I struggled to find anyone who wanted to come to the Night Noodle Markets with me this year. “I’d prefer to just go to the restaurants” they said, “I hate the queues”, and “there’s nowhere to sit”.
In previous years these have all been valid complaints. Unless you carefully orchestrated your Night Noodle Market visit (or got some sort of VIP entry) they could be hellish. The markets were a victim of their own popularity and queuing for up to 45 minutes at each stall is no fun for anyone.
But this year I feel the Night Noodle Markets have really hit their stride. They’re bigger than ever, expanded over three different parts of Birrarung Marr overlooking the Yarra. There’s plenty of seating although the best view in the house has to be just sitting on the grass on the upper terrace looking out over the skyscrapers and river.
Queues were not an issue at all. I spied short queues at Wonderbao and the Chin Chin/Kong stalls but otherwise it was walk right up.
Ordering at the Gelato Messina stall was much easier than getting served at an actual Gelato Messina store.
Given entry is free I thought the food while not a bargain, was reasonably priced and certainly represents better value than Taste of Melbourne. I can recommend the pork belly ($12) from Red Spice Road with its lovely sticky caramel sauce although the noodle and prawn salad ($12) could have done with more punch.
Crisp, sweet skewers of chicken teriyaki ($12 for two) from Daniel San had other people asking “which stall is that from?” and I couldn’t go past Messina’s deep fried ice-cream offering called “Great balls of Fryer” $10. I don’t know how they made it but it was so deliciously bad it probably should be illegal.
If you’ve written off the Night Noodle Markets it’s time to put them back on your list.
Entry is free. Gourmet-Chick received some dishes for free and paid for others.
Details: Night Noodle Markets for Good Food Month, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. Runs until Sun 29 November. Monday–Wednesday 5pm–9pm, Thursday-Friday 5pm–11pm, Saturday 2pm–10pm, Sunday 2pm–9pm
Damage: Reasonable. Entry is free.
Kids: Super kid friendly. They can run around like crazy and you might even be able to convince them to try some new foods. Noodles and meat on a stick were popular with my two year old.