Food Review: Barraca Portugese Street Grill

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When Christian and Sandra Vaughan first met, working for Emirates, they could not have imagined their life together sharing Portuguese food with Gold Coast diners through their food truck Barraca. But there’s been a lot of life experience in between: twenty-five years in the hospitality and wine industries for Christian, a lot of time spent travelling, living in Europe and Africa, moving back to Australia to live, and having a family.

Of Portuguese heritage, Sandra spent much of her early life in Mozambique, taking Christian back there after they met. Sandra’s mother ran some of South Africa’s best Portuguese restaurants, so food was part of her heritage.

“Mozambique is one of the most underrated tourist destinations of the world,” Christian tells us. (To be frank, it had not made it anywhere near my ‘Foodie Bucket List!’) “That’s where Piri Piri comes from. All those shacks on the beach grilling seafood and meat – the food is amazing!”

Now the pair run one of the most kitted out food trucks we’ve seen, ‘freewheeling’ on private property between Burleigh and Southport, as well as catering for functions, private celebrations and events. With their lit up menu and huge TV screen, film of free riding bikes and surfers looping through, there’s ample entertainment during our short wait for food.
Meanwhile, we discuss the logistics of food trucks, their certification (not too much different from that of restaurants).

“Four sinks? Yes, we believe you!”

It’s a mark of dedication to meet permit requirements, but then they trade from private property by arrangement, beside logistical considerations, rent being one of the main points of difference between restaurants and food trucks, hence restaurants’ objections. (Council regulations stating that “…stationary roadside vending must not be within a five kilometre radius of a retail shop or other commercial premises which sells or provides the same or similar products or services…” do not apply to footpath vending, which is presently not legal. Permits to sell food in Pratten Park, Broadbeach and Macintosh Island, Main Beach are presently being trialled.)

With only one authentic Portuguese restaurant on the Gold Coast, most of us know little about the cuisine. So, what are the key ingredients of Portuguese food? Good sea salt, lemon, garlic, oregano, smoky paprika, olive oil and chilli, the pair tell us.

“We’re trying to create a different culture around food,” Sandra says, “…food from the heart. Christian is always making this food at home, so we said ‘Why not?’ We even make all our own sauces,” which they’ve toned down a bit for the dining public. Personally, I’d like it hotter, or at least to be offered that option!

Advertising their locations on Facebook, Barraca parks on properties from Currumbin to Labrador, generator in tow providing great food, good times, and a little taste of Sandra’s heritage to a locale near you.

Follow Barraca on Facebook to get locations and times. It’s our own Portuguese treasure hunt!

Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast

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