Food on the run is streets ahead

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Street food sold from stalls is all the go and so are food trucks, or at least in places where civic author­i­ties can see ben­e­fits for lo­cals and tourism. Cities such as Van­cou­ver, Canada; Port­land, Ore­gon; and Austin, Texas, have be­come food-truck hubs in North Amer­ica. Last year, at the surf town of Tofino on Van­cou­ver Is­land, I met Kevin of Ta­cofino, busy selling take­aways from a ca­nary-yel­low van. He told me he longed to open a food truck at By­ron Bay on the NSW north coast, which he be­lieved could be the most ex­otic surf town in the world.

On the topic of surf­ing, I have no knowl­edge or in­sight but I think Kevin would like The Farm at Ewings­dale, near By­ron Bay (T & I Loves, Au­gust 15-16), with its pad­dockto-plate pro­duce and air of a great big diner (al­beit with­out wheels). He’d like his­toric Ge­orge Town in Pe­nang, too, be­cause ev­ery­one seems to, and it’s thick with mar­kets and tiny cafes. In this part of Malaysia there is a noo­dle soup known as asam laksa. It is un­like the laksa found in Sin­ga­pore and Asian restau­rants in Aus­tralia. In­stead of creamy co­conut milk there is tamarind paste, which adds a salty, slightly sour zing. Ap­par­ently, pineap­ple is another key in­gre­di­ent; the dish is topped with shred­ded mack­erel. Our guide, May (who we pri­vately re­fer to as Mar­shall May as she is a won­der at get­ting us to the top of queues and has el­bows that slice all known red tape) is hor­ri­fied that we want an asam laksa from a road­side stall.

“You Aus­tralians!” she an­nounces with grudg­ing ad­mi­ra­tion. “It will not be like a res­tau­rant!” Bring it on, we say, and soon May has us seated on tiny tin stools (pre­vi­ous din­ers hav­ing been dis­patched) at open-air Pasar Air Itam Laksa. We ask for ex­tra chilli. May swoons and fans her­self with a copy of our (now de­railed) itin­er­ary.

We lap up the de­li­cious ver­mi­celli noo­dle-filled broth with me­tal spoons and slip­pery red chop­sticks. We have brown­ish stains on our sum­mer shirts and have made quite a mess on the bare table­top, which is how it should be. What a plea­sure it would be to have a laksa food van parked near my of­fice or home. A bowl would cost heaps more than the equiv­a­lent of $2, how­ever. On hear­ing this, May, at last, looks ever so slightly smug.

Fol­low on In­sta­gram: su­sankuro­sawa

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