Stand on the banks of the Yarra and slurp up the last of spring, one bowl of ramen at a time. The Night Noodle Markets launched in Melbourne last night with dancing Chinese dragons, bobbing lanterns and plumes of barbeque smoke.
Over 18 nights, 56 stalls and three bars will occupy Birrarung Marr to deliver an eclectic selection of dishes that are sweet, savoury and downright bizarre.
There’ll be noodles in their oodles, but what else? Here’s what to look out for this year. BYO sense of adventure, and get ready to queue.
Som yam with an optional mealworm garnish by LadyBoy Dining & Bar
Richmond’s LadyBoy Dining & Bar will serve som yam – a green-papaya salad – with an optional mealworm garnish. The mealworms are deep-fried and dusted in a mix of Thai spices, complementing the sour spiciness of the som tam with earthy, nutty and bitter flavours.
Insects have already crawled onto the menu at top dining destinations in Sydney; it’s time for Melbourne to give these protein-heavy, highly sustainable critters a go.
Chicken and Sriracha bun by Hawker Hall
Take a bite out of one of Melbourne’s most-anticipated restaurant openings ahead of its official launch.
Hawker Hall is the sister venue to Lucas Group restaurants Chin Chin, Kong and Baby, and opens on Chapel Street on November 14. If you’re keen to sample dishes from its hotly awaited menu, get yourself down to the riverbank and enjoy the beef rendang curry or chicken and Sriracha bun.
Banana Nutella gyoza by Harajuku Gyoza
This year, Melbourne welcomes Harajuku Gyoza, the cheerful dumpling purveyor based in Brisbane and Sydney.
Working within a realm that’s typically savoury, these guys showcase the versatility of the simple gyoza at the other end of the scale, filling their pieces with banana and Nutella.
Ramen burger by Everybody Loves Ramen
It’s ramen, but without the broth. Imagine all of your ramen ingredients packed neatly into a burger, and you’re halfway there. The final touch? The bun is crafted from fried ramen noodles.
Baonut by Baotime
Hopping on the doughnut wagon that’s been making its way around Melbourne’s cafes, Baotime treats us to the Baonut: a bao filled with homemade coconut (kaya) and egg jam.
Japanese-Mexican fusion tacos by Mr Miyagi
Windsor favourite Mr Miyagi is introducing a Mexican twist to some of its favourite dishes. Look forward to:
The MFC Taco – Miyagi Fried Chicken bits, sushi rice, sushi ginger, pickled cucumber and Japanese mayo in a tempura nori shell.
The Bombay Spider Crab Taco – tempura soft-shell crab, sushi rice, curried mayo, avocado guacamole, crispy garlic in a nori taco shell.
And Señor M’s Potato Gem – a serving of potato gems in a spicy hot sauce with sushi rice, tomato salsa, sour cream in a nori taco shell.
David Bao-wy by Gelato Messina and Wonderbao
An impressive feat from two of the most-recognised names on the Melbourne dining scene, the David Bao-wy is a deep-fried gua bao filled with salted coconut sorbet, dipped in white-chocolate-and-mango-ganache, then rolled in crushed cashews.
Black Star Pastry and N2 Gelato
November marks Sydney’s cult-favourite Black Star Pastry’s maiden voyage into Melbourne. It’s teaming up with N2 Gelato to serve the Cake Smash: Black Star’s strawberry-and-watermelon cake, beaten, whipped and frozen into a gelato, garnished with rose petals and pistachios.
The Singleton Whisky & Sugar Bar
The Singleton Whisky Maple Cookie is the product of a collaboration between The Singleton Whisky and New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Exclusive to the Night Noodle Markets, this hybrid will be served with an array of whisky cocktails and neat tastings.
The Night Noodle Markets run from November 12 to 29, 2015 at Birrarung Marr. Entry is free and open to all ages.
Mon to Wed 5pm–9pm
Thu & Fri 5pm–11pm
Sun 2pm –9pm