The Sydney Side: Night Noodle Markets

annual events, food

Every year that we’ve lived in Sydney, we’ve made a point of heading to Hyde Park for the fabulous Night Noodle Markets, and so I’m amazed to find out I’ve never written about them here.

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Each October, dozens of Sydney’s Asian restaurants set up stalls in the park where diners can come each evening and sample their cuisine in an al fresco setting. They’re usually one of the first events on the summer festival calendar, and they always get us in the mood for all the outdoor fun we’re going to have in Sydney over the following months.

Before Hushpuppy arrived, we would go after work and meet up with friends. If we were lucky, we’d get a table, or otherwise, we’d just grab a patch of grass (even the grass become a hot commodity at a certain point in the evening). Now that we have a child, we try to be a bit more strategic. It’s actually a great event to take children to, even ones as young as Hushpuppy (she was 8 months when we took her last year, and it was no problem). For us, the keys to enjoying the Night Noodle Markets with a young child are:

Last year's Night Noodle Markets.

Last year’s Night Noodle Markets. Hushpuppy loved the dumplings.

-Arrive early. This year we arrived at 4:50 for a 5p.m. opening, which was perfect. We were able to get a table with no problems, find the stalls where we wanted to eat, and take turns getting food before the lines got very long or the kid got cranky.
-Know that there are no high chairs. We have a snack tray attachment for the stroller, which is the perfect Night Noodle Market seat for Hushpuppy.
-Be aware that there are going to be big crowds. There’s not much you can do about this, but for me at least, it helps to mentally go through how you’re going to maneuver crowds with a child.

Normally, I don’t have any idea what I’m going to eat. I just wander around the stalls and try to find the perfect combination of something that looks great coupled with a reasonable line. This has resulted in mixed results. I’ve had some incredible meals and some forgettable ones. This year, I decided to go with a plan. I consulted my favorite Facebook mother’s group for suggestions, and I got back the recommendation of Bao Stop. After looking at the pictures on their Facebook page, I decided that was my choice. photo 1 (7)The “baos” were sort of like little Asian tacos. The lobster one was in high demand, but honestly, the pork belly was my favorite. I also picked up an order of the sweet potato fries because I knew Hushpuppy would eat them, if nothing else, and just wow. They were unbelievably good, even better than the main course.

Partner-in-Crime had a crunchy noodle green curry from Longrain that he said was really good (too spicy for me, but that’s not saying much). I’ve eaten at Lograin’s stall in year’s past, and they are always delicious.

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I noticed that Gelato Messina had a stall this year (maybe they have in year’s past, but I haven’t noticed it before), and I was very curious. If you’re not familiar, Gelato Messina is a wildly popular dessert restaurant known for their many flavors of gelato. On any given evening, there’ usually a long line out the door to get in. They are not, however, an Asian place, so I wondered what they would have. Turned out, they’d put together several “potluck pies,” which were bowls of amazing concoctions with a mildly Asian bent. Here’s the one I settled on:photo 3 (3)copy

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I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture until I was well underway.

We also got a fortune cookie from Gelato Messina, whose “fortune” read:

photo 5Don’t think I’m not tempted to go back for just that very reason.

The Night Noodle Markets go on for a few more days until the 26th of October.