If you know me well enough, you would know that I’m not a huge fan of crowds at all – parties, social gatherings, music events… I’d much rather just stay home and write up a blog post while eating some Connoisseur Salted Caramel ice cream right from the tub (I am so addicted to this right now, guys). But I will always make an exception for food. Always. In fact, being in the company of so many people who all share your passion for food is quite enjoyable. Emphasis on a lot.
This was my first year at the Sydney Noodle Night Markets at Hyde Park since I was in the same war that all HSC students are battling through at this time last year – wow, has it really been a year?! Of course, I would choose to go on the opening night because NOODLE! NIGHT! MARKETS! If I had to choose one food I would eat for the rest of my life, it’d be noodles. I know it’s unfair of me to give that answer because there are so many noodles in the world but that’s exactly why it deserves such a high place in my heart. Noodles are magical.
THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD! My friend and I had to take a mini tour so we could make some very important decisions (on what to eat):
Writing isn’t my strong point so I decided to just feed you some photos. I was incredibly impressed on how they transformed Hyde Park into an amazing venue with enough grass and seating areas and great music and lighting to get you even more hyped up! As someone who shares a passion for art and design that rivals my love for food, I definitely spent quite a bit of time appreciating the aesthetics of the structures and lighting.
After going around the whole place, our stomachs started rumbling and we knew it was time to choose. As if choosing something from a menu wasn’t hard enough! Now, we had 50 food stalls to choose from. When in doubt, go where the people are.
And we somehow landed here at Teppanyaki Noodles after seeing a crowd in front of this stall. I’ll have to be honest though, what caught my eye was the word ‘cheese’ – noodles and cheese… it was a no brainer. We finally chose the stall, so now we had to make another choice. Well, in these situations, there’s one rule I always follow: go hard or go home. So of course, we chose the Oz Special Yakisoba in bright red. IT HAD EVERYTHING! Egg, noodles, cheese, meat – all I need in life.
Before you ask me where the cheese is (like I did), it’s there, somewhere, I promise. Mmmmmm my mouth is watering just at the thought of it – Japanese mayo, cheese, yakisoba sauce and a bit of tang from the lemon – this sure satisfied my noodle craving. I like that they didn’t overpower the noodles with more cheese because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to taste everything else. If I had to be a little bit more critical, I would add more vegetables and have the egg runny. But other than that, this was a great way to start the night off!
7PM hits and BAM MORE PEOPLE – honestly, it reminded me of subway rides when I was in Beijing. But better I was breathing in food and not other people’s B.O.
Side note, to give you guys an idea how long this blog post is taking me – I just finished half a tub of ice cream, a cup of milk tea and I’m now finishing up my Shin Cup Ramen. Actually, I don’t know how that gives you a sense of time but yeah, I eat way too much and way too often.
Following my principle, ‘go where the people are’, it landed us here in the land of kawaii dumpling (sorry not sorry for using that word). The people who worked at Harajuku Gyoza even had these adorable bandanas with the cute dumpling printed all over! Again, the line was pretty long but it didn’t take too long to place our order. But what did take long was waiting for our food – we ordered at around 7.15PM and got the food at approximately 8PM. We basically have a timestamp of all the food we eat because of Snapchat. Waiting and the smell of delicious, unobtainable gyoza made the food even hungrier despite having food in me just an hour before.
This duck gyoza ($8.00) was probably not worth the wait but at least it was still delicious and just the right crunchiness. Maybe my taste buds aren’t refined enough, but I didn’t taste a huge difference between duck and pork gyoza.
Actually, the dumplings took so long, I went in line for Wonderbao which was even longer while my friend was waiting for the dumplings because we definitely needed something else. I was really excited to see that they were here in Sydney because I loved it in Melbourne and wished they opened one here permanently. But um…… one thing that really shocked me was that it was $7.00 for one gua bao as opposed to its normal price of $4.20 which wasn’t exactly cheap either. I understand that they’re from Melbourne and the food at the night markets are overpriced anyway but it did hurt a bit. But I was hungry and my animal instincts were coming in and I knew I wanted Wonderbao.
And Wonderbao we got. It didn’t take long at all to get even though the line was quite long! We decided to get our Melbourne favourites Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao and Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao and I guess, in an environment where there’s so many orders at any given time, it’s hard to maintain top quality food. But that being said, it was still amazing and fresh tasting.
Before we even entered the venue, we knew what we were going to get for dessert. Messina! There were four options of ‘pot luck pies’ as they call it and of course, we chose Phuc King Tasty ($9.00), hoping that it would live to its name. As usual, the coffee gelato was god-send, and the walnut crunch and condensed milk pannacotta added some crunchy yet a little chewy texture to it. The Asian spiced cookie was a great addition – nothing can ever go wrong with biscuit and ice cream. At the very bottom was a cinnamon scroll… a whole one. I knew there was cinnamon scroll inside somewhere but I didn’t realise it’d be a whole one, and by the time we got to it, it was soggy and the taste was a bit overwhelming. I just wanted more ice cream and less cinnamon scroll.
Anyway, it was getting late and we’ve been at the noodle night markets for around 3 hours so we decided to head off. Have some more photos:
The Sydney Noodle Night Markets should just change its name to ‘Asian Food Night Markets’ or something because it was definitely a lot more than noodles. I think what I would like to see is a wider variety of cuisines and more things that are more unique to the noodle market. While it’s nice to see big-name places like Chat Thai and Mamak reselling stuff they make normally when they’re just a few streets away in the CBD seems a bit nonsensical to me. Like, it’s nice to see Messina to sell something exclusive to the noodle markets or getting Wonderbao from Melbourne, making people more motivated to pay a visit to the event. But one can argue that it’s a great and convenient way to try things from different places in one night to gain revisiting customers for the future.
That being said, my wallet did cry a bit, even though I didn’t spend that much (~$25 for the night), I still wasn’t very full or satisfied since the prices made me hold back a bit. But you don’t really go to these things for value, it’s for the atmosphere, which the Sydney Noodle Night Markets delivered and conquered. A really awesome way to hang out with your friends and bond over food with some great music and entertainment! Sydney really should have more of these.