Hyde Park, Sydney
Popularity is its downfall
I've had a love/hate relationship with the Night Noodle Markets for many years now. I love the lighting, lanterns, outdoor atmosphere and idea of the event but find the food mostly disappointing, sometimes overpriced for what you get in terms of overall quality and freshness, and crowds and queues too overwhelming at the best of times. I guess a festival of such popularity basically inherits these contrasting qualities and shall unfortunately always be. Promotional claims of a 'mix of fabulous street food' and 'authentic Asian hawker market' should really be taken with a grain of salt if you value your food and authenticity. In saying all this I'll still probably be drawn to it next year and will try and find some hidden gems from the mediocre. It's good to see the Night Noodle Markets went green this year, with recyclable food and beverage containers and special waste-disposal units.
The food stalls this year seem to be dominated again by the Thai cuisine serving pretty much similar offerings of springs rolls, curry puffs, satay and precooked choices in their bain-marie. A few Chinese dumpling stalls are scattered throughout including Din Tai Fung (lacklustre taste for me but beautifully made) and there always seems to be a Gozleme, Poffertjes and Serendipity Ice Cream stall — they never miss a beat at these festivals do they. I can't remember seeing any Indian, Indonesian, Korean or Vietnamese stalls which I think would add some welcomed variety. The Pebblle Thai Chicken Satay for $4 was huge which I noticed The Heart of Food buy and photograph. Thais R Us Spring Rolls were enormous too at $2.50 each. The complimentary Ferrero Rondnoir was a nice highlight for me — anything free has got to be good right. For me you'll find quicker service, cheaper and better freshly wok fried dishes in any Haymarket food court but unfortunately there won't be the al fresco dining atmosphere.
Pebblle Thai: Crab claw $2.50 each
Pebblle Thai: Chicken satay $4 a stick
Thais R Us: Spring Rolls $2.50 each
Japancake with potato and bacon $8
The Heart of Food food blogging his Chicken Satay
There's always got to be a VIP area to make you feel like an outsider