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Raise a glass and ruffle some feathers

The Canberra Night Noodle Markets

By Sophia Carlini - 2 March 2015 33

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Earlier this year it was announced that Canberra was going to be introduced to the Noodle Markets made famous by Melbourne and Sydney, and it has been the talk of the town ever since.

When I lived in Sydney, the Noodle Markets were another one of those events that I already have marked out in my calendar. It usually takes place in Hyde Park in the CBD and is crazy busy, with a wide variety of Asian inspired stalls. Having moved back to what I consider to be a quieter city, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that the Night Noodle Markets were coming to Canberra.

I moved house this weekend. Remind me never to do that again! And despite all of the running around, the bruises all over my body and the absolute exhaustion by Sunday afternoon, I was determined to arrive at the Noodle Markets by 4pm; I had heard from friends who attended on Friday that the lines were 20 people deep within an hour of the Markets opening. I love food and all but lines are such a killjoy.

Anywho, we arrived on time. Upon entry I was a little bit surprised that the size of the market was considerably smaller than what I have experienced in Sydney, but I guess our population is also much smaller. There were between 12 and 15 stalls, the majority of which were in a single line. We decided to start at the beginning and work our way along.

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We started at a stall serving hot mini pancakes and fresh drinking coconuts. Look at all those coconuts ready to go – Delicious!

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Dumplings were up next: chicken dim sum, pork buns and prawn and chive gyoza. Dumplings are my all time fave!

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Followed by massive chicken and pork skewers.

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By this point we were quite thirsty, it was a very hot afternoon. We found these wonderful cups of Asian ice tea; they were just perfect!

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After quenching our thirst we picked up a plate of chicken pad thai and then decided it was dessert time!

Waffles on a stick – great idea! Just don’t get the maple and sesame flavour … sometimes it really is better to stick with what you know, like Nutella, Nutella is always a winner.

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And of course, we could not go past the famous N2 ice cream made using liquid nitrogen. It’s a quite a cool little experience. The kids love it! The big kids (like me) love it too!

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There was a bunch of other foods too but as you can see, I ate enough to feed a small army. You will have to go and check it out for yourself.

The Canberra Night Noodle Markets are located at Reconciliation Place near Questacon and are running for 10 nights from 27 February to 8 March 2015. The markets open at 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
The Canberra Night Noodle Markets
rigseismic67 10:48 am 03 Mar 15

Ok event, marred by the usual massive crowds which many of the food providers failed to predict. 45 minutes wait for a special N2 ice cream is a little sad. We arrived at 6pm Monday night and it was standing room only, people in line next to us said they had been every night since it opened and planned to be there every night it is open. That’s a sad reflection on Canberra’s nightlife.

Ezy 10:09 am 03 Mar 15

I headed in there last night – fortunately I was a guest of Thatcher’s cider, so the dumplings and skewers came to us all night. The dumplings were amazing and the smokiness flavour of the skewers was something special.

As for the crowds, yes you can complain about it. It is Canberra at the end of the day – the city that complains that nothing good ever happens here, and when something good does come to town you complain about how busy it is.

Having an event like this, and it being popular shows that there can success found in running these things. Which can only mean good things ahead for us. Sure, it will take a few goes to iron out the kinks (we will be seeing the noodle markets for another 4 years), but just be patient or plan accordingly.

This isn’t a restaurant experience, it is a festival experience… embrace it for what it is.

rosscoact 7:44 am 03 Mar 15

I love the Noodle Markets. It means that the good restaurants that I normally have to book at are empty to half full and you can just walk in.

Sweet.

Hopefully the Noodle Markets can work out their really bad logistics issues before they become a victim of their own popularity

bd84 7:21 pm 02 Mar 15

Vendors were ridiculously unprepared. Opened at 5pm but most hadn’t started cooking anything. Some stalls were more prepared and served reasonably quickly, but most didn’t. Gave up lining up at one place after 15mins when the people waiting for their food for 30mins urged us not to wait as they bumbled through mixing everyone’s order up. All food was at least $10 for a snack sized portion, $15 up for something more substantial.

The one entry point was there for checking bags for alcohol according to the security guards who we asked, who also confirmed you couldn’t bring in alcohol from the bar immediately outside the gate. They gave up pretty quickly when the hoards of people arrived, also started letting people in the side gate. Very little to drink inside the gates, beer range, iced tea and some lemon/lime similar lemonade. Bring your own drink if you don’t want a midi sized beer for $8.50-$9.

Find yourself a nice restaurant instead.

Dame Canberra 5:06 pm 02 Mar 15

I haven’t been to the Night Noodle Markets yet as I’m waiting for the crowds to quieten down. Sounds like Sunday afternoon was the right time to go!

Friends described visiting the markets on Friday night as like being in the mosh pit at a heavy metal concert – they ended up getting nibblies at Bookplate instead, which sounds like it was doing a roaring trade that night.

I know Canberra is smaller than Sydney or Melbourne, but we absolutely get behind events like this in huge numbers compared to our actual population, so if there are ways we can make them bigger and reduce queues, I’m all for it.

rubaiyat 4:48 pm 02 Mar 15

Alexandra Craig said :

The security guards had handheld clickers so we asked them how many people had been through and they told us it was an exit gate hahaha I’m 95% sure there was only one official entry point.

I found a gap in that extremely unaesthetic railing at the far side, on the other side of the bridge.

Saved me having to mix in with the sweaty, heaving flesh of the hoi polloi.

Alexandra Craig 4:03 pm 02 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

I really didn’t get it with making everyone squeeze through a very small entrance past security guards for something that had no tickets and was open to the public.

What is it with lining up for very expensive essentially junk versions of good food to be had elsewhere. Are we getting like the Yanks who line up for everything because it makes it somehow exclusive and special, even when it obviously isn’t?

The smart money had actually gone to the cafe/kiosk by the lake and the cafe in the Portrait Gallery.

The cafes in Questacon and the National Library were doing a roaring trade as well.

But all in all it was a really fun, balmy night Friday. Everybody was out with family and friends and enjoying the atmosphere and the shows. Best IMHO was the band in the National Library lobby.

The security guards had handheld clickers so we asked them how many people had been through and they told us it was an exit gate hahaha I’m 95% sure there was only one official entry point.

dungfungus 3:56 pm 02 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

I really didn’t get it with making everyone squeeze through a very small entrance past security guards for something that had no tickets and was open to the public.

What is it with lining up for very expensive essentially junk versions of good food to be had elsewhere. Are we getting like the Yanks who line up for everything because it makes it somehow exclusive and special, even when it obviously isn’t?

The smart money had actually gone to the cafe/kiosk by the lake and the cafe in the Portrait Gallery.

The cafes in Questacon and the National Library were doing a roaring trade as well.

But all in all it was a really fun, balmy night Friday. Everybody was out with family and friends and enjoying the atmosphere and the shows. Best IMHO was the band in the National Library lobby.

” making everyone squeeze through a very small entrance….”
Have you ever seen a fat noodle eater?

rubaiyat 3:08 pm 02 Mar 15

I really didn’t get it with making everyone squeeze through a very small entrance past security guards for something that had no tickets and was open to the public.

What is it with lining up for very expensive essentially junk versions of good food to be had elsewhere. Are we getting like the Yanks who line up for everything because it makes it somehow exclusive and special, even when it obviously isn’t?

The smart money had actually gone to the cafe/kiosk by the lake and the cafe in the Portrait Gallery.

The cafes in Questacon and the National Library were doing a roaring trade as well.

But all in all it was a really fun, balmy night Friday. Everybody was out with family and friends and enjoying the atmosphere and the shows. Best IMHO was the band in the National Library lobby.

dungfungus 11:26 am 02 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

We went along with the kids at about 6.30pm on Saturday but didn’t stay as the lines were enormous. Looks like those who arrived early had a great time, though.

Learnt my lesson for next year!

“…..the lines were enormous….”
Reminiscent of a post war Russian meat queue.
Good practice though for waiting in line at soup kitchens which will be part of the Australian social welfare scene in a few years time.

Alexandra Craig 11:23 am 02 Mar 15

Oh, another thing I noticed – it was very difficult to find non-alcoholic beverages (that aren’t coconut juice/iced tea). If you just want a bottle of water or a soft drink can, bring it with you. Apparently you could buy them at the Library but that’s a bit of a walk out of the actual noodle markets.

Alexandra Craig 11:21 am 02 Mar 15

I went on Saturday night and was a teeny bit disappointed. It’s advertised as running until ‘late’. We got there just before 9.00pm and some stalls were already closed – including N2! I could name a heap of actual restaurants open until after 10.00pm, so it was a bit of a let down that these stalls were closing early.

I did have a plate of delicious dumplings though! However, everything is advertised as ‘street food’ but it’s definitely not street food prices. 5 dumplings cost $10. If I remember correctly, you can get four or five dumplings from Akiba for $10. Just thought it was a bit overpriced considering most people want to do like Sophia did and try a bit of everything.

Am going to try again on a weeknight – I really want N2 and to try a few other things this time! 🙂

Maya123 11:11 am 02 Mar 15

I went last night and enjoyed it. However, may of the stalls don’t sell small servings, so if you bought at some stalls one plate full is enough for dinner, which I thought was a shame, as I like tasting several things, but I didn’t want to overeat. Worth getting on my bike for another visit.
I wasn’t sure about the coconut juice though. I thought it tasted old. Anyone else have one? How did it taste to you?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 11:02 am 02 Mar 15

We went along with the kids at about 6.30pm on Saturday but didn’t stay as the lines were enormous. Looks like those who arrived early had a great time, though.

Learnt my lesson for next year!

ausbradr 10:38 am 02 Mar 15

It seemed like a good idea to go last night. However, word to the wise, be sure to draw out some cash elsewhere before going. We went last night, went to the ATMs there first up, to find they were both out of order. After getting some false directions to where there wasn’t even an ATM at all (15 minutes walk away), we had a gut full, and just went elsewhere for some Korean BBQ (that place in Manuka is amazing btw)..

With that lesson learned on board, we’ll be trying again tonight, a little more prepared. Hopefully the crowds will have dropped off a little bit compared to the weekend.

My favourite thing for the enlight/noodle market shenanigans was the wifi controlled paper boats. I went for a ride past it on the Saturday evening, and it was quite fun being able to control the colour flow from the iPhone. Neat little art installation indeed. Do be patient if you have a play though, the wifi gadget gets hammered by the punters.

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