanical Gardens and operates from the heritage listed Wesleyan Church. It is beautiful in the Dry Season but not sure how it will go in the Wet season as most of the seating is outside. It is dog and kid friendly you can even have your dog sit next to you at the table, not sure if everyone likes this idea but works for me as my little Frankie is a mummy’s boy and likes to be close by. The café uses mostly organic produce and the prices reflex this. They serve Petra’s Raw Cakes which are delicious and coffee by Botanica which I enjoyed. Service is a little slow and disorganised but I’m sure this will improve. A point of difference is they do offer many different types of milk to have in your coffee, such as coconut and almond milk so probably a good spot for coffee lovers with allergies.
My final review is on the most recent café/coffee shop to open The Laneway Café in Parap. If you can get a table and seat you are lucky. This place from day one is packed all day. I have managed to get a seat a couple of times and other times I have chosen not to wait outside in the line up to get a table. Yes people line up outside waiting for a table. It is not a huge café and a lot of room is taken up by a big table which you need to share. Expect it to be noisy but I don’t think anyone cares. Besides that the menu offers a fresh alternative menu different from others, coffee (Campo) is good and you also get table service so don’t get too relaxed and walk out without paying.
It sounds like all I do is go out and drink coffee (in my dreams) however it is important to me to make the time to catch up once a week with a friend to have a coffee or two and is always great to check out some new places and keep going back to my local.
I’m keen to visit Alley Cats along Mitchell Street they also have Campos coffee but their specialty is their homemade sourdough bread. If you have been there or want to tell me your favourite coffee place I would love to hear.
“you’ll never want to take them off!”