Melbourne celebrated Good Food Month last October by hosting a night noodle market just like what Sydney has been enjoying for the past 15 years. It was the first of its kind in Melbourne where Asian food establishments came together to sell their best-selling food items for 16 nights which had to extend to all Saturdays of the month due it its enormous success.
Available for buyers were curries, broths, Peking duck pancakes, dumplings and dimsum, rolls, ramen, sliders, and skewered meats. There were around 40 vendors selling their food goodies ala Asian street hawkers’ market style.
The organizers originally estimated 100,000 people to come and try the street food but the attendance grew to over 200,000 which prompted them to sell all nights except Sundays. According to the festival director, Joanna Savill, Australians have grown to love Asian street food and Asian fusion food. As early as 5 in the afternoon, people were coming to the food market to sample the food and by 8 in the evening, the market was usually crowded with all tables full that sharing-a-table became the only way to get seated.
Part of the festival included a photography contest called Shoot the Chef and featuring some of the top chefs in Asian cuisine from Australia, Brazil, the United States, and parts of Asia. Some of the dishes that sold well were the chili caramel popcorn, the grilled chicken noodles, the fried dough wafers, fried crepes, barbecued pork belly, pork sausages, Asian beer, and assorted exotic desserts like gelato, halo halo, and cocktail drinks.
The success of the noodle night market was so amazing people were talking about it being the reason for an unexplained shortage of chicken throughout the city. The organizers have committed to hosting the event again in 2014. They may probably add more vendors and tables since the market was bursting at the seams every night. To give you an idea of the bustle experienced every night at the market; one vendor sold 8,000 pork sliders while another sold 5,800 desserts. One vendor, Hoy Pinoy even had to scour the city for chickens to cook because the demand for their chicken skewers was far more than what they had originally planned to sell. In fact, the lines for customers were an average 30 minute wait. The challenge for next year would be to plan on shortening the queues and waiting time to be served.