Visited this market to say hello to Nikuman Fluffy and to get our weekly fruit and veg.
Breakfast consisted of mince on toast and fresh OJ at little larder, nikuman and gyoza from NF, bratwurst from the GB house, hibiscus iced tea and iced coffee from Wiley fox coffee.
nikuman fluffy is run by a husband and wife couple, the husband being an ex employee of ours and it is probably no coincidence that their nikuman is authentic, home made, all natural, msg free. Attention is given to the detail. The gyoza pan is a japan made heavy steel pan, and the filling is juicy and meaty to my liking! Maki told me that she is experimenting with the recipe and her current recipe involves shio koji (salted fermented rice with live cultures). Shio koji is a wonder seasoning. (We are currently using it in our monthly miso ramen. The koji mold enzymes break down the protein in the meat or soy to create a deeper umami.) The thicker crunchy crust that forms in a pan like this is completely different to a lighter Teflon aluminum pan. It is no wonder that their fan base is growing.
Another stall that caught my eye was the apple and stone fruit farmer from stanthorpe. In the end he struck me with his zeal and sincerity. His prices were slightly higher but I could tell that he was the farmer himself and that there must be good reasoning behind his pricing. His stall wasn’t pleasantly decorated with farmer-esque earthy looking decor or advertised with the magic o-word, his prices weren’t the cheapest, but he simply had a limited supply of limited products in season.
Many people ask me which ramen is the best or my favorite? I seriously answer, “I can’t choose between my children”. Customers who ask that question just laugh thinking what an exaggerated jerk I am. I think this farmer wouldn’t laugh though.
When I started browsing, he asked me whether I had any chooks. When I enquired why, he went on to explain how his stone fruit had become unsaleable due to getting dry from being in the cold room for a week longer due to the storm last week. They looked perfect from the outside and he went in length to explain the precious nature of the fruit which unfortunately was the very last harvest of his beautiful stone fruit crop and that they’re not nice anymore. He gave us a bite. It wasn’t off, the flavour and sweetness and aroma were all good, it was just the texture and juiciness that was compromised. The dry powdery texture you get in fruits that have lost moisture.
I admire and share his absolute pride in standing by the quality of his produce and trying to find a use for the result of his hard work. They are virtually indistinguishable from the outside and he might have been able to sell it for processing purposes or on sell it to a wholesaler or some sort of b grade distribution channel. Instead, he was giving it his best to try to find a home as chicken feed and to personally take responsibility for the fate of his unfortunate produce. He had about 10 different types of pears and apples and proudly lets customers taste test each single type. every apple was crisp and sweet as well as the pears. Being Japanese we opted for some Fuji apples and nashi pears but every single thing he had for sale was just prime. I just felt I have a lot in common with this guy.