If you frequent the Newcastle City Farmers Market, chances are the colourful flags marking Tibetan Little Stove have caught your eye.
That's if the delicious aroma of Jangchub Shakya's cooking didn't catch your attention first.
His is the smiling face that greets you as you order.
Shakya was born in Tibet and moved to India with his parents as a child.
"My family, namely my mother and brothers who love cooking, had a huge influence on me," he said.
"My mother and siblings still live in North India."
His cooking career began at an Indian restaurant in Delhi. He moved to Australia in 2014 and studied commercial cookery at TAFE NSW Hamilton while completing an apprenticeship with Momo Wholefood.
"After that I had the great opportunity to work in some of the best restaurants in Newcastle, like Subo," Shakya said.
"Despite my short time at Subo, it was there I had the opportunity to learn and explore the different varieties of foods such as vegan, and gained my plating skills.
"Currently I am working at the Burwood Inn."
He launched Tibetan Little Stove in late 2019 at the Lake Macquarie City Farmers Market "with not much success". The following year he tried the Newcastle City Farmers Market and soon gained a loyal customer base. COVID restrictions and lockdowns have proven difficult for Tibetan Little Stove, but Shakya is persevering.
"I had to close the stall a few times and it impacts the business," he explained.
Shakya sources most of his organic ingredients from the farmers market, saying he is "passionate about supporting other local small businesses".
"Experimenting with different ingredients to create beautiful yet healthy food options for my customers brings me immense joy and satisfaction and this is why I am so passionate about cooking.
"About 90 per cent of my regular customers are vegan lovers and I am working on a vegan burger and vegan dosa taco which will be based on Indian flavours with a bit of my own twist. I am very excited to see how my customers will receive it."
Tibetan cuisine, he says, is unique due to Tibet's high altitude and its ability to grow various crops.
"In general, Tibetan foods are simple, hearty and very healthy. Some of the well-known Tibetan cuisines are momo (dumplings), noodles and tsampa (roasted barley flour and tea).
"The sort of foods I am preparing at the market are mainly Indian cuisine and these are prepared based on authentic Indian recipes with little bit of Western influence and my own creation."
Keep an eye out at the market for his South Indian breakfast - a soft and fluffy steamed bun known as idli which is served with sambar, a vegetable lentil stew, and his own coconut chutney and purple broccoli pickle.
Tibetan Little Stove also makes wholesale Tibetan momos and caters for events and parties.
Email email@example.com, phone 0431 639 109 or follow Tibetan Little Stove on Facebook and Instagram.
Oh My Papa is back
Oh My Papa has reopened for takeaway in Newcastle's East End, much to the delight of Wirat and Pawarisa Lertaromrat. The couple also own The Humble Thai in Newcastle and The Grateful Thai in Charlestown, but Oh My Papa is Pawarisa's labour of love, inspired by her foodie adventures across Asia.
"The Humble Thai and The Grateful Thai are doing better now than at the beginning of lockdown," she said.
"We lost the food sales for lunch trade and drinks. Thanks to the lovely customers who still support us during dinner time. The Grateful Thai is still popular on delivery and The Humble Thai has regular customers who always cheer us up in tough times. However, the atmosphere and feeling are totally different from dine-in service and we are hoping and waiting to get back to normal soon."
Oh My Papa's Set Menu Deal ($160) is a stand-out: chicken thigh skewers with sweet soy sauce yakitori, Szechuan prawn dumplings, caramelised sticky pork belly, Massaman lamb shank, Malaysian BBQ chicken, Japanese rice, chocolate brownies, two Kirin beers and two Yuzu cocktails. Go online to: ohmypapa.orderup.com.au.
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The Village at Hamilton has a Gyros Box on offer that caught my eye (tzatziki, onion, tomato, pita bread, chips, mustard, pulled lamb, marinated chicken) as well as a Greek Pita Platter. Message the team on Insta or Facebook to order.
Korean restaurant opens
Ogane Korean Restaurant has opened on Darby Street at Cooks Hill and rumour has it the food tastes as good as it looks. And that's saying something. It's open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 2.30pm, and 5pm to 9pm. Phone 4929 4041. You can also find them on Uber Eats.
Angus and Hannah Vinden, of Vinden Wines, have purchased Somerset vineyard in Pokolbin. It's where Angus cut his teeth in the winemaking business under mentor and friend Glen Howard, whose family had owned the property for six generations.
Cakeboi delivers to lake
Lake Macquarie, Hamilton bakery Cakeboi is delivering High Tea boxes to you this weekend. Order online ASAP at cakeboitakeaway.square.site for delivery on Saturday between 10am and 1pm.
Short and sweet
Lake Macquarie Yacht Club will soon incorporate a cafe serving pizzas and burgers, in addition to Crusoe's on the Lake. It's under construction now.
Modus Operandi is set to open its brand new brewery venue in Merewether in the coming months. It opened for takeaway beers, burgers and other goodies yesterday, and will be operating every Friday and Saturday until the grand opening.
Sushi Revolution at Hamilton is now open daily from 11am to 9pm. Home delivery is available via Menulog, DoorDash and Uber Eats.
To celebrate half a century in the winemaking business, Peterson's Wines are hosting A Family Affair - Virtual Wine Tasting on October 9 at 5pm and 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite.
Newcastle restaurant subo has launched a five-course spring subo [at home] menu. Phone 4023 4048.
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