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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
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Smeg 3:51 pm 05 Mar 15

We went last night

Bad:
Too many people in the space.
Not enough shade
Too expensive for the portion size.
The guards searching all bags was a bit retarded and badly organised.
$8.50 for a beer that wasn’t even anything special just coopers pale ale.
Food tasted average.

Good:
Music was a good volume just high enough for background but low enough to have a conversation without feeling you have to raise your voice.

They need to really expand that space and more stalls more shade and reduce the prices.I am not sure that how some BBQ meat on a stick is worth $6. Or how 4 dumplings are worth $15. My local Chinese takeaway does the same dumplings 4 for $5.

eucy 12:09 pm 05 Mar 15

Went last night (Wednesday) around 6.30 – 7pm and it was worse than I had feared. Queued for around 20 minutes in what looked like a relatively short queue, only to have to wait another 15-20 minutes for the food to come. I was with two friends, and our 3 respective plates took different amounts of time to come out so mine started to go cold while I waited for my friends’ dumplings to arrive. For $12 the dumplings were tasty, but not even close to being filling enough. We didn’t want to wait another 30 minutes + to get more food (and the lines had gotten longer by then), so we went to Kingston instead. The fenced off area was also really squashy for the amount of people who came.

Sophia Carlini 9:45 am 05 Mar 15

mr_wowtrousers said :

I was more impressed with Multicultural festival thise year having a *lot* more “nibble” portion sizes and pricing.

I have to agree with you here! I was definitely more impressed with Multicultural festival. The portion size and options weren’t very good at the Noodle Market. At one of the dumpling stalls you could literally only buy a plate of one kid of dumpling, there was no option of mixing it up. We ended up picking a different dumpling stall.

Sophia Carlini 9:42 am 05 Mar 15

Maya123 said :

I wasn’t sure about the coconut juice though. I thought it tasted old. Anyone else have one? How did it taste to you?

That’s very interesting – I am a huge lover of fresh coconut and didn’t think it tasted old, although that massive is a massive pile, you never know – you could have just got a bad one!

watto23 9:16 am 05 Mar 15

I went last night and it was good weather and the queues were fine, except for the the N2 icecream and the skewers. In the end i tried a few things. Had some sweet potato balls which were nice, but a bit pricey at $8. The dishes didn’t look that appetising either. I think dumplings and skewers were the best options.

Parking was ridiculous. On my way there I bypassed a lot of cars waiting to turn left to go straight. A cop pulled me over and said as sucky as it was to wait in queue, technically I was breaking the law but there needs to be better traffic management and then let me go on my way.

Alexandra Craig 3:08 pm 04 Mar 15

As annoying as the lines are, do not be tempted to go to a stall with a small line. Made that mistake last night for a $12 serving of pad thai. It was literally noodles and sweet and sour sauce. Not even remotely close to what pad thai should be like.

I lined up for the skewers last night. It was the longest line (besides N2) but it was only about a 10-12 minute wait. It was worth it. The skewers were probably a bit small and overpriced but they were delicious.

TheFoodMarshall 2:03 pm 04 Mar 15

Being that this was the first night noodle markets I’d been to, and had been forewarned about the excessive crowds on the weekend, I took my 12 yr old daughter there last night. We go there at 6, grabbed a perfect park in the Questacon car park with quite a few spaces left, and walked straight in. People were all over the place, it looked very busy outside, but inside it was good.

We lined up for about 8 minutes at the most, with the longest line being the dumpling place situated on it’s on. But that was less than 10 minutes and once ordered, the steaming hot delicious dumplings were straight out. We grabbed the two types of meat on a stick, the chicken was nicer, the pork a little dry, but ok for $10 for the two. We shared the dry Morks noodles, but I’d order the soupy one if I went back. We had the pancakes, a little exy at $10 a plate but a sweet treat. And then I grabbed a little bowl of crispy chicken skin, which we enjoyed under the lanterns.

If I was going to suggest improvements, I’d say more stand up tables needed, another one of those lantern “caves”, probably a few more stalls, with some cheaper options.

For what it was, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. the food was tasty, the wait times minimal and I loved the ambience with the groovy music and watching everyone else, who seemed to be really enjoying themselves. I have nothing to compare my experience to other than the rained out multicultural festival, which was fabulous.

I’ll definitely go back next year, mid week still, and hope that the organisers had listened to the feedback, but would still enjoy the experience regardless. The more of these types of events brought to Canberra, the better.

mr_wowtrousers 1:12 pm 04 Mar 15

It was alright, I guess.

Firstly, same major issue with most Australian events: Traffic and crowd control. Getting in for parking was bad. Trying to get out was insane. Next year, close off the carparks/roads right in front of the National Library. Traffic backed up, blocking exiting from carparks, people walking in front of cars stopping them from going, traffic lights not rescheduled to keep traffc flow going.

As for the food: long lines, not much and expensive. $10 for two skewers? C’mon man. $10 for some very sloppy yakisoba?

I can’t say I am tempted to come back next year. I like the vibe, but terrible value for money.

I was more impressed with Multicultural festival thise year having a *lot* more “nibble” portion sizes and pricing.

Maya123 12:01 pm 04 Mar 15

watto23 said :

Genie said :

rigseismic67 said :

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.

I went last night, straight after work. It was quite empty at 5pm and I was disappointed I waited around 15 mins to be served at the Phillipino stall for my banana ketchup glazed pork belly. Despite opening at 4pm, I don’t think they had anticipated the amount of public servants who would wander over right on 5pm. They had quickly sold out of what was cooked and waited until they could have over food straight away before serving again.

Given I left the market at 6pm with a full belly. Not quite sure where you were, I would have considered the market still quite empty, there were barely any queues as we walked out.

As for Canberra having a sad nightlife… I fully intend to go back later on this week to try what I didn’t get my hands on. Expensive yes… but oh so delicious.

Apparently from what I heard on the radio, they scaled the event down for Canberra and didn’t realise how popular it would be and that they be making changes for next year. The popularity will also help convince the vendors who do the Sydney and Melbourne events to make the trip to Canberra as its profitable for them.

Some people might be turned off from going next year, because of this year, so the organisers will need to advertise next year that there will be extra stalls. Personally, I didn’t have too much trouble with queues on Sunday night.

watto23 11:44 am 04 Mar 15

Genie said :

rigseismic67 said :

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.

I went last night, straight after work. It was quite empty at 5pm and I was disappointed I waited around 15 mins to be served at the Phillipino stall for my banana ketchup glazed pork belly. Despite opening at 4pm, I don’t think they had anticipated the amount of public servants who would wander over right on 5pm. They had quickly sold out of what was cooked and waited until they could have over food straight away before serving again.

Given I left the market at 6pm with a full belly. Not quite sure where you were, I would have considered the market still quite empty, there were barely any queues as we walked out.

As for Canberra having a sad nightlife… I fully intend to go back later on this week to try what I didn’t get my hands on. Expensive yes… but oh so delicious.

Apparently from what I heard on the radio, they scaled the event down for Canberra and didn’t realise how popular it would be and that they be making changes for next year. The popularity will also help convince the vendors who do the Sydney and Melbourne events to make the trip to Canberra as its profitable for them.

Holden Caulfield 10:04 am 04 Mar 15

I quickly checked out the noodle markets last Friday night and the queues were massive. When I was back for a longer stay on Saturday night Bookplate was a far more sensible option.

Last night I did go to the noodle markets and some queues were still quite long. But I found a thai place with only two people ahead of me. My red curry was pretty damn good too; $12 not too bad given the context.

The question that needs to be asked is, are these noodle markets an improvement on previous food options at Enlightens past?

Yes, they are.

There can be improvements made, I agree, but Enlighten keeps improving every year.

It’s awesome seeing so many people out enjoying our city.

fernandof 8:51 am 04 Mar 15

Went there yesterday. Overall impression: great concept, lousy implementation. Would go again next year only if the issues from this year are addressed.

The variety was, as other people said, lacking. All in all, I think there were less than 10 stalls. Mind you, still plenty of good, yummy food to be had for single sitting so that’s actually not that bad.

Food was slightly overpriced. Some stalls had snack sized portions at $5 others went with $10. Drinks, on the other hand, were highly overpriced – I’d recommend you bring your own.

So far, doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, here’s were it falls apart: the organisation was awful. There are far too few tables/chairs and the queues were enormous. I would suggest for the organisers to include a lot of standing bar tables – you know, the ones that are high enough to stand next to without chairs – it would relieve the logistical problem of having too many plates and no practical way to enjoy it. Also, and this is my own opinion, standing table encourage people gathering together at the same table which I enjoy in festivals.

As for the queues, I think it’s an outcome of the small variety. That is, few stalls = fewer queues to be served = larger amount of people on each queue. The skewers and N2 were particularly long: the N2 one was about 30-40 minutes.

But overall, my partner and I both enjoyed our time there, but we probably will give next year a miss if the same issues persist (queues, lack of tables).

So there you have it. Overall, not at all a bad experience, but remember to pack ample amounts of patience for the queues and bring enough cash and something to drink.

switch 8:41 pm 03 Mar 15

Remember: “ILLEGAL PARKING WILL BE ENFORCED”

At least it was all spelled correctly.

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