After a pandemic-enforced break, the Night Noodle Market Festival has returned to Canberra once again, delivering a wide variety of multicultural experiences for all locals to enjoy.
I was excited to attend the event on the 5th to the 6th of March, the last two days of the week-long festival.
As I arrived at the Night Noodle Markets in the late afternoon, a light shower of rain arrived alongside me.
Fortunately, the crowd that attended came prepared, as many attendees were seen wearing jackets and raincoats accompanied by umbrellas.
Wet weather couldn’t stop this crowd from enjoying their meals, as they found shelter under an array of massive trees. Tables and chairs were occupied by attendees as they enjoyed each other’s company.
I walked around the entire Night Noodle Markets venue, to explore the wide variety of food options the locals could indulge in.
There were all types of Asian cuisines on offer, everything from – Korean fried chicken, Chinese dumplings, Japanese teppanyaki noodles, Filipino barbeque, Thai stir-fries, and many more!
I myself couldn’t help but order the Korean-loaded fried chicken. Served in a cardboard container, the food looked absolutely mouth-watering. An abundance of fries, huge pieces of fried chicken, covered in a yellowy sauce and sprinkled with bacon and red vegetables. The flavour of the dish was unlike any loaded fries I had before, the sauce was sweet and the chicken had a unique, exotic taste to it. This is definitely a dish for attendees to try if they want something familiar but different.
Desert was also on the menu! Everything from the likes of gelato, french toast, and donuts. Hot or cold, whatever the mood for a sweet tooth.
My friends and I ordered French toast, it was warm and soft, yet cold on the outside as a scoop of ice cream was placed on top, which reminded me of the taste fried ice cream gives you.
Glazed donuts were also ordered, as we felt something warm would heat us up during the cold wet weather. The donuts were sweet yet slightly crunchy, we dipped them in warm chocolate sauce which helped fill our bellies up quicker.
But there was a wide range of other stalls at the event aswell, which included: Wonderbao, Mr Yum, The Sunday Baker, Mr Miyagi, Super Bao, May’s Malaysian Hawker, and @Roll Up. A few other stalls were also in attendance with no company name to be mentioned.
But the food wasn’t the only thing on offer at the Night Noodle Markets, there were drinks aplenty too.
There were several bars located around the festival venue, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were available for customers.
I myself approached the Aperol Spritz van to obtain a beverage that would help wash down the abundance of food I had been eating.
Unfortunately, the light rain became heavy during my time at the Night Noodle Markets on Saturday so I was forced to retire for the evening. But I was still determined to experience the nightlife that the festival had to offer.
I re-entered the Night Noodle Markets Festival just as the sun was setting on the last day of the event.
The weather was kinder to attendees this time around, with warmer air and not a drop of rain to be felt.
One thing that stood out to me this time around, was the increased amount of people who attended. It seems the lack of rain draws people in for Asian cuisine.
Adding to the calm of the evening was live music from acoustic performers on both evenings.
Artists sang covers of popular hit songs, many that the crowd would know and could sing along to. They accompanied the music by playing instruments, like the guitar.
When the artists finished performing, the speakers would play recorded music for the festival attendees to still dance and sing along to.
Popular Canberra radio station 104.7 also made an appearance at the venue, as they had their own stall up and running at the event. With a few activities for family and friends to play. Such as a large row board game as well as a ping pong table, something for all ages.
As things got darker, everything began to light up. Stall signs illuminated and all light switches connected to power points were turned on. The Nightlife of the Asian Noodle Markets had finally appeared.
The later it got, the hungrier I got. I ventured through the busy crowds of people to attempt to find and order my last dishes of the evening.
I ordered Osaka noodles, the mixture of flavours was incredible, the sauce lathered on top of the noodles was delectable and the array of veggies that surrounded the dish complemented the noodles well. As I was leaving I found myself walking past a food stall that was selling large potato swirl sticks, I ran up and ordered one with chicken salt. It was absolutley delicious and was just what I needed to bring my grand experience of the Night Noodle Markets to an end.
Despite the cold and warm weather and the abundance of people, overall I can say my weekend spent at the 2022 Night Noodle Markets was a successful one at that.
Being entertained by live music, an array of activities to get involved in, having the company of others to enjoy, and warm/tasty foreign food to fill my belly with was a great way to end my weekend.
Photos by Cara Ginnan