I’m baaack! Yes that’s right my thesis is finally finished! And since we’re right in the middle of the Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) what better way to kickstart my newly-found freedom than by trying to go to as many events as possible.
The Night Noodle Markets started on Monday this week and I may have picked the worst possible day to go. Though it started out as a nice balmy evening, the rain started pouring down about an hour into the markets and people took cover under the trees in Hyde Park. Nevertheless, we still got a chance to check out all the stalls which consisted of mostly Thai, Malaysian and dumpling/dim sum places, a sprinkling of Japanese stalls and the ever present Turkish gozleme and poffertjes (which had been renamed ‘mini pancakes’ with an Asian font haha). The Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine stall was just as popular as last year, with lots of people queueing up for the made-to-order noodles.
Both Din Tai Fung and New Shanghai had dumpling makers on site which was quite cool. They stood behind plastic screens with their mouth guards and folded dumplings in front of the waiting queues – it was like dumpling TV! The dumpling-makers at Din Tai Fung looked especially professional, they folded those dumpling skins so expertly and so quickly.
I’m a sucker for food on a stick, so the kushiyaki skewers at the Mizuya stand caught my eye and I had to get them, especially since one of them was a Japanese cheese sausage! Unfortunately it wasn’t as cheesy as I hoped… it sort of just tasted like a normal sausage. But on a stick :) There was also a beef kushiyaki which was quite tender and flavoursome except a little bit overcooked for my liking. I liked the prawn kushiyaki but the chicken was the best, although it did remind me of those strangely cubic chicken skewers that you buy from Woolies.
It started to rain so we hid out under a tree to eat our skewers. After the rain subsided we wandered over to the Chat Thai stall which was decked out with people in bright yellow shirts.
More food on a stick! The golden tower of deep fried fishballs at the Chat Thai stall spoke to me and told me to buy them so I did.
The lady at the stall put the stick of fishballs in a bag and drizzled sweet chilli sauce on top. The batter was light and I loved the crunch and then the bouncy-ness of the fishball inside. I’m usually ok with sweet chilli sauce but this was HOT! (note: I am relatively chilli-intolerant). After one fishball my mouth was on fire and it didn’t help that the inside of the fishball was hot (temperature-wise) as well. I gave the rest of it to Sir D who loves his chilli.
It started pouring again but this time we managed to get a dry seat in the Coopers beer garden under an umbrella, since most of the other plastic/wooden chairs set up were wet from the first downpour. It didn’t seem like the rain was going to let up so in the end we ventured back out to Chat Thai under my tiny umbrella to get dessert, which was housed under these strange dome things, presumably to keep them fresh.
I had my eye on the deep fried banana from the start so I went with a mix of the banana fritters and the kai nok gatah. You certainly get a lot for $8, the guy loaded up our little container right up to the top! The banana fritters were coated in a glutinous rice, coconut milk and sesame seed batter. While it was super crunchy on the outside, the inside was a bit of a letdown with the banana being dry and tasting underripe. I enjoyed the kai nok gatah more, which were lightly fried sweet potato paste dumplings. They’re very chewy like mochi with a nice crisp outside but they do get quite filling and starchy after a while. They were chopping up mango while we bought our deep fried goods and it smelt heavenly but we were too full to get the mango and sticky rice dessert. Maybe next year!