The return of the night noodle market makes me happy. Last year it was a major hit and this year its back with double the food stalls. This time it’s held at a different, and much larger venue, Birrarung Marr. Which is a great idea considering last year the event was packed to the max. The noodle night markets present a collection of authentic Asian cuisines and Asian inspired dishes from across the continent.
I generally like to go earlier because there are less people, less queues and more available seats…winning!
It’s a really popular event so one minute there is no queue, the next minute there is a really long queue. As they say, the early bird gets the noodle.
They was a big grassy knoll, which is perfect for good weather you can have a little picnic on the hill.
The weather was all sunshine so a tropical dessert from Red Spice Road sounded like a good starter. We had a coconut sago pudding w pineapple & lime. It was really fresh and had lots of different textural elements.
We also got a savoury dish from Red Spice Road. The five spice pork belly w chilli caramel. It was delicious! The pork belly was deep-fried, crispy on the outside and soft and sticky in the middle. The chilli caramel was so good with the pork and it was complimented with a side of fresh beans shoots, coriander and mint. Yum!
From Ramen Burger we got the…wait for it…yep, the ramen burger. We ordered the chicken one, which was well constructed and tasted good. It was a fillet of teriyaki chicken amongst two noodle patties with some spinach, cheese and mayo. And yes the burger bun was made entirely out of thin egg noodles, which were toasted, so they had a bit of a crispy noodle crunch. It was good.
From Charlie’s Dumplings we tried the steamed pork and ginger dumplings with black bean and chilli dressing. They were yum. The pastry was good and the filling melted in your mouth. The dressing was nice and had a good chilli kick.
Also from Charlie’s dumplings we got the Milk chocolate dumplings w raspberry and chilli sauce. Luckily the guy at the store gave us a heads up on how to eat the dumplings in daylight (as chocolate is less visible after dark). We ate the dumplings whole as suggested to avoid a chocolate mishap. They were yum and our shirts got through unscathed. The dumplings were battered balls of chocolate. A great idea. They were sitting in the raspberry and chilli sauce, which was nice. The taste of chilli was barely noticeable which I liked.
We tried the Nakaochi from Izakaya Den, which is a tuna and salmon tartare w sesame & ginger. It was served with some salted cucumber and steamed rice. I really liked it. It was fresh and the oily fish went well with the steamed rice. It was really yum.
We got a couple of veg pan rolls from the Lankan Tucker stall. They were nice with some sweet chilli dipping sauce.
The soft shell crab burger was incredible. I didn’t realise I was such a fan of soft-shell crab. This burger was amazing. It was a crispy fried soft-shell crab in a soft buttery brioche bun with cabbage and sriracha mayo. Oh my goodness. It took me to a heavenly place. Loved it.
At this point we were getting very full and decided we would get bun one and bun two from Kong. B1 was spicy pork belly, pickled cucumber & crazy horse sauce and B2 was peanut butter S&P tofu w burnt chilli mayo. They were good. I was petting the buns they were so soft. There was a long order line and an even longer collect line. So you could maybe have one person in each line and while the first person orders, the second person is already in queue to collect the order.
Gelato Messina created some really exciting flavour combinations. We tried the Phuc Khing Tasty and this dessert was exactly that. It was cinnamon scroll (like literally a piece of cinnamon scroll), coffee gelato, condensed milk panna cotta, walnut crunch and an Asian spiced cookie. It was amazing. It was really fun journeying through the different elements. We also tried Happy Taste Bud Time, which was just as delicious. Lychee sponge, mango puree, rambutan & coconut gelato, whipped salted coconut cream (omg yum!) and a cocnut macaron. It was amazing. I could have eaten a bowl of that whipped salted coconut cream. Exploring through the dessert and finding little surprises was fun. These two desserts were stand out and worth the wait in queue.
After some time I mustered up the courage to eat again, I was very full by now but I wanted to try the Nori taco at Mr Miyagi. So I got a taco and while I was there I also got a cheeky six pack of MFC (Miyagi Fried Chicken). And I’m glad I did because that nori taco was pure genius and the fried chicken was yum too. The Nori taco is such an interesting creation and it was well executed. The taco was a sheet of nori battered and fried, then folded and filled with vinegar rice (like sushi rice), grilled salmon belly, spicy nappa cabbage, japanese mayo and chilli oil. It was so delicious! And it didn’t even fall apart. My issue with normal tacos is that they fall apart when you bite into them. Not with this one. The nori taco is flexible and easy to eat. It was fantastic. So creative.
It’s a great event and it’s still on for another week. There are so many amazing food stalls in one place. It’s really well organised and is definitely one of my favourite food festivals.
I heart the Night Noodle Market!