When you are in Darwin one of the things that you must do is visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. They are open every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season and well worth the trip even if you just go for the food (like I do). The markets are normally packed to the brim with locals and tourists alike and it can get a little argy bargy at times, especially after sunset when everyone who has been down on the beach verges on the food stalls for something to eat and drink. There isn’t just food at these markets there is local aboriginal art, local crafts, the odd junk shops and live bands and entertainment but again like I said, I really just go for the food. There is so much food to choose from at the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets that I get a little overwhelmed and don’t really know what to eat first. Choices include a myriad of Asian food (Thai, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Cambodian, Indian, yeah you get the picture), Aussie food, Greek, Italian, heaps of stores selling juices and smoothies and Mexican just to name a few.
Firstup, I can never go past my old favourite Thai dish, Som Tum or Papaya Salad. I went to the Ra Cha Asian Kitchen for this one. I have been there a few times and you can’t go wrong paying $5.00 for a large Som Tum. I always ask for chilli but not too much chilli because they do make it super hot sometimes and I have gotten to a point where I just cannot continue eating and have to give up eating my Som Tum halfway through due to it being inedible. Don’t get me wrong, I can eat chillibut I do have a limit. This Som Tum however was just right and judging by the line of people at this stall I think I was onto a winner. There are a few different stalls that sell Som Tum at the markets but I have found this one to be really good so I’l admit I haven’t tried any others however I have had a shitload of them in my time from other places as well as Thailand.
Next up, I couldn’t go past a half dozen of oysters from the Sunset Oyster Bar, natural of course with a squeeze of lemon. They do have variations of oysters on the menu including the usual Kilpatrick, and a few others such as Mornay, Thai and Japanese. The oysters are live from South Australia and shucked on site by a team of very quick shuckers.
This place does a roaring trade and I had to line up for about 10 minutes before I got served. The oysters are big and juicy and after I finished my half dozen for $8.50 (pretty good I reckon) I decided that I should have another half dozen because they were just too good to stop at 6. I am seriously surprised that this stall doesn’t run out of oysters since they are always flat out. They also serve things like prawn cocktails and mussels but the oysters win hands down since the prawns are imported and they don’t look that appertising.
So last but not least I went to try the Pho that I read about in the NT News a few weeks ago. According to the NT News this stall (the name is foregoing me at the moment but I will find out) has the best Pho in Darwin. I have to admit I haven’t been to Vietnam nor have I had Pho before but I read about it, then I visited the store and saw the queue and smelt the Pho aroma and so I decided that I wanted some Pho too. Well let me tell you, it was the best damn Pho I have ever had. Ok, ok it was the first but it was amazing. The broth was delicious and flavoursome and again for $8.50 you can’t go wrong! I got the Special Beef Pho, but there was Beef Ball Pho, Chicken Pho and Vegetarian Pho for those that like that kind of thing. I will definitely be back for more Pho next time I am in Darwin, I might even remember the name of the stall next time…
P.S: Ok so it does sound like I am major fatty eating all this food but it must be noted that all this food was consumed over two visits to the markets.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
Maria Livens Drive, Mindil Beach, Darwin NT 0801
Ph: (08) 89 813454
Opening Hours: Thursday 28th April to Thursday 27th October; Thursday 5pm -10pm, Sunday 4pm -9pm ( Sunday is a smaller market 3/4 of the Thurs)