Tikka Stand has taken root in Braddon and gives us all the chicken tikka and chips

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What happens when a moving food truck known for its robust flavors and barbecue chicken comes to a stop? That’s right, it’s a delightful break for us, Canberrans.

The Tikka Stand Food Truck is the brainchild of Hemant and his wife Honey, whose passion for Indian cuisine now permanently clings 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 been organizing events from Forage to Floriade, the Multicultural Festival and the Handmade Markets. This vibrant and cleverly designed truck has always been written in the local language, allowing them to form a powerful community along the way.

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

Tikka Take’s permanent location in Braddon. Image: included

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

But if you find a thin layer of sweat on your head at the thought that the Tikka Food Stand won’t dish out their deliciousness at the next local event in Canberra, don’t panic. Their secondary food truck will still be on the move and will continue 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’ll be taking it out every two weekends.” (relief!)

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

“The Tikka Stand was the concept that really came out of just living and fresh cooking and bringing out those ancient spices. Everything we make in the marinade are fresh ingredients and then cooked on the barbecue.

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

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

Having spent his childhood in his parents’ restaurant, the Tikka Food Truck is a current tribute to Hemant’s youth, a generational exchange of flavors untouched by time.

“My family has had restaurants in Canberra in the past, and I actually grew up in restaurants and grew up in the food industry. My wife is particular about putting together the right mix of spices to really bring out those authentic flavors, so she, along with the family, did a really good job 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 new anchorage will take them, hoping to continue to evoke this sense of culinary timelessness.

“Just the fact that you can sit at a food truck and experience the smells and flavors and the barbecue smoke that rises – 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 opening times
Website: tikkastand.com