The Northern Territory is best known for its national parks, waterfalls, big rocks and crocs, but if you know your way around, the food can be just as memorable. Whether it’s a food truck, white-linen dining, or some daring takes on local game, there’s something for everyone in the Top End.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
On Thursdays and Sundays from 4 pm to 9 pm, more than 200 specialty stores and food stalls operate, serving everything from world-class Indonesian laksa to kangaroo burgers at The Roadkill Cafe. You would have to eat here every night for the whole season to work your way through every stall.
Rapid Creek Markets
This is the place to find the freshest organic produce, as well as exotic Asian vegetables and fruits, such as dragon fruit and durian – the smelliest fruit on Earth. So smelly, in fact, that it’s banned in hotels, and on public transport and flights in Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand. The taste of durian is highly subjective. In 1856, English explorer Alfred Russel Wallace sent a letter to naturalist Sir William Jackson Hooker, describing durian as ‘a rich custard, highly flavoured with almonds… occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind [are] cream cheese, onion sauce, sherry wine and other incongruous dishes’. Truly a mouthful. Anthony Bourdain, who, despite enjoying durian, once said: ‘Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.’ But durian might not be the strangest thing you eat in the Northern Territory.
Barra Bar and Bistro at Cooinda Lodge
Cooinda Lodge is the jumping-off point for the spectacular Yellow Water Cruise in Kakadu National Park. It’s worth visiting for the cruise alone, but stick around at the Indigenous-owned and -run Cooinda Lodge and its Barra Bar and Bistro. Barra serves the Taste of Kakadu platter, featuring bush grub like smoked and marinated crocodile, chargrilled buffalo sausages, kangaroo fillet skewers, and barramundi pie served with Kakadu plum chilli sauce and bush tomato relish. The venue has a well-stocked bar with a good beer and wine selection, and is open late.
Read more about the tasting the Top End in the Winter 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!
Pictured: East Point Reserve. Image courtesy of Tourism NT