It's that time of the year again, a time when all Sydney spiders crawl out of their winter slumber and head to Hyde Park for the 2016 Night Noodle Markets! We have covered this event since it began operating 3 years ago and we still get that's Christmas morning feeling when Good Food month rolls around; and while Hyde Park might not be decorated head to toe with Christmas decorations, it's filled with food stalls and bars showcasing a range of Asian inspired food flavours that you drool in your sleep about.
We planned our visit to target the opening time (4pm) on their first Saturday of operation. This ensured less crowds and more importantly, sunlight for pictures!
We had stuck around for a good 2 hours and were surprised that there was hardly any people which meant finding a seat was guaranteed. The great addition to this year would have to be the integration of the "Hey You!" app and a cashless system. This significantly reduced the agonising long lines and in turn heavily reduced the waiting times.
We tasted a variety of food on the day. We did try to make an effort and be "adventurous" by exploring new food and new market stalls, but at the same time we just couldn't resist revisiting some of our favourites.
Raindrop cake from Harajuku Gyoza
Harajuku Gyoza recreated the dessert that attracted many attention on social media. They are selling it in three different flavours: Matcha, Black Sugar and Strawberry. We opted for the original black sugar and damn glad we did because it tasted great! We finally got to taste a raindrop cake and it was everything the hype made it out to be. The flavour doesn't actually come from the raindrop cake, but from the black sugar syrup it is cradled in. It has an almost jelly like texture that dissolves as it hits your tongue. It's nothing special though for those who grew up with agar agar dessert (like me) but for others, I would say it's worth the hype.
Chicken Skewers from Hoy Pinoy
We just had to. There was no way that we were going to leave without ordering skewers from Hoy Pinoy. It's probably a fair assumption (given the endless queues) that Hoy Pinoy's skewers are the equivalent of the prettiest girl in school, but in a food metaphor. All the attention is drawn to the stalls by the intense aroma of the chicken and pork skewers cooking, and for good reason too because no amount of writing could ever truly describe these bad boys. You are best to go and try them for yourself and luckily enough they have opened two stalls this year, now located on both sides of the park for ease of access and to help reduce the queues.
Yakisoba Stir Fried Noodles from Teppanyaki Noodles
This dish was not planned at all. We were hungry for substance and figured we'd give it a try. Taste-wise, all the flavours of a traditional yakisoba are there and the noodles were stir fried nicely. The sweet sauce, topped with mayonnaise and spring onion, yum! The only downside to this dish was the generosity of the sauce. Your first and second bites are enjoyable, but it got real tiring, real quick and there wasn't enough chicken to help break down the sauce.
Strawberry Watermelon Cake Smash from Black Star Pastry X N2 Extreme Gelato
We love the collaboration from these guys as the end results is always something that is a mixture of fun, crazy and and incredibly tasty. Even though both companies have ample right to be represented at this event, we still prefer the cross over! This year they did a mash up of the popular watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry and blended it in with some of N2's gelato. The rosewater petals provided as a significant portion of the flavour, while the addition of a watermelon pipe added a little bit of sweetness. This was our personal favourite on the day!
Rosewater, Belgium White Chocolate Donut from Nutie Donuts – Callebaut
We are still undecided on this donut, mostly because it really isn't a donut. Sure it is round and it has a hole in the middle, but the light, fluffy texture was no where to be seen. Instead it was dense and the white chocolate coating just added to the density. If this was served as a cake, then it would have been different story as our expectations would have changed and we probably would have ordered this earlier in the day, not when we were already full. Overall, it had nice flavours from the white chocolate. but the rosewater wasn't as evident as you would hope.
Korean Chips on a Stick - with all flavouring
We just had to order one for the train ride home. Be warned as they can be quite addictive!
There are also many events that take place throughout the night. If you are lucky you might get a visit from a minion or three, or see the spectacular lion dancing through the park at night. The Night Noodle Markets are only running until the 23rd of October, which by my calendar is the end of this week. Make sure to head down and check it out, otherwise you will have to wait until next year. Entree to the park is free and the markets open after 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends.
Let us know how you found the Night Noodle Markets this year!