Return of the Tiny Trader
Despite a world full of mass supermarket chains and franchised restaurants, the ‘mom and pop’ store is making a comeback. Across the country, food trucks, roadside stalls and community markets are being warmly welcomed.
But what is driving this trend? For entrepreneurs, a food truck or market stall is a budget-friendly way to start a business and minimise financial risk. For consumers, it’s a cheap and novel alternative to a traditional restaurant, often with handmade or artisan products for sale.
On the Gold Coast, night markets combining street food and entertainment have gained a cult following. From NightQuarter in the north, to the newly-opened Palm Beach Collective in the south, and Miami Marketta – the pioneer of this trend – in between, there is no shortage of places to sample delicious delicacies.
“I love taking my family to Miami Marketta on a Friday evening”, says Rebecca Barnham, age 36. “The range of different cuisines means there’s something to suit everyone – even the fussy little ones – and the kids love having a boogie to the live music while the adults finish their meals. It’s a much more relaxed vibe than eating out in a restaurant, and I don’t have the constant worry that we’re ruining everyone else’s dining experience. I also love that I get to introduce my kids to a range of cuisines from around the world at such a young age.”
Here are our favourite food trucks and marketplaces from around the country for you to try:
Inspired by the LA food truck scene, Siguenos dishes up authentic Mexican fare – something that’s been lacking on the Gold Coast up. Watch for their weekly specials, which often fuse other international cuisines with their traditional Mexican menu. Our favourite is the Vietnamese pho taco, which takes elements classic Vietnamese soup and wraps it up in a taco!
Eat Street Markets
Located in the old container wharf in Hamilton, Eat Street Markets dishes up an array of international foods including Turkish, Greek, Thai, Dutch, Hungarian, Malaysian, French, Mexican, Italian, Spanish and more. It’s fully licensed and hosts live music every weekend.
Maribelle’s Street Food
Renowned on the Sunshine Coast for her authentic Italian fare, Maribelle Vitale is inspired by her husband Roberto and his extensive experience with Italian cuisine. Maribelle’s shiny black van, styled on a gypsy caravan, is as much a feast for the eyes as it is the tastebuds! As well as fine Italian meatballs, Maribelle also serves up international delicacies including the famed Vietnamese Banh Mi roll. This pretty little van circulates around the coast, visiting markets and privately-catered events.
Among the crush of high street stores in Bondi, discover the oasis of the Jam Gallery. Designed to foster the local music scene, the underground venue also hosts a gallery space, three bars and an eatery for up to 400 people. Top tip: start your night off with the truffle popcorn – delicious!
Comida do Sul
Meaning ‘food of the south’ in Portugese, Comida do Sul brings home-cooked Brazilian fare to the people of Perth. Run by husband and wife team, Dani Flauzino and Joel Rees, the exotic truck offers Brazilian staples such as Prato Feito (grilled rump steak or vegetarian sausage served with pan-fried kale, roasted yam, fried yam, tomato salsa, black beans and rice) and Choripan, the Argentinian version of a hot dog.
This article was inspired by the Wingseed Food Van, created by Sappho Brothers and her sister Phaedra Brothers, which became an institution around Salamanca Place markets and music festivals across Tasmania. Sappho and her partner Ryan Lynch have reincarnated themselves and their menu. Expect delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free mains and desserts, plus chai and herbal teas.