Noodle Night Delight

Mid November of 2013 saw the Melbourne debut of the Night Noodle Markets (it is already an annual part of the Sydney culinary calender), where for 2 weeks, the Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River will be transferred into a hawkers bazaar showcasing many of the great Asian street cuisines (Indian, Thai, Nepalese, Taiwanese, Filipino, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, and of course, Vietnamese).

Night Noodle Markets makes a stunning Melbourne debut

Night Noodle Markets makes a stunning Melbourne debut

Serving from 5-9pm Mon-Tue, Wed 5-10pm, Thu-Fri 5-11pm, Sat 4-10pm and Sun 4-9pm, we arrived half an hour after opening and the place was jam packed!

Melbourne had really turned on the weather as well, so with the air full of delicious scents, a promptly found myself in a dumpling queue whilst Sarah queued to get us some nice cold beers.

This would have to be the first event I have patronised in a very long time, where the line for a beer was dwarfed by the lines for food!

Everywhere we looked, there were people tucking into delicious looking (and smelling) plates of dumplings, bowls of steaming noodles, meats on skewers or bags of tasty spring rolls.

Sitting on the grass with our beers and dumplings we began to plot our next move.

Initially we’d had visions of strolling from stall to stall, sharing a few plates of goodies and happily filling our bellies.

The sheer volume of people saw the need for us to revise this plan, so we figured our next destination would be one where we would definitely need to stock up to see us through.

We settled on the delicious sounding menu of Wonderbao (we’re always a sucker for Pork Belly or Duck, and this had the former) so found a place at the end of a very long queue.

We even had time enough for Sarah to leave and grab us some more beer, and 40 minutes later we were 2 people from the front when the young girl behind the counter delivered the horrible news, “We’re sold out of the Roast pork belly gua bao”

Quickly forming a plan B, it was BBQ Pork Buns and a Cumin Chicken Bao instead…

Our "Wonderbao" feed

Our “Wonderbao” feed

Plan B was simply sensational! The roasted Cumin Chicken Bao (which was realistically a 3rd choice) was the highlight of the evening, and a beautiful flavour on which to call time on our evening.

Last years event in Sydney attracted a record 300,000 people, but considering many dishes were being sold out by 7pm and they had for a time stopped people entering the event, I’ve got a feeling Melbourne is quickly going to set a new attendance benchmark.

We know we’ll definitely be back before the fortnight is over (possibly a few times), if for no other reason than to get our hands on that elusive Roast pork belly gua bao!

A Melbourne sunset on Flinders Street

A Melbourne sunset on Flinders Street

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4 Responses to Noodle Night Delight

  1. Chris, this sounds so delicious! Judging from the crowds I think Melbourne has a hit on its hands. I’m not familiar with Roast pork belly gua bao. Can you describe it? ~Terri

    • Chris says:

      Hi Terri, glad you liked the post (we certainly enjoyed the food!)

      We didn’t actually get to sample the Pork Belly version on this occasion (sadly it sold out just as we hit the front of the queue), however I can fill you in soon I hope, as we’re heading back there on Saturday!

      The Bao themselves, if you are familiar with BBQ Pork Buns, are made of a similar dough, in this case used as a mini wrap in the style of a soft Taco I guess.

      The Cumin Chicken version was delicious!

      Are you two still enjoying Hungary, or have you since moved on?

      Regards, Chris

      • Thanks for the description Chris. I’ve never had BBQ Pork Buns so I need to find some to try. Hopefully you’ll have better luck on Saturday with the Pork Belly.

        We’re home from Hungary and just finished celebrating James’ birthday in New Orleans. It was a blast! ~Terri

  2. Chris says:

    A quick update: We sampled the Pork Belly Bao this afternoon and they were delicious (although surprisingly, we both still preferred the Cumin Chicken version)

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