Green and lean

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Graeme Phillips

WALK­ING up Collins St re­cently, a shop had a dis­play sign read­ing “Tas­ma­nia is hot ... and so are we. So come on in”. I didn’t, but, with MONA, TMAG, the re­cent plethora of ac­com­mo­da­tion, restau­rant and travel ac­co­lades and our wines a few weeks ago win­ning tro­phies and golds at two pres­ti­gious Lon­don wine com­pe­ti­tions, they’re right about Tas­ma­nia.

How­ever, it’s not just the MONAs, Saf­fires and top- end restau­rants do­ing us proud. There has also been an ex­cit­ing lift in re­cent times in the qual­ity and di­ver­sity at the cafe and take­away ends of the city’s food spec­trum.

Just over a year ago, Daci and Daci brought the best Euro­pean- style cof­fee house/ patis­serie del­i­ca­cies to Ho­bart.

At Christ­mas time, Crumb Street Kitchen opened to a phe­nom­e­nal re­sponse.

More re­cently I’ve writ­ten about Taco Taco’s and Rin’s ex­cel­lent Mex­i­can and Ja­panese fare, the qual­ity of ev­ery­thing at Rasp­berry Fool and the delightful fresh­ness and cre­ativ­ity of the food at The Duchess Cafe, in Sandy Bay.

Then I found com­mon old salt and pep­per squid lifted to new heights of crisp, ten­der and quite won­der­ful lin­ger­ing savouri­ness at the small, non­de­script Touch of Asia, in Sandy Bay. And I’m told their other non- bain- marie dishes, such as stuffed chicken wings, are just as good.

Also, we will soon have an up- mar­ket, “gourmet” sand­wich bar in the CBD. Then there’s Mint, which has brought a whole new mean­ing to fresh, flavour­some, on- the- go lunch­ing and snack­ing to the Mall.

Sis­ter/ own­ers, Hazel and Renella Chow, were born in Zam­bia of a Malaysian Chi­nese fa­ther and Zam­bian mother, were sent to study at univer­sity in Syd­ney, moved to Tas­ma­nia where they set up the By Ruby mac­a­roon whole­sale busi­ness three years ago and opened Mint serv­ing South- East Asian food in April.

“If you think that’s a mixed- up story, wait un­til you see the mixed- up colours of we five kids,” Hazell said with a laugh. And the name of their eatery says it all. It’s fast to- go food with queues at lunchtime for beef pho the stock for which they make from scratch a range of seven fab­u­lously plump and fresh rice pa­per rolls, warm rice noo­dle sal­ads and banh mi ( baguettes) var­i­ously filled and flavoured with satay chicken and toasted co­conut; Char Sui pork and se­same, lemon­grass beef and chicken, prawn with pick­led car­rot, soy and herb- cured salmon sashimi and sautéed tofu and shi­itake.

Plus hoi sin, se­same mayo and two ver­sions of Thai chilli and lime dip­ping sauces.

Hazel says they use no MSG, ten­deris­ers or preser­va­tives. De­li­cious. And they’re now tak­ing on­line or­ders at the web ad­dress above.

Rice pa­per rolls $ 3.50; pho $ 8.50; baguettes $ 7.50; noo­dle sal­ads $ 9; and a fresh young co­conut cock­tail $ 4.50

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