Tikka Stand has put down roots in Braddon and give us all the chicken tikka and chips | HerCanberra

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Tikka Stand has put down roots in Braddon and give us all the chicken tikka and chips

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What happens when a moving food truck known for its robust flavours and barbeque chicken comes to a standstill? That’s right, it’s a mouth-watering moment of pause for us, Canberrans.

The Tikka Stand Food Truck is the brainchild of Hemant and his wife Honey, whose passion for Indian cuisine now finds itself permanently tethered to the streets of Braddon.

For this couple, their talented fingers have always been on the pulse of the food truck scene. Since 2015 they have catered at events from Forage to Floriade, the Multicultural Festival and the Handmade Markets. This vibrant and cleverly designed truck has always had local written all over it, allowing them to form a powerful community along the way.

But, after trekking their passion project around Canberra, the endless requests of, “Where the heck can I get my mitts on this chicken?”, pushed the duo to find it a permanent home. And as Hemant explains, Braddon just felt right.

Tikka Stand’s permanent location in Braddon. Image: supplied

“We’ve had a couple of permanent locations—like we’ve had a pop-up shop at Australian National University—but we always wanted to find a more permanent space for the truck concept. So, we have been on the lookout for some time for our current location. And then we just thought that Braddon just makes sense, like in terms of visibility, right on the main street and just being easily accessible as well.”

But if you do find a thin layer of sweat forming on your upper brow at the thought that the Tikka Food Stand won’t be dishing out their deliciousness at Canberra’s next local event, don’t panic. Their secondary food truck will still be on the move, continuing to cater for local events.

“The new food truck will be our bread and butter. It’s permanent, so that’s not going anywhere—but the original truck, we will take it out every other weekend.” (phew!)

As Hemant ponders the long and tangled journey (thanks COVID) to where the Tikka Stand Food Truck is now, what remains clear is his desire to create this visceral food experience.

“The Tikka Stand was the concept that came really from just cooking live and fresh and bringing through those antique spices. Everything that we make in the marinade is fresh ingredients and then cooked on the barbecue.

“So, especially when we were doing events, we really were keen to cook live and cook fresh, and people could see the barbecue sauces sizzling  with all the spices in the marinade. It’s the freshness, the authentic flavours, and just having that live kind of experience.”

A humble reminder of how sometimes all you need is some fresh air and barbeque chicken to solve an existential crisis. (Well, no promises).

Having spent his childhood growing up in his parents’ restaurant, the Tikka Food Truck is a timely ode to Hemant’s youth, a generational exchange of flavours untouched by time.

“My family has had restaurants in the past in Canberra, and I’ve basically grown up in restaurants and growing up in the food industry. My wife’s particular with putting together the right blend of spices to really bring up those authentic flavours, so she, along with the family, has really nailed it, in terms of putting all that mix together.”

As the Tikka Stand Food Truck’s roots continue to grow, this humble power couple is excited to see where this newfound anchorage will take them, with the hope of continuing to evoke this sense of culinary timelessness.

“Just the fact that you can sit down at a food truck, and experience the smells and the flavours and the barbecue smoke going up—it’s something unique, and something to remember.”

The Essentials

What: Tikka Stand
Where: 15–17 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
When: Open Tuesday to Sunday—see website for hours
Web: tikkastand.com

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