For a long time, Tasmania mainly attracted visitors interested in nature or history. But these days, food is one of the top reasons people travel to the island.
Plenty of new restaurants and cafes have opened in Hobart in the last few years, putting forward the best the former ‘apple isle’ has to offer.
“We’re close to a lot of really great farmers and produce,” says Analiese Gregory, chef at Franklin. “And the community is really good down here, there are lots of people owning restaurants, wine bars and pubs and we all get along really well, we share the same farmers and suppliers.”
Here are eight reasons to eat your way through the Tasmanian capital.
1. Salamanca Market
While there a lot of shiny new things in Hobart, the most popular attraction in town (and the whole state) is almost 50 years old. It’s the Salamanca Market, which is loved by both tourists and locals. Held every Saturday, it brings together more than 300 stallholders selling food, fresh produce and handicrafts.
“Locals tend to get down there early in the morning to pick up vegetables and everything they need, and throughout the day more tourists tend to come to the market,” explains Hobart councillor Bill Harvey.
“Over the last decade, the market has gotten way more multicultural. More nationalities are represented like Korean, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Turkish."
“Over the last decade, the market has gotten way more multicultural. More nationalities are represented like Korean, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Turkish. You’ll find really good bread and doughnut makers, great coffee stalls, preserves, artisan products, whisky, gin. Everything is locally grown or locally made,” he adds.
2. Wonderful produce
From potatoes to wasabi and honey, Tasmania is known to have some of the best produce in the country. “The success of most of our restaurants is built on the real connection between the produce and kitchens. Most of the successful restaurants in Hobart source their produce very locally, 20-30 kilometres only from their business,” says Alex Heroys, the CEO of Destination Southern Tasmania.
If you can visit Hobart more than once, go at different times of the year so you can experience what different seasons have to offer.
3. A new wave of restaurants
With proximity to great produce, a tight-knit community and cheaper rents than big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Hobart is a magnet for young chefs wanting to open their first restaurant. Check out restaurants like Dier Makr, Fico and Templo.
4. Sourdough from a wood-fire oven
45 minutes out of Hobart, you’ll find Cygnet Woodfired Bakehouse where Cameron McKenzie bakes sourdoughs using organic Tasmanian-milled flours in a wood-fire oven. He’s also famous for his brownies and pastries full of local fruit. Can’t make it to Cygnet? On Saturdays, the bakehouse has a stall at the Salamanca Market.
5. Abundant seafood
Surrounded by the Southern Ocean, the Tasman Sea and the Bass Strait, Tasmania is a paradise for seafood lovers. Order from one of the fish and chips punts in Constitution Dock and eat on the pier. Or if you feel like treating yourself, go to Franklin and order native oysters, sea urchin or abalone. Salmon is also a must-eat while in Hobart. Masaaki Koyama uses Tasmanian salmon for his sashimi and nigiri. The Japanese-born sushi chef has closed down the popular Masaaki’s Sushi, but is planning to reopen in early 2020 once he has finished renovating Geeveston’s old Anglican church.
6. Fridays at the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania
Every Friday, the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania opens its doors to the public for lunch. The social enterprise offers workplace experience for migrants, mostly women from refugee backgrounds. Participants prepare traditional dishes from their home country like fit-fit, Eritrean flatbread fried in spiced butter and served with garlic yoghurt, mustard greens and chilli tomato sauce. The dessert selection is always a hit, and so are the pickles and sauce to take home.
7. Eat all day in a converted petrol station
Room for a Pony is an all-day eatery in a former North Hobart petrol station. In the morning, you can enjoy coffee and dishes like avocado toast and fried chilli omelette. Later in the day, the menu transitions to bar snacks, pasta, pizza and drinks. On a sunny day, the courtyard is the perfect spot to listen to live music with a beer in hand.
8. Food festivals embracing diversity
Hobart is host to several food festivals, like the long-running Taste of Tasmania, which is held on the waterfront over the New Year period. This year, you can expect food stalls selling kubba, nasi goreng, sai oua, goat thali and sea urchin dumplings. Later in the year, Moonah Taste of the World Festival celebrates the cultural diversity of Glenorchy, while Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast brings together chefs from all over the country.
Ainsley Harriott traverses The Salamanca Market in Hobart during episode 4 of the brand-new season of Ainsley's Australian Market Menu. Catch it at 7:30pm Thursday 31 October on SBS, catch up on SBS Food at 7:30pm Sundays, or stream on SBS On Demand. Visit the Market Menu website for recipes, the episode guide and more.