Music plays in the late afternoon as happy crowds wander through Reconciliation Place. The warm air is filled with the char and smoke from multiple grills, wafting intoxicating aromas that make your mouth water. People stroll past clutching containers of food and skewers that look and smell amazing; some hold coconuts with straws sticking out of them.
And that is when you realise that one visit to the Night Noodle Markets is not going to cover it.
Yes, it’s that time. The Night Noodle Markets are back!
For 11 nights, from last Friday night until 9 March, Reconciliation Place has been transformed into a bustling Asian street food festival. It is a chance for our tastebuds to go on a flavour trek through Asia as we celebrate all that is salty, spicy and sweet.
As well as traditional signature dishes, the hawker-style stalls will bring fusion dishes and new creations, while providing enough gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options to satisfy those with dietary requirements.
Before you head out to explore the markets, ticking destinations off your culinary bucket list, and indulging in the delicious, must-try, Insta-worthy dishes, do your research.
Check out the stallholders. My personal rule is ‘Don’t just stick to your favourites from last year. Try something new’.
Here are the stall-holders this year and their main dish or dishes to look out for. Most of the stalls will have images featured below.
New this year, Demochi is the delicious fusion of a donut and a mochi. They’re crispy on the outside with a pillowy soft chew. Look for the Original Glaze Mochi Donut with signature honey-infused gloss glaze. We highly recommend choosing the sweet black sesame sauce over the cinnamon mochi donut. These are not cheap, though, so buy a box you can share around.
Grill & Spice
Another new addition to the Night Noodle Markets, think Indian street food! Specifically, Samosa Chaat.
Support our very own Superbao in their Night Noodle Markets debut. Try their Sichuan Fried Chicken Bao-ger – 24-hour cooked chicken thigh marinated in sticky sauce.
Look out for their Vegan Peking Duck Pancake – crispy pancake stuffed with vegan roast duck and veggies.
Chinese Dim Sum King
Dumplings galore! Prawn, chives with prawn, mushroom and vegetarian options.
Raijin Noodles & Dumplings
These Japanese style dumplings (gyoza) steamed and served with garnish salads, original gyoza sauce with optional chilli.
From right here in Canberra, try their Chicken Waffle, Korean fried chicken in a waffle with melted cheese topped with parsley.
We sampled KorBQ’s signature fried chicken and WOW! It was fabulous; succulent chicken with an addictively crunchy crust.
Tokyo Taco – Fusion beef taco served with salsa and toppings on Japanese rice
Crowd favourite, Hoy Pinoy is featuring Filipino-style Lechon for the first time: boneless pig roasted over charcoal served on steamed rice with pickled papaya and a tangy dipping sauce. Don’t forget to snaffle up a Night Noodle Market’s staple: smoky sticky Hoy Pinoy skewers!
This year, Messina’s desserts are inspired by the flavours of Thailand.
Bangkok Banana – Deep fried banana fritters, caramelised palm sugar, banana gelato, coconut and lime chantilly, peanut crumble
Phuket Bucket – Condensed milk pudding, condensed milk crumble, lychee and sala shaved ice, lychee gelato, rainbow jellies.
May’s Malaysian Hawker
Singapore Noodles – Stir-fried rice vermicelli seasoned with curry powder, bean sprouts, veggies and special soy sauce.
Steamed buns filled burrito-style with tasty fillings. Char Sui Bao – Traditional BBQ pork bun with soy-based sauce. These bao are generous and flavoursome.
Bangkok Street Food
Delicious chicken and vegetarian tom yum noodles.
Featuring eye-catching Crispy Calamari on a skewer and Foot-Long Potato Fries.
Original Korean Twist Potato. Tasty skewer food!
One of the most spectacular and Instagrammed dishes from last year, this floating chopsticks dish is back! Order a Fist of Fury, a mix of chicken and pork with flying noodles.
Sample some yakisoba – Japanese style fried noodles.
Fusion food inspired by Western and Asian flavours. Look for Crackling Pork Noodles: roasted pork belly in caramelised sauce with boiled-egg noodles.
Teriyaki Beef Ribs – BBQ beef ribs basted in teriyaki sauce, served with Asian slaw and choice of coconut rice or chips.
Thai Loaded Fries – seasoned fries topped with chicken bites, tom yum mayo, Thai herbs and chilli.
Satiate your sweet tooth at Waffleland.
Lucky Fortune – Freshly baked waffle stick drizzled with caramel syrup and lychee, dusted with icing sugar with optional strawberries and ice cream.
Cheeky Monkey – Freshly baked waffle stick with peanut butter, ice cream, bananas, pretzels, caramel syrup and wafer sticks with optional strawberries, warm Nutella or melted chocolate.
Poklol x Puffle
Puffles: When waffles are wrapped around all manner of deliciousness.
KFC Puffle – Sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken stuffed inside a signature cheese Puffle, topped with Japanese mayo and shallots.
Cheeseburger Puffle – Chopped bulgogi beef patty mixed with melted cheese, drizzled with Japanese mayo, mustard, sweet and spicy ketchup in a cheese Puffle.
Chichi Fries – Crunchy beer-battered fries topped with your choice of bulgogi beef, Korean fried chicken or chilli chicken with melted cheese, smashed kimchi, fresh and fried shallots, topped with Japanese mayo and special Korean spicy sauce.
Sumptuous gourmet burgers. Look out for the NOTORIOUS P.I.G – crispy pork belly Asian slaw, pickled carrot, chilli caramel and aioli.
Look out for stir-fried Hokkien noodles with roasted duck in XO sauce.
Another fabulous bao option! The Bao Easy 3 is a set of pork, chicken and tofu bao.
Before you head to the Night Noodle Markets:
The markets are cash-free (all major cards are welcome) for quick transactions and to ensure that queue times are kept to a minimum. This means less time standing in lines and more time enjoying the food and the atmosphere. Obviously food at the Night Noodle Markets cannot be as cheap as street food in Asia. Come expecting that you will be dining in a massive open-air restaurant.
While seating is available, it is first-come, best dressed. Consider bringing a picnic rug.
Plan to take your time, so that after the sun sets, you can stroll around and enjoy Enlighten.
The Night Noodle Markets Details:
When: 28 February – 9 March
Monday – Friday: 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 4:00 pm – 10:30 pm.
Where: Reconciliation Place in Parkes (follow your nose!)
Original Article published by Michelle Taylor on The RiotACT.