Melbourne Night Noodle Markets 2015 @ Monday, January 04, 2016

Friday 20th November


We've never been to the Noodle Night Markets before due to the fact that you could get the same thing at the stalls' restaurant without the long lines. And so a predictably wet evening was the perfect time to go to avoid the crowds. 

Esme wanted to get there the same way as everyone else, yes we have disagreements about the small things (the boys just assume you're right, and follow, or point out their view and justify it). Well I'm not everyone else, but if you want to head that way (walking past Fed Sq) you go ahead. Tip: Take the tram on Flinders a stop past Fed Sq, and walk across the bridge, which gets you to the top level of the night market. Why? Because now you can start from the top and work your way down across the three levels/areas. Also because everyone is going up, and you're going down you won't be caught in the crowd.

Funny how it's called a market and yet they only sell food. Also there wasn't many places actually selling noodles, the closest I saw was the ramen burger place (also found at the Queen Victoria Wednesday Markets). 




As a planner I don't want to rock up and then decide what to eat. I am not an easy going person, unless I let you pick the cuisine and then we go to my favourite restaurant serving that cuisine :P.  Fortunately this year the menus are online, there are no prices but from experience everything starts from $10/12, so if you want to eat 6 dishes bring about $60+ cash. 

My game plan was to try things that were limited edition or specials that weren't offered in their usual menus. There was a temptation to go for the familiar and favourite 'White Guy Cooks Thai', as they have a very good sweet and sour fish dish I like. It was wet, and rainy so I didn't get too many pictures. Also lighting was awful. 



Gelato Messina always has some special to offer at their pop-ups, last year it was a large serving of ice cream in a paint can (a sampler size) at the Royal Croquet Club, another food festival that was on last summer.



The Menu 

While the gua bao aka open bao, think pork bun dough, is very in at the moment very few places we've been to make it fresh, and so I'm not into it. I love it when mother makes it though. Lucy loves eating the cooked dough.



A Break Down



Messina's Bullion Bar $10 
Gulamalaka (Palm Sugar) gelato + condensed milk gelato, 
passionfruit jelly, nut crunch and banana bread


I had the 'Gold Bullion Bar: Layers of gulamalaka gelato, condensed milk gelato, passion fruit jelly, a nut crunch, and banana bread' ($10). It was very good, as it was sweet but not chocolate sweet, and it gave us a rare chance to try different gelato flavours that you won't normally find in-stores. It also fitted the asian theme of the event - in theory. In theory it would be a warm summer's night, instead there were flashes of rain. Welcome to Melbourne. Hope you remembered your umbrella because there is absolutely no shade here (unless you're a VIP via invite or citibank member). 




Later on I was back for the 'Deep fried ice cream balls filled with thai custard gelato, lovingly nestled in ‘messina tinned fruit salad’ and your choice of our caramel or chocolate sauce' also $10, though I wouldn't recommend it at all. This creation was inspired by the typical deep fried ice cream with lychee or banana fritters often served at asian viet/chinese restaurantsIt's deep fried ice cream with your basic tinned fruit salad. The huge serving is best for two, and I didn't feel too good afterwards. The fruit salad would have been better replace with an asian fruit salad. It tasted too basic to be a Messina creation.



Delhi Streets - Butter Chicken w Rice & Pappadums $12

Esme started with butter chicken from Delhi Streets, winner of some cheap eat award. At $12 it was a good price, though 'Are you sure this is Indian, made by an Indian person?' because while the chicken was good and not chewy the flavours were basic and lack depth that Indian food normally has. *Esme dies a little, from my stream of thoughts flowing out my mouth, as she's not a food person* While I don't think I'm a foodie, I love food and know a bit about it, mainly from experimenting over the past few years since we started the blog.




Going down to level 1, I completely missed the cats till it was too late and too dark.




The Bar


The Brulee Cart - As suggested they make creme brulee! One of my favourite desserts I consider a classic, but at $8 I'm giving it a pass. At $6 I'd consider it, and at $5 I'll get it. Though we gave it a pass on this occasion due to price and there were limited edition offerings around.  


Hoy Pinoy was present, a Fillipino BBQ place Alice recommended, as she's a chef we trust Alice's recommendations. There was pig on a spit, and now I know why that position is called spitroast, there's a pole going from its mouth and out its ass... I didn't take a picture, but everyone else did. I also don't eat pork, as I don't handle pigs very well. 

We had the 'inihaw na manok ~ bbq chicken skewer' 2 skewers fo $12 is standard. These were quite good for festival food, though the marinade isn't as good as mothers'. For an extra $4 you could get rice to go with it. Though I'm someone who goes BYO rice when we order Indian takeaway.



On the ground level there was a screen, a brightly lit rectangle, which displayed the leaderboard of who was most popular - based on votes, so it's more like the most popular places from the votes and not everyone at the event or based on sale numbers.




It got dark pretty quickly for summer-ish day in Melbourne, more like spring though.


The Waving Cats - I'm told these are popular at asian shops/restaurants as the cats' paw is often waving forwards and backwards, waving in money a shopkeeper tells me. Perhaps it's on the same level as those hexagon mirror things place in front of doorways. 


Here's a great picture taken during the day by Andrew Robins



BMW was a sponsor of the markets this year and so bought some cars along to display.



The Citibank VIP Area - The only area with shade. Via invite or membership only. 


Picture by Gourmantic

N2 Extreme Gelato & Blackstar Pastry is one of the top places to try, with their watermelon cake. It looks beautiful and Alice's husband had it 3x times. I gave it a pass though, as I'm allergic to watermelon.




Sugar Prawn had #limeinacoconut ,'coconut & lime sorbet,sticky rice, LuxBite's salted caramel macaron, peanut, pocky stick' which looked intersting though when taken apart wasn't the same. I'm slightly interested. Though didn't get it as there were no lines and we didn't see anyone else with one, they were popular on instagram though.



Waffle on a Stick!



Waffle on a Stick was something I haven't had before, yes I know it tastes like any other waffle, but it's the novelty factor that gets you. They're all $10 and there's options for extra toppings, and I had the sesame maple, which tasted as expected. Nothing more, nothing less. Best shared. *Wished Jas was here* 




Picture by Broadsheets

Mr. Miyagi was another must try stall, with their soft shell crab, which I didn't get as I'm allergic to avacado. This festival covers an all the three things I can't eat: pork, watermelon and avacado. There was the salmon, but I don't like kimchi.

So we had the 'Mini Miyagi Fried Chicken bits, sushi rice, sushi ginger, pickled cucumber and Japanese mayo in a tempura nori shell' ($10). It's karrage chicken. Yum! Minus the ginger, I don't like ginger... but this was really good, a bit small though. I love the taco! We have yet to dine at Mr. Miyagi as we weren't invited to the party and it's a bit out of our 'cheap eat' price range. 

No pictures of this one as by then it was too dark and wet. Normally I'd use my phone light, but I couldn't hold my bags, the umbrella, the camera and the phone. I need an assistant.



I think this is an airline, it was massive! You could see it from afar and it looked like a bird.


On the top level away from the main areas was another hoy pinoy place, though it was very quiet, and nearby was a beer garden. Which woulld have been lovely if it was warmer and not wet.



The great thing about night events is creative lighting, I'm told music attracts people, not me though if it's blasting like a club! There was a bar though I didn't stay long enough to get the name, it was too loud. This arch was lovely and we'll have something similar at the wedding, secret garden x phantom of the opera theme, as I specialize in themed events.



Lights from the inside.


The mainstream entry beside a giant inflatable white cat. 

5 Dishes for $52, with the skewers being $12, everything else was $10. Prices were expected with small servings, except with the butter chicken, though not as small as the taste of melb last week, some of those dishes were literally just bites. 


Tips 

  • BYO metal/plastic forks, and wet wipes. 
  • Go in a group and get things to share. That was a regret of mine.
  • Bring an umbrella. In good weather be prepared to stand, yes there are tables but they would fill up pretty fast. And if you go in a group one person can hold the table.  

A suggestion to the organizers - clear marquees over tables would be good, and not just in the VIP area. Because when it rained everyone ran, and most of them didn't come back. There was absolutely no shelter. Other than me under my umbrella. :P



We might be back for the Night Noodle Markets next year, though we felt it was too close to the Taste of Melbourne and so had to allocate a smaller budget then usual. Also the crowds and lines are always a barrier. Can't wait to check out Mr. Miyagi, fingers crossed that they have a lunch special!


Did you go to the night noodle markets this year? Thoughts?



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