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Good Food Month 2014: Night Noodle Markets, Melbourne

Soba noodles being made at the Night Noodle Markets at Birrarung Marr in Melbourne.

Just like in Sydney, I think it’s only appropriate that my Good Food Month in Melbourne also begin with the Night Noodle Markets.

And also cause I have food ADD, and the variety at the markets really feeds my habit.

Night Noodle Markets, Melbourne

This year, the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets has tripled in space, spreading out over lower, upper and middle terraces. Like Sydney, Melbourne has more than ample seating and tables, and boasts an amazing view of the city from the upper terrace.

And oh look, dancing geishas!

Dancing Geishas

SYDNEY Y U NO HAVE??!!

These dancers were strapped to a uni-silt thing, and leant back and forth waving their arms and pointing their feet in an exhilarating display of moving art.

It really was quite mesmerising.

But enough about that, the food awaits!

Hoy Pinoy

Suckling pig being roasted at Hoy Pinoy

First stop: Hoy Pinoy. If the amazing smell of barbecuing meats are not enough to get you, the billowing clouds of smoke will be.

Because where there is smoke, there is barbecue.

Skewers being barbecued at the Night Noodle Markets

Hoy Pinoy also made a stop at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets, but here, there is PIG.

Suckling pig being basted, from Hoy Pinoy

Delicious delicious pig.

Cebu Lechon from Hoy PinoyLechon Baboy, $12

Here, a whole suckling pig is spit roasted, before being carved up and served over rice, with atchara – a pickled papaya salad – and sarsa lechon – a savoury liver based sauce, making every bite rich and luxurious. I know it’s sacrilegious to say, but to be really honest I could be very happy just having the sauce mixed into the rice – it’s that good.

And of course, you can’t visit Hoy Pinoy without getting the mother of all skewers.

Pork and Chicken Barbecued Skewers from Hoy PinoyInihaw Ma Baboy (Pork, 2 for $10), Inihaw Ma Manok (Chicken, 2 for $10)

These aren’t your pansy satay skewers that you can get at any corner shop. Chunks of pork belly or chicken thighs are threaded – although threaded really is too delicate for these – onto massive sharpened bamboo sticks, and glazed with either a banana ketchup for the pork, or a sweet soy glaze for the chicken.

My favourite bit is to take all the meat off the skewers and mix them into the suckling pig and rice. Mmmmmmm. Comfort food.

Hoy Pinoy
Mobile Food Truck
Location Varies- See Facebook
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Website: https://www.facebook.com/hoypinoybbq

Hoy Pinoy on Urbanspoon

Fred Loves Korean

Chilli caramel pork doughnuts with plum dipping sauce from Fred Loves Korean

Fred Loves Korean, and I do too!

Fred and Ginger Catering is an events catering company in Melbourne, and this year they’ve decided to set up a stall serving up pork belly and kimchi baos, Korean popcorn chicken, and doughnuts.

Chilli caramel pork doughnuts!

The satisfyingly spicy shredded pork filled a chewy doughnut exterior, that has been deep fried to perfection. A sweet plum sauce gets drizzled over the top for that hint of sweet, and the whole thing gets served over a bed of rocket.

Y’know, for if you’re feeling guilty about eating a pork doughnut.

Gogi Food Truck

Sriracha Caramel Chocolate from Goji Food TruckSriracha Caramel Chocolate

Food Trucks also made an appearance at the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets, and I couldn’t pass on the Sriracha Caramel Chocolate Bar. I mean my favourite chilli sauce in my favourite flavour combo? Yes please?

Well, the idea was there, I guess. I really like the crumbly texture of the inside of the bar, and there was a nice balance of spiciness to it. Did it taste particularly of Sriracha? …no. But it was quite tasty, and for $5, not a bad buy.

Gogi Food Truck
Mobile Food Truck
Location Varies- See FB
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9041 6033
Website: http://gogi.com.au/

Gogi on Urbanspoon

Longrain

Chicken curry from Longrain

Longrain made an appearance too, offering (what I think are) versions of their usual menu.

Salt and Vinegar Peanuts from Long Grain

I had the Chicken Curry and the Salt and Vinegar Peanuts, and although it was perfectly nice, it was almost too classy for me to enjoy it in a market environment.

When I go to markets, I am looking for food that’s got a bit of oomph and attitude. A bit of the ol’ I’ll-slap-you-in-your-face-and-you’ll-like-it. Longrain however is like the business class of Asian food, which to me, is high in finesse, low in atmos. I think I might stick to Longrain the restaurant, thanks.

Longrain
44 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone:03 9671 3151
Website: http://www.longrain.com/
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sat, 5pm-12mn, Fri, 12nn-12mn, Sun, 5pm-11pm

Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon

Lao Lao

3 Dish Tasting Plate from Lao LaoLao Lao 3-dish tasting plate

I’m not entirely familiar with Lao food – only knowing that it’s similar-to-thai-but-not-quite – so when Lao Lao had the option of a 3 dish tasting plate I had to give it a shot. The plate consisted of Lao dried beef, Lao Noodle Salad, and Rice Balls with Dipping Sauce, all of which you could order individually if you wanted.

The dried beef reminded me of the Hawaiin Pipikaula, which in turn reminds me of jerky. I’m no jerky expert, so it all is a bit much of a muchness to me, with subtle difference in the spicing of the beef, but similar texture overall. Great beer snack methinks.

The Rice Balls were very much like flattened arancini balls, but Lao spiced, and not as cheesy. Pan fried to be crispy on the outside, these are fantastic for a cool night, and I love the sweet/savoury/tang of the dipping sauce, which reminds me of the Vietnamese Nuoc Cham dressing.

And finally, the noodle salad. Which is more a dry fried noodle more than a salad that you’d expect. I wasn’t sure if the dipping sauce was also meant to double as a dressing for the noodles, but I poured it over anyway and enjoyed it like a rice noodle salad I’d have at my local Vietnamese joint. The fried shallots on the top really set it off and gave it a depth of flavour, while maintaining a false simplicity of flavours.

Wonderbao

Prawn and Japanese Mayo Gua Bao from WonderbaoPrawn and Japanese Mayo Gua Bao

Wonderbao, of course made an appearance, with a Prawn and Japanese Mayo Gua Bao as one of their options this time! It was as you’d expect, not terribly inventive, but you don’t mess with a classic like that!

Nai Wong Bao from WonderbaoNai Wong Bao

And a custard filled Nai Wong Bao, just cause.

Wonderbao
Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9654 7887
Website: http://www.wonderbaokitchen.com.au/
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm, Sat, 11am-4pm, Sun, Closed

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon

Charlie Dumpling

Kuromitsu salmon, green tea soba noodles, radish, miso, wasabi peasKuromitsu salmon, green tea soba noodles, radish, miso, wasabi peas

From Charlie Dumpling I got the Kuromitsu salmon, green tea soba noodles, radish, miso, wasabi peas, $10. Kuromitsu is a dark Japanese sugar syrup, used in the making of many of their confectionaries. I’m guessing that they’ve used it as a bit of a sugar cure, although with the miso dressing, I can’t really taste the sweetness?

Either way though, it was a rocking dish. The soba noodles were light, the salmon was fresh, and the miso sauce was just rich enough for it to be delicious like a ‘naughty’ dish. The wasabi peas were a great idea to inject a bit of wasabi flavour and crunch without that nose-clearing hit of the green stuff, but again, with the richness of the miso sauce, didn’t quite come through like I hoped it would.

All the nitpicking aside, I’d totally get it again.

Charlie Dumpling
184 High St
Prahran, VIC 03181
Phone: 03 9510 4213
Website: http://charliedumpling.com.au/

Charlie Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Kong BBQ

Sticky Chicken Wings, Kong BBQSticky Glazed Chicken Wings, $12

And our final stop, Kong BBQ!. Kong and Chin Chin had previously made appearances in Sydney for SMH Good Food Month’s Asia Town, where they served up a rocking crispy school prawns with a proper slap-you-upside-the-head fermented shrimp and chilli sauce.

Here, they showcase Korean influenced food, like these finger lickin’ wings that are coated in a sweet/spicy sauce that I recognise from my favourite chilli glazed Korean Fried Chicken. Except that these aren’t fried. But still good.

Does make you want a Korean Fried Chicken after though.

Kong BBQ
599 Church St
Richmond, VIC 3121
Phone: 03 9427 1307
Website: http://www.kongbbq.com.au/
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-11pm

Kong BBQ on Urbanspoon

It was just a gorgeous night out at the markets, and because it’s so spread out, there was truly plenty of space to hang out in, without the clutch-your-purse-to-your-chest crowds that Sydney had. The queues were also way more manageable, I think maybe because the popular stalls were spaced a bit further apart?

The way I see it, the extra steps only gives me an excuse to eat more food!!!

Insatiable Munchies was provided samples from Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao, and Longrain for review. Other dishes mentioned in this post were purchased.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sharon November 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Hi Tammi,

    Enjoyed your post and pics! What did you think of the prices? Were they reasonable or just inflated with small servings for the noodle market? Hubby wants to check it out for the first time but we don’t want to be price shocked πŸ™‚

    Thanks!

    • Reply Tammi Kwok November 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Hi Sharon! I think they were pretty reasonable. $12 for a Pad Thai kind of reasonable. So on the higher side of reasonable I guess? Have a look anyway! Otherwise there are plenty of dining options in the city. =) let me know what you think of it!

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