Eating Out in Dili

WELL-established restaurants abound in Dili. Many are run by westerners, but look a little further and you will also find very capable Timorese business people.

One such place is the magni- ficent beachfront market where entire families survive by selling their subsistence catch of the day, farmed chicken or locally grown corn on the cob for 50c to $1. Local green-coconut water is available as are other drinks of a homemade variety, along with numerous chilli concoctions in jars for condiments.

The market starts at 3pm with fires being lit and shanty town-style stalls being put up and, around 5pm as the sun is setting over the Wetar Straight, the delights of fire-smoked foods permeate the air. The humidity is 90% and the haze of smoke turns the sinking sun blood red.

Could life get any better?

There is something romantic- ally special and calming about eating on the beach, even with the mayhem of dogs, people and kids. The reason is it’s not common in Australia. Everyone is smiling.

About 10km east of the beachside markets along the Esplanade is a cluster of restaurants serving Thai and Chinese food mostly from imported ingredients.

You can always turn up and have your favourite curry of any kind and most certainly it will be the same as last time you ate there. Prices are from around $5.

There are lovely views of Christo Rey, a large statue of Christ which faces Indonesia, along with kids playing, the elderly collecting seaweed, and the long line of expats running, walking or cycling to the statue.

The last few times I have visited Dili, I have also noticed the humble pizza is on nearly all expat restaurant menus. At last count in Dili, you could also eat Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Indonesian and Timorese cuisine; not bad for a small city.

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