28 February 2022

Market Eats: Tastes from Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets

| Michelle Taylor
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Get your coffee and a treat at Piccolo. Photos: Michelle Taylor.

Eat my way through Canberra’s markets? It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.

Scouring markets for memorable eats is something I would do if I were exploring overseas.

And in the same way I would if I were abroad, I will sample food that market regulars recommend here in Canberra.

Canberra’s original fresh food market, Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, kicks off my market odyssey this Sunday morning. The market is on the Kingston edge of Fyshwick, a large square of parking spaces flanked on three sides by bakeries, fresh produce, delicatessens, and many multicultural food options. By the time I arrive at 9:30, the place is well and truly buzzing.

Two market regulars have compiled a list of must-tries. As a result, Fyshwick Malaysian Food is my first stop. The display window holds a bounty of street food options. The chicken curry puff is why I am here, but I get flustered and accidentally order a vegetarian version. Its pastry is golden and flaky, stuffed with fragrantly spiced potatoes and other veggies.

I cannot go past without also buying a sesame ball. The first bite crunches through the deep-fried sesame crust and into the silky chew of the rice flour dough. Then you get to the sweet smooth red bean paste. Salty and sweet with contrasting texture combos.

Next door at Umami, the Japanese sushi taco proved irresistible. My prawn sushi taco is warm rice, crisp battered prawns and avocado slices with mayo and sour pickle cubes encased in a deep-fried nori taco shell. That shell is all about the snap, crackle and pop – the ultimate fun and inventive street food. Most of all, it is scrum-diddly-umptious. Chef Dean offers a wide range of sushi and hot Japanese mains for those who don’t want to go the taco route.

Colosseum Italian Street Food, tucked around the corner and nearly out of sight, boasts a range of eye-catching pizzas. The ‘Roman girls’ behind the pizza, Sonia and Mariangela, smile warmly out from their shopfront. In front of them, glistening behind the glass is pizza heaven and it’s almost too pretty to eat. There are long pizza slabs with gossamer wisps of potato or zucchini fanned across the base. Rustic pizzas are dotted generously with large chunks of Italian cured meat and cheeses. The moment I see it, I know I must get a piece of the funghi e salsiccia (sausage and mushroom pizza) in my belly. You can buy pizza by the slice or take the whole slab.

Colosseum is excited to be moving to a shopfront in just a couple of months, becoming more visible.

“We will have lots more food choices, plus coffee, cakes and tables and chairs for dine-in,” Sonia explains.

For the record, that pizza is even better than it looks. Crisp on the bottom, soft and chewy in the middle, it is seasoned beautifully, and the flavours are bellisimo! My kids should feel extremely fortunate that any of it made it home for them to taste.

I conclude the market food safari with a cappuccino and Italian doughnut from Piccolo. The coffee is rich and caramelly, though it contains no sugar – just exactly the way I like it. The oversized doughnut is satisfying. I take the rest of it home and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds, and it is even better warmed up!

“We use Lonsdale Street Roasters coffee,” says owner Scott.

“On top of the Italian doughnuts and custard cannolis, we also sell homemade cakes from Cake by Manuela. Because we just do coffee and treats, we sort of live by the mantra that ‘we do few things, but we do those few things well!'”

It feels like I have only touched the surface of the food options here. I walk past food that looks delicious because I am out of tummy space and money. I wish I had had room for a Greek breakfast at Euro delicatessen or a stuffed caramel doughnut at Coco & Rye Artisan Bakery & Cafe! Did I miss out on your favourite treat from The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets?

The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are located at 36 Mildura St in Fyshwick. They are open from 7 am to 5:30 pm Thursday to Sunday.

Follow the markets on Facebook and Instagram to whet your appetite.

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