What did you think of Canberra’s first Night Noodle Markets? Taking my 5 tips into account after my first visit, I went back a couple more times to try out more food. The coconut juice ($6) from Mini Pancakes was refreshing on a hot summer’s afternoon though not quite cold enough.
I really liked the okonomiyaki ($10) from Kiyamachi-Tei. Soft and fluffy pancake with shrimp mixed through it, topped with Japanese mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, pickled ginger, spring onion and bonito flakes. So good and freshly made!
The Let’s Do Yum Cha food truck had lots of steamed dumplings. These were 2 for $5, or 5 for $10. I chose the prawn and chive dumplings, and the vegetarian dumplings. Luckily I was paying attention to my cash flow – I had to remind staff that I needed change as the person taking the orders had forgotten to give me change from my $50. The prawn and chives were average with the chives overpowering the prawn, and I found the vegetarian dumplings tasteless which was disappointing.
After seeing the chicken wings at Melbourne’s Roti Road slowly turning on the barbeque, I headed back to get some. Three wings for $10 was a little pricey especially as there wasn’t much meat on them. However, every bite was mouthwatering and succulent. I just wanted to suck that chicken skin right off. If you were lucky, you’d get a little bit of the charcoal on the ends which made it even better. Finger-lickin good and definitely no sharing. I was too busy enjoying the wings that I forgot to dip some into the sriracha sauce. Not needed I say! The little refresher towelettes that came with the wings was much appreciated for sticky fingers.
I was interested in the sweet potato balls ($8) which came covered in dried coconut and served in a little papyrus-like cone filled with 8 balls. $1 per ball is not cheap. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed these sweet potato balls. Crunchy fried outside (not too oily) before you reach a hot, chewy, slightly glutinous inside. Yum! I could have had more of these if time and my wallet permitted.
Next was the Ribena and Longan drink ($5) and the mantou with condensed milk ($6). Mantou is a popular Chinese bun typically made of flour, yeast and water. It’s a staple food in China, usually with no filling, and is either steamed or fried. I thought this mantou was really dry inside. Thank goodness for the condensed milk to help counteract this. I ate one and gave the rest away. The Ribena drink tasted as it should. Lots of blackcurrants = lots of vitamin C. I didn’t know where the longan was until I got to the bottom of the cup and found three juicy longan sitting there.
I tried the power combo of pork and chicken teriyaki gyoza. Similar to potstickers, these gyoza had obviously stuck to the bottom of the pot as the bottoms were slightly burnt but not enough to ruin the taste. The gyoza skin is one of the best I’ve had – a good thickness, folded perfectly and pure consistency in every gyoza. The fillings were okay but not as flavoursome as I would have liked. I wanted to go back to try the other flavours like the Tokyo curry or black bean vegan, but again I ran out of time (and didn’t want to join the massive queue that had started to form).
As part of the Enlighten Festival, a group of us booked into sunset drinks on the roof of Parliament House. Tickets were $55 and we weren’t surprised to hear that the event had sold out. This was the first time Parliament House has hosted sunset drinks for the general public. After getting out of the escalator onto the roof, we noticed two large tables had been set up – one for drinks and one for food.
The event information stated that the ticket included one drink per person and nibblies would be provided. So I did what any regular person would do and filled up at the Night Noodle Markets beforehand. The food provided at drinks was actually a prepackaged antipasto platter for each person! Consisting of dips, three types of cheeses, smoked and cured meats, marinated vegetables, Turkish bread and a chocolate filled brioche bun, I was not hungry enough to even finish half of this. Damn my pre-planning.
I enjoyed taking photos of the little illuminated paper boats on show in Canberra for the first time. I think this was very popular with people of all ages. There was an app you could use on your phone to try and control the lights but the people I talked to couldn’t seem to make any sense of it. Hopefully that will be improved next year. A friend and I signed up for Enlighten’s 2 hour Night Photography workshop ($26) where the class walked around to take numerous shots. We looked like the paparazzi.
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