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Foraged Feasts

As The Moon casts its beams over Kakadu, immerse yourself in culture with the DIRD Kakadu Full Moon Feasts. Timed around the full moon comes this unique monthly dining experience at Cooinda Lodge, celebrating Kakadu’s six seasons.

By Tierney Seccull 

Offering four delicious courses, each dish features bush tucker foraged from Murumburr Country in central Kakadu National Park. This month, enjoy the flavours of Kunumeleng, the pre-monsoon storm season that occurs from mid-October to late December.

Dird is the Bininj word for moon. Local Bininj chef and founder of Kakadu Kitchen, Ben Tyler says it has cultural significance.

“There is a story about The Moon. The Moon in our culture is a man, and he had an argument with the Native Cat about life and death, I guess you could say. Native Cat said when people die they should be dead forever, and The Moon said 'no, when people die they should come back to life',” he says.

“The Moon, he comes back new – every time he dies, he comes back new.”

Since September, Tyler has joined forces with Cooinda Lodge executive chef Phil Foote to create magic, each monthly event held on a Saturday evening as close to the full moon as possible, but never after. Inspiration for the food series came from cultural food festival Taste of Kakadu.

“I was invited to collaborate and host the dinner at Taste of Kakadu by Sam Hartley from Kakadu Tourism, and I guess that’s where this collab dinner under the stars was born,” he says.

“A few months later, Hugo Johnston works in Indigenous engagement at Kakadu Tourism, suggested the idea of a monthly dinner, and I said I would love to. I thought, instead of sitting under the stars, people could sit under the moon and look up at it and think about Kakadu. It’s full moon time, it’s time for dird, a full moon feast.”

Kunumeleng season is hot and humid, and brings relieving afternoon storms, feasts during the Wet season enjoyed in the air-conditioned comfort of Mimi's Restaurant. Seasonal ingredients foraged for this feast are an-djarduk (native red apple) and an-dudjmi (native green plum).

“For Bininj/Mungguy people, an-dudjmi is one of our favourite fruits. It’s up there with Kakadu plum – we love Kakadu plum, but we also love an-dudjmi.”

In addition to the foraged fare, the local Murumburr clan shares culture, stories and history with diners, all set to the soundscape of nature and the didgeridoo. Tyler says it’s a magical experience for all involved.

“It’s all about connection. It’s about Bininj/Mungguy connecting with their culture. Even for me, I’m learning things all the time. I’m going out foraging with Mum, who continues to teach me, and I’m getting to teach my nephews and nieces,” he says.

“So it’s connecting Bininj people, and that connection we then share with our guests, and we’re connecting our guests to a little bit of Kakadu culture, nature and health.”

For a magical dining experience, with a generous serve of culture and connection, treat yourself to this special moonlit feast.

DIRD Full Moon Feast
COST $199 | $139 CHILD

Thumbnail & header (header flipped for usability on homepage): Vanessa Joyce, Chef Phil Foote, Murumburr Traditional Elder Elizabeth Pettersson, Duruin Delicano & Chef Ben Tyler.
Inset: Namarnkol (wild caught Gulf barramundi) with wurrmarnini (lotus lily) nut cream, sweet potato, an-djungkurrk (flavour leaf) foam.
Photos: Chef Marielle Mae Sanchez

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