Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Good Food Night Noodle Market, Melbourne 2013

An unplanned early visit to the Good Food Night Noodle Market made for a pleasant afternoon on Sunday.  The market is a cluster of Asian-style eateries from Melbourne.  Crowds were constantly making their way in to eat al fresco.  My mother and I browsed the stalls, had a bite to eat and left while the sun had barely considered setting.

The markets have been temporarily set up in the Alexandra Gardens between 18 and 30 November 2013.  It is a charming location, on the banks of the Yarra River with the city skyline as the backdrop.  Chinese lanterns and fairy lights were set  up to add to the atmosphere if you stayed that late.

The night markets open on 4pm on a weekend.  We arrived at 4.10.  There were lots of vacant tables and chairs but the ground was already soggy in places from the rain we had had.

We passed Chin Chin's stall where my mum bought some chilli caramel popcorn to snack on.  It was very good, albeit quite spicy for me.

Mum spotted someone with dumplings and asked where they were from.  I don't remember the stall but I think it was the one with the longest queue.  While mum waited, I walked around the stalls to see what sort of vegetarian food was on offer.

I was pleased with the choice.  I was tempted by I Love Pho's Vegetarian Pho, Spanthai's Vegetarian pad see ew, a freshly made papaya salad (which I assumed could be made vegetarian) and spring  onion pancakes.   These are all dishes I would love to try when eating out but rarely get a chance.  I regret not taking notes on the Wonderbao vegetarian offerings but the queue was so long I didn't hang around.

By the time I had checked out the stalls my mum was just placing her order for dumplings.  She gave me my plate of veg dumplings but had to go back for hers.  I really enjoyed the dumplings.  They had a simple but fresh and tasty filling of mushrooms and greens.

We then decided to buy a our early dinners at Longrain.  I was attracted by the focus on a few vegetables rather than a generic vegetarian version on a dish in their veg offering.  My yellow curry of cauliflower, pumpkin, mustard greens and chilli was rather good.  Very spicy.  But nicely cooked vegetables (were the pickled vegetables the mustard greens?) and lots of rice to mop it up.

What really amazed me was that by this time (4.30) there were no free tables.  We managed to nab a few lone chairs.  Then I heard someone say 'I guess we will lose our tables' as they walked away.  Oh yeah, I thought, as I took possession of the table.

Then, just as I was about to go and buy a drink, a waiter came to our table to offer us to do it for me.  Mum and I shared a Strawberry and Lime Cider from Rekorderling.  It was delicious and fruity.  I do think that it was so easy to drink that you could get drunk on it rather quickly.  It made the chilli in my meal more palatable.

Then we were ready to leave.  Though the ice cream, sundaes and pancakes were tempting, we had eaten enough.  I would have liked to see it lit up at night but it was so busy so early that I don't think I would fancy being there when it was any busier - and by all reports it did get far far busier.

NOTE: I had read Steph's post on Vegan About Town.  (If my internet connection wasn't so bad tonight I might have checked out other reviews.)  She had quite different expectations and a very different (very negative) experience.  I think going early suited us.  I don't eat out a lot and so this was a nice chance to try different dishes, even if I don't recognise many of the stall names.  However if you expect a traditional Asian night market, it is worth reading Steph's reflections.

Night Noodle Markets
(part of the Good Food Month)
November 18-30, 2013
Mon-Tue: 5-9pm; Wed: 5-10pm; Thu:-Fri 5-11pm; Sat:4-10pm; Sun: 4-9pm
Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne
http://melbourne.goodfoodmonth.com/nightnoodlemarkets

21 comments:

  1. A whole market full of noodles?! Yum.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - actually not as many noodles as you might expect at a noodle market

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  2. That curry look so appealing Johanna and the cider too. You always have such great foodie days out. That is something sadly lacking in my part of the world.

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    1. Thanks Jac - we do have some great outdoors foodie events but you have your clandestine cake clubs that always make me jealous

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  3. Oh man. Can somebody bring this idea to Kansas City?! I haven't read Steph's post yet, but yours makes it sound deliciously fun!

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    1. Thanks Dayne - apparently these night markets have been going in sydney for years and only recently started in Melbourne so perhaps there is hope for kansas city

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  4. aw this would be Euan's idea of heaven - noodles are his favourite and his best :o) Looks like a terrific way to spend some family time x

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    1. Thanks Nic - I was happy to leave Sylvia home because she loves noodles but with no sauce and this was not the sort of plain food she loves - but in theory is a great family outing - quite a lot of prams about

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  5. Sounds like you went at a good time, my friends said they were queuing for aaaages!

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - I couldn't believe how busy it was given how early we were so I can imagine it got crazy later

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  6. What a fabulous looking market. Love the sound fo the chili caramel popcorn

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    1. Thanks Katie - I am going through a popcorn phase so was quite excited to taste some interesting popcorn even if it a bit spicy for my tastebuds

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  7. I can imagine how hectic it got! The Sydney one was out of control when I last went (I haven't been for years).

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - with the queues, the alcohol and soggy grass at 4.30 goodness knows what it would be like a few hours later - I am not sure I feel the need to go every year if it continues in Melbourne but am glad I went.

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  8. Chilli caramel popcorn sounds fantastic! As do these markets in general - such a wonderful idea.

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    1. Thanks Kari - it is a great idea - I particularly like using this part of parkland by the river because it is just such a great spot

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  9. Oh how funny; I had the cider recently! Except I couldn't drink more than two sips as I found it sickeningly sweet. My guess is I wouldn't have found the food that was spicy to you spicy, either. Oh different tastes! :)

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I found the cold sweet drink helped cut through the spice and I am always a sucker for a good fruity drink but it was rather sweet. though I wouldn't go as far as sickening. As for spiciness - I suspect many people wouldn't have found it as spicy as me

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  10. Oh my word, I think I would have gone home about two stone heavier if I went to that place. I would have been unable to stop going back for dumpling seconds, and thirds... Looks like a great day!

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    1. Thanks joey - I think many people would have eaten more if not for the queues - perhaps queues are just a dieting tool :-)

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