Night Noodle Markets 2013, Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne

This year marks the debut of the Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne, after many years of being run in Hyde Park in Sydney. Following the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney last month, Melbourne’s version will run for two weeks, featuring around 30 food stalls. Whilst not quite as expansive as the one in Sydney, it was probably a good number for testing the waters. Knowing that the crowds would eventually make lining up only for the tenacious, we planned to arrive at 5pm. It had been quite a nice, sunny day so there were already people streaming into Alexandra Gardens, though nowhere near as many as there would be later that night; two hours later, the lines grew to be about three times longer. Gelato Messina was almost empty when we first arrived but by the time we left it had the second longest queue behind Chin Chin. Even arriving at that early hour, we weren’t able to procure a table but there were plenty of grassy areas to sit on.

My pick for the night was the aloo tiki chaat from Autorickshaw. Looking at the menu beforehand, there were a few other things I considered trying, but the menu that night was slightly different at a number of restaurants. It only took me about 10 minutes to queue up and receive my food from Autorickshaw. Instead of the whole pattie being made of potato, there was an inner layer with peas. The pattie wasn’t too dry and the chickpea curry was very tasty. Hoy Pinoy’s skewers were incredibly popular and had a good smokey barbecue flavour. I had the pork belly with banana ketchup glaze, which was moist and not overly sweet.

In general, the food was somewhat expensive, but the things I tried were good and there was a great atmosphere. For events such as this, I’d suggest arriving early, having a rough idea of what to eat and queuing up quickly, particularly at the popular places.

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