Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
October is one of my favourite months in Sydney – it’s Good Food Month, which means a celebration of all things foodie. The Night Noodle Markets has become something of a marquee event for the festival, and this year, there were more than 40 stalls selling all things Asian.
Unfortunately, the Night Noodle Markets may be suffering from “death by popularity” syndrome in my book. Every year, the crowds get larger and the lines get longer. Some people spend up to an hour in line for their food. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for crowds, and the less patience I have for lines. An hour’s wait? No thanks, I’ll just go somewhere else or stay at home with Netflix.
Our dilemma was that we really wanted to try the food, particularly Hoy Pinoy’s latest offering, since their Cebu Lechon (whole roast pig) was so mouthwateringly good last year. So we developed a plan of attack. Guided by celebrity chef, Adam Liaw, we narrowed our foodie target list to three dishes, and hit the markets just before they opened so we could beat the queues. Even then, we had to spend about 15 minutes in line to get our food.
Our picks were (clockwise from left):
The Singapore chilli crab lobster roll was disappointing to say the least. It was a plain old hot dog bun – the kind you’d get in bulk from Woollies for a cheap barbeque – topped with a tablespoon (two at the most) of lobster meat doused in chilli crab sauce. Sure it was flavoursome, but at $15 a serve, definitely overpriced.
The Peking duck fries was also disappointing. The fries were so heavily doused with hoisin sauce that they were soggy and the tiny scattering of duck meat meant that we each got the barest mouthfuls of duck. If only the duck to spring onion ratio were reversed.
The Liempo was our favourite. The grilled pork belly was coated in a sweet, tangy sauce (no it’s not burnt!) and served with rice. While not as good as last year’s offering, it was the best of the lot.
The verdict? More for Instagrammers than true foodies, and definitely not cheap eats. Much like the Vivid light festival, where you have to brave increasingly large and jostling crowds to see the show, it might be time to call it quits on this festival.
The Night Noodle Markets are held every year in October in Sydney’s Hyde Park. Don’t bother finding a park in the city – take the train to Museum or St James station instead.
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