For a small city by Australian standards, Darwin has an unusually dense mix of people from many different cultures and countries. Nowhere does that feel more apparent than at a local food and produce market. In fact if I half closed my eyes, breathed in the cooking smells and listened to the banter, Parap Markets felt more like being in Asia to me than a bustling Aussie city. But they are one and the same. So much so that Darwin’s unique cosmopolitan makeup has been recognised as an “multicultural icon of national significance” by the Australian National Trust. Amen to that!
I spent a few hours on a Saturday morning pacing my stomach, working my way through Japanese dumplings, Thai style paw paw salad, BBQ seafood a la Indonesia and exotic juices from local farmers. Unfortunately I didn’t have the patience to wait in line for what looked like the best Laksa ever!
Besides the overwhelmingly great food choices, I picked up some beautiful wax printed fabric from Senegal, watched a dancing procession of Chinese performers welcome in the new year and spoke with an Indigenous artist about his beautiful weaving wares and paintings. Even the local flowers commanded more attention than the blooms back home.
Last time we visited Darwin Andres and I were impressed with the Mindel Beach Sunset Markets; and even though Parap Village Markets can’t compete with a seaside location, it certainly delivers tasty happiness during the wet season!