Toby Wilson, former owner and head barista of Glebe’s Wedge Espresso, has opened Ghostboy Cantina at Dixon House food court in Haymarket. It’s just in time for Chinese New Year. And he’s selling tacos.
“‘Ghost boy’ is the Chinese term for ‘white boy’ or ‘foreigner’,” says Wilson. It’s a cheeky nod to his presence in an otherwise authentic Asian-food stronghold. “I think there’s this thought that [Dixon House] is incredibly exclusive and you can’t tread on any toes, but the food court is already incredibly multicultural. I haven’t felt any animosity being a white guy in there, yet.”
In celebration of what he calls “the ultimate street food”, Wilson is making non-traditional tacos with Asian ingredients. “One will be a slow-cooked pork-neck taco with crispy pig’s ears, Thai basil, roast pineapple and a salsa rojas,” he says.
“What I think Sydney lacks is a really good street-food scene,” says Wilson. “The food-truck thing that they tried to start was heavily mandated. So a dingy basement in Chinatown was the closest thing we could find to a Sydney street culture.”
His opening menu will include tacos with more Mexican flavours, too, such as the Al Pastor. “The way I view a taco is that it’s an edible plate,” he says. There’ll be between four and five tacos and three sides, including a beef-brisket taco with mushroom XO sauce and a sambal salsa roja; seaweed or chipotle Szechuan fries; a cauliflower taco for vegetarians; and a congee, potentially.
“We’re looking at doing some Chinese-Mexican versions of fast food as well,” he says. “We’re trying to get some Peking duck nuggets. It’s all very flexible. We’ll just play it as it lies.”