Saturday 26th November

As it gets darker the blue lanterns light up radiating a white glow, replacing the usual purply pink ones that turn red after dark. It's a nice change, though aren't as amazing as the red ones as night, ah vibrant, that's the word I'm after. But if we blast the saturation it'll looks good.

If you're with citibank you get access to the 'Citi VIP' area, once again the only area under cover pretty much. There's clean tables, a bar and two restaurants they deliver to your table. They're always the less popular places though. That picture of the grey skies, that's what the weather was really like on day 2.  

Thanks for the drink Citibank! Though it was mainly ice and an inch of foam on top...

We decided to skip hanging out in the area in favour of eating in the next line. That's the reality of it, lines and more lines. Divide and conquer. Group shots are completely planned. Shots with lots of different vendors, also planned.

There were hourly dragon dances, all very loud.

From BaoStop we tried both the fries and bao. The pecking duck fries at $15 was pretty much peking duck and sauce on top of fries. There is no ratio. While it was nice there wasn't enough sauce or duck. Better off buying peking ducks and fries on its own.

Trifecta of Bao $20

Peking Duck Gua Bao - Small piece of duck that was mostly chewy... a dud. But duck serving are rarely ever generous. But in theory this would have been amazing. Also the size was absolutely nothing like in the picture (see above).  

Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao - Jas says meh, it was average.

Fried Chicken Gua Bao - A slightly hot sauce with coleslaw under the chicken it felt a bit like a taco. It was good but fairly average too. 

The bun parts themselves were slightly sweet rather than savory, fluffy white dough. The idea was great, but on execution they were average good. 

Jas thought these sauce dispensors were hilarious! 

Roound 2 of Baos, this time from the more popular Wonderbao. $20

Fried Chicken Gua Bao - w hot sauce and kim chi cabbage it was quite nice and simple.

Panko Crumbed Eggplant Gua Bao - Melting like butter, I liked it while jas said it wasn't cooked as well as he'd liked.

Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao - With a sweet smokey bbq sauce and cucumber this was the bests of the six jas ate, a must for all pork lovers.

Menu log offered their own seating area, thin rugs on the ground and some bean bags, with delivery fro two places. Located up in the hill it was for the view.

Mr. Miyagi was one of the most popular stalls with the longest lines, no one had lines like them. Sporting Japanese fusion food these tacos were quite exciting, as no one offers anything like them. We had...

Mr. M’s Salmon: Grilled salmon, sushi rice, kim chi, Japanese mayo and chili oil in a nori taco shell. I'd expected this to be amazing, but it wasn't. It was average, once again concept over taste. I would have preferred something more like sashimi with the sauces and rice. Maybe different sashimis.

Tempura soft shell crab: Tempura soft shell crab, sushi rice, curried mayo, avocado guacamole, pickled jalapenos in a nori taco shell. - Fairing better than the salmon this seemed to be the best seller. Crispy crab and avocado, two things Melbourne loves. The curried mayo was on the sweet side and need more spice though. A try once thing.

Gelato Messina - Matcha Do About Nothing $10

Milk chocolate and matcha gelato with white choc x pistachio crunch in a green tea waffle cone. This was the highlight of the night noodle markets! It was like a premium magnum (think back to the magnum bar) married a connetto/Drumstick. All the textures and complimenting flavours, it was delicious!

Only On Sundaes $12 - Salted coconut sorbet with black sticky rice and lychee tapioca, caramelized puff pastry with lemon grass and white choc ganche.

Hmm... I'm not sure if that's what we had, because it didn't taste like that. Instead it was a lychee rose cream with tapioca/sago and coconut ice cream-y sorbet, atop a red bean rice base that was hard and horrible like yesterday's rice. So basically the top was great, but not the base.

I do love that Messina always offers something you can't get in-stores. The rest you can, though with the food festivals, they give you an opportunity to try a bit of everything. A series of expensive snacks, so better than others.

A card-less festival! Moving towards the taste event, which launched/was on during the same weekend, they both embraced card only. It makes everything easier, but what about those who don't use card? Grandma says she's not going, as she's skeptical and says they'll have her card info and empty out her account. But then again these food festivals are for young/older professionals with plenty of disposable income.

We were surprized not to see a bubble tea stall actually, there were only bars.

Did you go to the night noodle markets this year? What were your picks?

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