The List: Item 177. Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park, Good Food Month Sydney
Ticked off The List: October 22, 2014
The Night Noodle Markets is part of a month long celebration of all things foodie in Sydney in October. Anh and I headed over there last night since he assured me that a week night would increase our chances of having more to eat since the pop up markets are a huge draw for crowds. I suppose if in Vancouver the Night Markets were only on for 2 weeks of the year it would attract similar crowds.
We were lucky that Anh gets off work at 4pm so we were able to head into the city and be at the markets right when they opened at 5pm. There was some people there already, however most stalls had little queues except for the “Eat Fuh” stall, brilliantly selling small bowls of Pho for only $2, they had dozens in their line already. I had read up a bit on other blogs about popular stalls so we had a loose plan of attack.
First up was WonderBao, which was up from Melbourne, and luckily there was no line! I took advantage of this to order their Gua Bao and ask if they could be made without coriander (it’s a vile herb and infects the food it touches). We got one of each of the Gua Bao for $20.
The bao were very tasty, the meal super tender and all the accompanying garnishes worked very well. They were soft and saucy and a bit of a fun mess to eat. Pardon all the sauce on my hands!
We then moved along the line to a stall advertising all of Luke Nguyen’s favourite foods. I’d been a fan since seeing him on Masterchef so we ordered some chicken satay skewers. They skewers were well cooked and seasoned, however slightly pedestrian and forgettable. We enjoyed them, but we probably wouldn’t order them again.
On to the next stall! There was a good line building up for the Ramen Burger / Rice Burger. It was intriguing, however we had our eyes set on the stall that was billowing smoke.
Also up from Melbourne was Hoy Pinoy, who was serving up enormous volumes of giant chicken and pork belly skewers. They had a very efficient system for cooking and getting people queued up. The line moved quickly and everybody got a good view of the sizzling skewers being cooked and getting basted in the smoky, smoky scent. It also gave us some time to practise our selfie! (We did not have a selfie stick like many other groups)
We got 2 chicken skewers for $10 and we greatly enjoyed them. They were well cooked, with a sweet and tangy glaze. The skewers were a massive hit of the markets, nearly every had a few of them and I even got stopped by a lady asking me where I had gotten them as I was happily chowing down on mine.
A birdie had told me that there was a pad thai hot dog to be found at the noodle markets and I wanted to track it down. It had been a long time since I’d had an asian hot dog, and I wanted to see how the combination would be.
The Pork Pad Thai was tasty, though a few things could have made it better. I was expecting the more traditional thicker noodles of pad thai as opposed to the small vermicelli noodles. As well, the bun wasn’t toasted, and combined with the cold bean sprouts it made for a kind of luke warm hot dog. The sauce was a surprise and spicier than I was expecting, but it gave the hot dog the kick it needed to be interesting.
At this point of our slightly fevered pace of eating (as the markets were getting busier and busier as the time wore on and we didn’t want to get too stuck in lines) we were getting a touch full. Close to the hot dog stand was the pop up of Gelato Messina. Even though we had just some the night before and we had a container sitting in a our freezer, we needed to have their special dessert combinations especially for the noodle markets. Again, we lucked out with only about five people in the queue before us. I know I keep talking about the lines but not even an hour later as we took another turn around the markets many of the popular stalls we had been to had lines so long they seemed almost impossible. I was prepared for the worst with a packet of banana bread in my purse as Anh doesn’t do lines well.
We got the “Happy Taste Bud Time” – lychee sponge, mango purée, rambutan and coconut gelato, whipped salted coconut cream, coconut macaron. It was amazing, one of the best things that we had at the markets. The mango purée was intensely flavoured and cut through the other very complimentary flavours. Every other bite prompted “it’s so good” comments as we were eating it. At $9 for the large bowl, it was one of the better value desserts at the markets.
By this time, crowds were beginning to get rather overwhelming. We waited for another friend to join us and she was able to get some yakisoba noodles from a stall rather quickly but another walk around proved that nearly the all the stall had ridiculous lines. It’s easy to see why the Night Noodle Markets are such a popular attraction, with good food, interesting decor and a central location it was a great time for many ages. I just wish it was on for longer so the crowds were a little less.