Bianca & Alex: The ‘Good Food Month’, the perfect excuse to eat like a glutton and have it be celebrated. October, besides being the month I decided to make my first appearance on this earth twenty-seven years ago, is also home to a month-long festival celebrating all things food, different cuisines and varying locations.
The Night Noodle Markets run for almost three weeks in Hyde Park and is one of the most popular attractions of the month long food celebration.
Last year was a calamity of errors and total amateur hour on our part, buying dishes on a whim without proper research (my middle name). Alex went once before our visit together so this will be a bit of a mish mash post…..like his brain.
So we were well prepared this time around with a list of stores and dishes on our hit list.
Read on to hear all about Alex and my eating adventure..
So, I (Alex) first ventured to the noodle markets on a very quite wednesday evening. The popular stalls were on my list for that particular evening because I knew we’d get it fairly quickly. As I walked around I scoped out the park to get my bearings and can I just say, I was very confused as to why anyone would get “korean” chips on a stick when there is such a vast amount of food to try from. Cmon’ guys! Be adventurous!
My first stop was ‘Hoy Pinoy’. I actually had heard nothing about this place but was drawn to its vibrant smell and smoke that was enveloping the far right area of the park. (Because it makes sense to follow smoke right?) Luckily my senses are amazing and brought me to an army of chicken and pork skewers. I was feeling adventurous tonight so I went for the ‘Inihaw Na Baboy’: Barbecue pork belly with banana ketchup glaze. $10 for 2. Amazing flavours that seemed to mesh so unusually well together, I did find that the pork was quite chewy and a bit rough to eat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy pork. For some odd reason I get these unusual cravings for dumplings every time I have a break at work in the city, so I always get my fix from Din Tai Fung, but as I’ve heard so much about ‘New Shanghai’ I couldn’t discourage fate.
The dumpling gods worked their magic and alas I had found myself eating possibly the best ‘Xiao Long Bao’ (Steamed pork dumpling) I’ve ever had!
My friend and I also got a serving of the‘Pan Fried Pork Buns buns’ and oh my lord! I could eat a box of these bad boys. The contrasting textures, the perfect seasoning. Such a moreish dish that begs to be eaten.
I also tried out a yum cha food truck? Don’t remember the name but it was right next to Izakaya Den and got the pork buns. Unfortunately I am now turned off pork buns for a while. Not only did I find a hair inside my pork bun but they were cold, overcooked, and tasted as though I was eating rubber. Not even drowning it in soy sauce could save them which was a shame. Rookie mistake…
The last meal of the night was the Satay roll from Chinta Ria. Was I blown away? Not really, It tasted okay, If it was a soft roll I think it would’ve went a lot better texture wise with all of the ingredients, but I wasn’t disappointed, I always love a bit of satay.
First up for mine (Bianca) and Alex’s eating fest at the Night Noodle Markets, were the Melbourne juggernauts ‘Wonderbao’, with their traditional and not so traditional bao’s. Those pillowy bites of heaven won’t be forgotten soon. We shared the ‘Twice Cooked Pork Belly’, ‘Braised Pork Belly’ and the ‘Fried Silky Tofu’ $7 each. This is where we disagreed and when we disagree, I generally take it as a sign that I am right and Alex is wrong. He preferred the Pork which I did enjoy, however the pork was slightly tough. My heart belonged to that tofu bao, crispy with a little bit of a crunch on each bite. Texturally it kept my brain interested with every bite. I’m planning to hit up Melbourne early next year and a date with Wonderbao will be on the cards…they just don’t know it yet.
And with the gods all aligning we hit the trifecta our next three stops were virtually all next door to each other and right near an exit…because there is nothing a fatty likes more than minimal movement, an easy escape and a quick purchase to mouth turnover. Yep…I just said that.
With a division of resources I dispatched Alex to ‘Poklol’ where he was buying our Korean tacos. We got two because we’re greedy. A ‘Chilli Chicken’ and ‘Chilli Pork’ 2 for $12. I kind of wanted to snatch these off Alex and eat them behind a tree somewhere, they trumped the bao’s. They both had a decent handful of fried crispy onions which contrasted really nicely with the soft tortilla and succulent pork/chicken.
I was tasked (by myself) to get the ‘Char Kway Teow’ from ‘Jackie M Malaysian’, I missed out on her restaurant before she shut up shop on Majors Bay Road, around the corner from us. So I made sure I got in here. I enjoy my hearty noodle dishes and this one was very satisfying, whilst it was on the steep side at $16 with Chicken it was a generous serve. And an added bonus I went with the side of Sambal, having yet mixed it in, Alex dived right in and got a big ol spoonful. He probably didn’t appreciate my laughing as loud and heartily as I did. My bad.
And lastly for our haul, the ‘Den Fried Chicken’ from ‘Izakaya Den’ there was no-one at their stall when we walked past with our CKT and taco’s and I’m not going to argue with fate so we picked up ourselves a small serving $8 and headed to our shameful eating corner. Another highlight – the exterior batter was crunchy while the inside was perfectly moist. We also loved the addition of the kewpie mayo.
We decided (or so I thought) to skip Gelato Messina at the markets but found ourselves at the Darlinghurst Dessert Bar forty minutes later….sorry not sorry.
And that concludes the Sydney Night Noodle Markets, I’m already looking forward to next year. (and so is this little guy I think!)
Bianca & Alex
Photos by Alex