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Canberra Today 5°/6° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Food trucks take a little time 

​​Tikka Nest… barbecue chicken atop fries with salad, cheese and sour cream. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON gave up on the noodle queue and stumbled into some food-truck surprises.

ENLIGHTEN is as famous for its noodle markets and food trucks as it is for the lights and entertainment. 

Wendy Johnson.

Food trucks aren’t everyone’s scene, but they can dish up amazing street-style food, covering the flavours of many cultures.

Our destination? The Night Noodle Markets.

We were gobsmacked by the number of people lined up. It was the markets’ last night and it was dinner time, but we estimated at least 1000 waiting to get in. While the line seemed to be moving somewhat steadily – and we were impressed by the popularity (and success) – we changed tack and headed for the Bentspoke Beer Garden. 

Absorbing the live music on the Garden Stage, we did a lap and discovered Boss Burgers, Meat Wizard, The Italian Traveller, a donut truck and more.

I selected the Tsuru Food Truck. On the menu were bao and chips ($22), snack packs and chips ($22), Korean Corn Dog ($8.90 to $17.50) and chips and kewpie mayo ($12). 

Bao won the day and service was quick. Options are barbecue chicken teriyaki, barbecue hot and spicy pork belly or tofu teriyaki and shitake, and you can mix matters up since you get two buns. 

The pork belly was a taste sensation and fulfilled the hot and spicy promise. While the tofu wasn’t teriyaki intense, the strong, earthy flavour of the mushrooms shone through. Although this style of mushroom is meant to be pleasantly chewy, mine was more on the tough side. As for the fries? Thin and loaded with a spicy salt.

My friend opted for Indian from the Tikka Stand – fresh and authentic with 100 per cent halal meat. 

The flavours of the Tikka Nest were sensational ($19). The barbecue chicken was served on top of fries with salad, cheese and sour cream. It’s a signature dish, and with good reason – moist meat, punchy tastes and vibrant colour. The fresh coriander yoghurt sauce was sensational. Equally tasty was the vegetable samosa and the crispy pastry filled with boiled potatoes and spices (one for $4). The snack (two pieces $8) didn’t disappoint, with the crispy fried patties made of lightly spiced cottage cheese and potatoes.

Our only issue was the wait, which was much, much longer than Tikka Stand promised. When her name was finally called, only the Nest was served. My friend waited longer, but eventually left to start eating. By then, the Nest was stone cold. I had finished my meal so went to fetch the samosa and snack. They were piping hot at least.

Patience is the name of the game in the food-truck lane at major festivals. Next year we’ll be more organised and arrive earlier at the Noodle Markets and even order online in advance.

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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