Going for the gusto!

Since we were in a large city, Mom wanted authentic Chinese food, and what better place to get it than in Chinatown? After we scoped the scene, we settled into a B.Y.O.B. restaurant that smelled a bit musty. Mom & I were greeted by a loud, but cheerful, oriental lady who immediately offered to help us decipher the menu. We wanted lo mein but that got lost in translation. Although not what we had meant to order, the food was delicious and for $30 total we left stuffed.

We checked out the markets next to Chinatown -- supposedly for up & coming fashion -- but they were pitiful! Convinced there had to be decent markets on a Sunday somewhere we rebounded to South Bank Parklands. It turned out the Scottish festival was also going on at the Cultural Centre so we heard bagpipes & saw a lot of grown men in full regalia. The South Bank Parklands markets were awesome! I've always liked markets because they can showcase a broad range of skills, products, and foods. Plus, I like that they're an at-your-own-pace but in-your-face environment where you can meet interesting people. I bargained a deal with a drag queen lady/man for an authentic Australian leather hat. There were even churros!

After we ambled around Mom & I took the CityCat (a waterbus service) back across the Brisbane River. Since we did not pay the first time, we fully expected to pay on the return trip, sort of how a toll bridge works: you don't pay until you exit. However, in the Sunday afternoon bustle, we got off without paying too. I'm still perplexed by the system but ignorance is bliss.

By Sunday evening -- our last in Brisbane -- Mom & I were still quite full from the hefty Chinese lunch. I was starting to feel hungry though & wanted to try a new genre of food. We drove to Tukka which boasted gourmet Australian cuisine. The menu was like trying to read Japanese. I recognized only a few words in each item's description. So we opted for the sampler appetizer. I've never had so much fun eating (other than at Melting Pot)! The entire meal was a tribute to native Australian foods.

First, we received complimentary shot glasses full of the gazpacho... with a twist! Gazpacho is a traditional green, Spanish soup served cold. This gazpacho had a kick of garlic & I tasted tartness, like from a Granny Smith apple. It was an odd mixture of flavors but surprisingly, we both enjoyed it!

Then, the wood slab topped with our appetizer arrived. Mom & I tried native fruits -- such as the desert lime; berries -- such as muntries (yum); bread with kumquat chutney & macadamia nut oil dipping sauces; and meats. I imagine we looked like we were participating on Fear Factor because we only took little helpings, and took our first bites together on the count of three. The first meat we tried was the light-colored crocodile. It wasn't great. I would eat it to keep myself from starving & it wasn't horrible like liver. I'd best describe it as underwhelming. Next, we tried emu. It didn't taste like chicken but had similar flavors. Of the three meats I liked emu the best. Last, we tried kangaroo filets and sausages. The 'roo sausage-link tasted like bologna to me. The filet (pronounced "Fill-ett"by Aussies) wasn't awful, but I probably wouldn't order an entire serving of it.
Mom & I had fun exploring the city, local flavors and trying new tastes (even if we had just seen them out in the wild the previous week)! However, we were both eager for our next leg of the holidays a.k.a. vacation: Steve Irwin's/Australia Zoo!