Seven dishes you must try in Darwin

Seven dishes you must try in the Top End according to Zach Green of Elijah's Kitchen

MARY'S LAKSA, PARAP MARKET

What's the one dish every Darwinite loves? Laksa from this food truck at Parap Market on Saturdays. I make a mean crocodile laksa, but this has a money-can't-buy ingredient: Mary's passion. No matter which protein she's using – seafood, pork, chicken – the flavour is always incredible. See parapvillagemarkets.com.au

BRAHMAN BEEF POT ROAST, SOUR CREAM, CRISPY POTATOES, WHARF ONE

Wharf One's owner, Pina Sommerville, introduced me to Brahman beef hump. The hump is usually discarded for pet food, but it is so tender it reminds me of beef cheeks. Try this dish and you'll ask, "Why haven't I eaten Brahman hump before? It's amazing." See wharfone.com.au

SPICE GARDEN FISH CURRY, SPICE GARDEN EATING HOUSE

I don't like spicy food, but this tiny eatery won me over because every one of its Sri Lankan dishes packs such an authentic flavour punch. The signature fish curry – local mackerel in a coconut-based sauce – is like teleporting your tastebuds to Sri Lanka. See spicegarden.com.au

PANDAN CHICKEN, HANUMAN

Jimmy Shu is a Darwin legend and his pandan chicken starter is simply amazing. The pandan-wrapped meat is so succulent, and the accompanying sticky sweet sauce is a real winner. I've asked the staff many times for the recipe but they won't give away the secret. See hanuman.com.au

OVEN-BAKED WILD-CAUGHT NT SALTWATER BARRAMUNDI, PEE WEE'S AT THE POINT

Wild barramundi is a territory food treasure, and this dish is a masterclass in its preparation. The fillet is crusted with macadamias, herbs and lemon myrtle – one of my favourite indigenous ingredients. Eating this while watching a Dry Season sunset is a definitive Darwin dining experience. See peewees.com.au

MUD CRABS, DARWIN FISH MARKET, OR CATCH YOUR OWN

Nothing beats the taste of a fresh muddie – it's a Top End must-try. When I go crabbing with my family in Rapid Creek or Adelaide River, it connects me with generations of our culture. If locals won't share their secret spots, hit the fish market. See darwinfishmarket.com

CROCODILE LAKSA, ELIJAH'S KITCHEN, DARWIN

I've married into the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land, and the crocodile, "Baru", is part of my kinship. I have elders' permission to cook it, educating diners in its cultural significance. My crocodile laksa is spiced with lemon myrtle and native thyme. See www.facebook.com/elijahsfood/

Palawa and Yolngu man Zach Green is the chef/owner of the new Elijah's Kitchen, Darwin's only indigenous-focused restaurant. Operating from a purpose-built mobile kitchen, it will run at semi-permanent sites through the Dry Season until late September. Green is holding interactive masterclasses at Taste of Kakadu on May 22-23. The festival runs May 18–27. See parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/taste/

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