They are finally here! The long awaited (well for me anyway!) Night Noodle Markets are gracing the Cultural Forecourt at Southbank for 10 glorious nights. The smell of spice, the sound of sizzling meat and the sight of dozens of coloured lanterns will greet you as you step inside a Asian hawker market JAM PACKED full of deliciousness. After 16 successful years in Sydney, and a big 2013 debut in Melbourne as part of Good Food Month, Brisbane was finally getting the chance to see what all the fuss was about.
Of course being the crazy foodie I am, I was prepared to brace the crowds for opening night on Thursday and boy, was it worth it. Buzzing with excited and hungry foodies, our plan of attack was to try as much as possible and naturally, take as many latern-filled selfies as possible.
As soon as you enter the Cultural Forecourt you could be taken to a street market somewhere in Asia. The Good Food Month Brisbane team have done such an impressive job theming the site with bunches of intricately decorated lanterns that fill the night sky with a warming glow. An Instagramer’s dream. (If you don’t believe me check out the hashtag #nightnoodle!) Stalls from some of Brisbane’s best Asian cuisine were on show as well as a quirky mix of bars and the much anticipated Tanqueray Gin Garden allowing market-goers to wine and dine away from the city hustle. The seating overlooking the beautifully lit city was nothing short of spectacular and everything down to the palette crates, recycled bottle lights, interactive painting display and of course the lanterns created such a relaxing vibe. I’m so proud of our food scene right now!
Okay, back to the all important FOOD! While we had to brave some hefty lines, for entree we went for Yakitori sticks, filled with tomato and thin strips of marinated pork belly, chicken and shallots. You just can’t beat grilled meat on an open flame and this was no exception. Popular food truck The Bun Mobile arrived with 500 buns ready to be filled with its trademark pork, chicken or Wagyu beef filling and of course we had to have one. Next up, we were having a bun filled with succulent terryaiki chicken, Asian slaw, Japanese mayo and Hoisin sauce. Yum, yum, YUM! This combination works on so many levels and I am obsessed with the steamed buns. However our tummies were not full yet, it was only just the beginning!
To mix it up a bit, next we went for a sweet little number of salted caramel gyoza with vanilla bean ice-cream. OH MY GOD. These little morsels (containing one of my fave flavour combos of all time!) were amazing. Plus, I totally mastered the art of working chopsticks in the process. Winning! Once we took a little break to explore the place and of course a few more lantern selfies later, we once again were drawn to a savoury option of Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima style so I am told!) which was a mouth-watering Japanese style pizza/pancake, filed with cabbage, spring onion, pork belly all cooked on an open BBQ and then drizzled with Japanese mayo, hoisin sauce and topped with dried bonito flakes. Now I know why people line up for this stuff, AMAZING! I loved it and I honestly would go back just to have another. Unfortunately as lovely as the lighting was, it proved difficult to take food photos. But trust me, they all tasted as good as they sound.
By this time the crowds were picking up and our senses were nearing a food-coma which was our cue to leave, full to the brim with delicious Asian cuisine.
I highly recommend checking out the Night Noodle Markets while they are here because there is certainly something for everyone! I must return to get my Asian-street food fix before they leave town, I can taste that Okonomiyaki already!