Night Noodle Markets Survival Guide

The restaurants and homes of Melbourne must have been deserted at dinner time this week because the city’s entire population was standing in a queue at the Night Noodle Markets.  Sydney’s popular Night Noodle Markets have finally come to Melbourne and a cracking location right next to the Yarra in the Alexandra Gardens plus some fabulous weather only served to compound the markets’ pull.  

night noodle markets

The idea is that the Night Noodle Markets are like the sort of hawker markets you see at night time in Asia.   Accordingly, the food is all Asian with the exception of Gelato Messina’s stall.  This still offers plenty of variety from roti bread at Mamak to pork buns at Wonderbao and Asian fusion at Chin Chin.

Ceviche from Banh Mi Boys Truck at the Night Noodle Markets
Ceviche from Banh Mi Boys Truck at the Night Noodle Markets

The great thing about the Night Noodle Markets, in comparison to other festivals like Taste of Melbourne, is there is no entrance fee to get in and you don’t have to use any special currency to purchase food or drinks.  The downside are the queues – they are horrendous.  I waited about 40 minutes in a queue at the Mamak stall and that queue was short in comparison to the ones for Chin Chin and Longrain.

The Rekordlig cider bar. I tried the new apple guava flavour - lovely.
The Rekorderlig cider bar. I tried the new apple guava flavour – lovely.

So my survival tips for the Night Noodle Markets are:

  • Get there early.  Queues were a lot shorter around 5pm and only got longer as the night went on.  
  • Focus on food first and then drinks (the opposite of what most people do).  The queues at the bars were always pretty short.  
  • Wear comfy shoes.  You will be walking around  quite a bit and heels sinking into grass could leave you wedged. 
  • Bring a picnic blanket to sit on or gain yourself to the Citi VIP area where you get nice tables and chairs in a fenced off area under fairy lights.   I was invited as a guest of Citi but any Citi card holders or Age subscribers are also able to access the area.  
Banh mi from Banh Mi Boys Truck at the Night Noodle Markets
Banh mi from Banh Mi Boys Truck at the Night Noodle Markets
    • Pick one or two stalls and order lots from them rather than trying to order one dish at each stall – you will be queuing all night.  
    • Don’t overlook the food truck section which is immediately on your left when you enter the noodle markets.  Some of the best food of the festival is there including the Banh Mi Boys truck.  The snapper ceviche (2 for $12) was light and summery with a real zing to it.  The best banh mi ($10) was the juicy pork belly flavoured with lemon grass in a dense bun which added some real substance to the roll. Banh Mi Boys on Urbanspoon
  • Go! Despite the queues it’s great fun and a welcome addition to Melbourne’s food calendar.  
Chicken satay sticks from Mamak at the Night Noodle Markets
Chicken satay sticks from Mamak at the Night Noodle Markets

Gourmet Chick was a guest of Citi in the Citi VIP area where I received some complimentary food and drinks (including food from Banh Mi Boys and Rekorderlig cider from Rekorderlig).  Other food and drinks were purchased personally. 

Details: Night Noodle Markets, Alexandra Gardens, 1 Boathouse Drive, Melbourne.  Mon – Sun Nov 18-30 2013.  
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve.  Entry is free and food is priced from $5 upwards.  
Kids: The Night Noodle Markets are kid friendly – there were lots of little tackers running around and people with pushers.  


  1. HHAHAHA i literally laughed out loud when I read Night Noodle Market SURVIVAL GUIDE because I have heard how crazy it is and how queues are simply insane hhaha that’s why I haven’t attempted but I will try go soon and HOPEFULLY get some food in me 🙂

  2. We are so glad you enjoyed the food! Another little trick is to get your food from the food trucks and bring it inside to have it with booze…the lines are no where near as crazy as the stalls inside 🙂

  3. Daisy – Hopefully the craziness has died down a bit by now but I am sure the market will continue to be a hit this weekend.

    Keen – Great tip – love it!

  4. What a disaster it was, we were subjected to long queues, average food, dirty dusty conditions, very very limited seating arrangements, excessive crowds of people, drinks and food value was very poor, never again !!!!!

    1. No good Mike. Which night did you go on out of interest?

  5. This has to take the cake for the most over-hyped, under-performing Melbourne food event of 2013! We went on the second night, secured a table and (even at the early hour of 5:30) proceeded to wait a good half hour for food. When the food came, it was acceptable quality, but did NOT represent value for money (5 small dumplings for $10? Puh-lease!). As the night got busier we then enjoyed picking out some poor soul at the back of a queue and taking bets on how long until they reached the front (typically around an hour!). We walked away $50 (per couple) poorer, but still very hungry and ended up in the CBD for some dessert. A pretty crappy night all things considered and definitely not in the spirit of cheap and cheerful hawker markets the world over…

    1. Georgia – Sorry to hear you had such a rubbish time. I think the Noodle Markets were too crowded this year and the long queues took away from the fun a bit (that’s why I thought a survival guide was in order). But I have to say I thought the food I had was good value for money (depends which store you go to I guess). Let’s hope the hype dies down a bit by next year so it is easier to get a meal.

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