NT laksa festival crowns top dishes
Yesterday, the Darwin CBD came alive with all things laksa for the finale of the second Darwin International Laksa Festival. This year’s event proved bigger, better and spicier than 2019’s inaugural festival, with Territorian laksa lovers setting new records. Around 5000 laksas and laksa-inspired dishes were purchased during the festival. More than 1300 votes were cast for the best laksa dish and best laksa-inspired dish.
There were 49 participating venues and eateries in this year’s festival. These offered 34 laksa dishes as well as another 34 laksa-inspired offerings, including chicken schnitzels, smoothies, ice cream, empanadas, oysters, dumplings and even cocktails.
The best of the best
Chok’s Place once again took out the top spot with the coveted Golden Bowl, after also winning last year’s event. Anonymous “Laksa Ninja” judges visited registered eateries throughout the festival and shortlisted the best of the best. They were assigned the tricky task of narrowing the competition down to a top 10. A final blind-tasting panel, led by local restaurateur and TV presenter Jimmy Shu, made the final decision.
The month-long laksa festival wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. Thousands flocked to the Chung Wah Society in the Darwin CBD to celebrate the iconic Territory dish, and the many ingenious creations that were inspired by it.
A stand-out for Territorians was the Laksa Chicken Schnitty from the Berry Springs Tavern, which was awarded People’s Choice for Best Inspired by Laksa Dish. Mary’s at the Parap Markets also came out on top for People’s Choice for Best Laksa.
In a brand-new honour for 2020, 10 Territorians were promoted to “Laksa Legends”. This title went to those who ate 20 or more laksas over the course of the month-long festival.
The laksa festival has successfully encouraged Territorians and visitors to eat out and order takeaway from the Top End’s eateries. This is supporting jobs in what is traditionally the quieter low season period for the hospitality industry.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has congratulated Chok’s Place and the other winners and contenders. He says that the festival is not just about laksa, it’s also about jobs.
“Thank you for putting on a feast for the senses,” the Chief Minister said in a release. “And thank you to Territorians for supporting local businesses along the way. Every time you buy a laksa, you’re backing local jobs.”