It’s so exciting to see food trucks and food stalls staking a place in Perth’s dining scene – although it does make it harder and harder to choose which events to go to! On Sunday night alone we had a choice between the Night Noodle Markets, the Food Truck Rumble, and Truck Stop at Perry Lakes Reserve (on every Sunday in April).
We decided to take a second trip to the Night Noodle Markets, which are presented as part of WA Today’s Good Food Month. This foodie oasis has moved to Elizabeth Quay following last year’s markets in the Cultural Centre, and I have to say it works. There’s more space, a better atmosphere, the food available have really been stepped up a notch and everything seemed to run fairly smoothly.
The first time we visited on Friday the line to get in was HUGE but fast moving; on Sunday we got there earlier and walked straight in. If you’re hoping to snag a table, I’d definitely recommend going on a weekday and getting there early. While it could definitely benefit from more seating, even when it was packed we were able to find a spot to stand and eat.
The best thing is that even when the lines to order seem quite long, the turnover is super quick and I don’t think we ever waited more than 5 minutes for our food once we’d ordered. All the lines moved quickly, all the staff at the stalls were super friendly, most of the meals are under $15, and with Chinese lion dancers, opportunities to enter competitions, a good range of beer, wine and ciders, and most importantly delicious food, I’d say it was a great success.
So what did we eat?
On our first visit I made sure to head straight to Perth’s own Turban Chopsticks – the only stall there selling all vegetarian and vegan meals. You may recognise the name, as in addition to doing market events they also stock a range of tasty vegetarian products in selected Woolworths, IGAs and other speciality grocers – think delicious meal kits and curry pastes.
This year Turban Chopsticks is offering up golden crispy sweet corn fritters with eggplant and tomato chutney; potato and ricotta koftas with butter curry; lettuce cups san choy bao; a satay noodle bowl; and for desert, banana fritters served with coconut yoghurt, tropical fruits and coconut jellies.
I went with the koftas which were SO GOOD. Like really, really good. They’re served with three fresh, soft naan breads and are amazingly soft and tasty. The butter curry sauce is actually made with cashews, so it has a really great depth of flavour, and its spicy but not hot – all I can say is you have to try these!
I was tempted to have the same thing when we visited a second time, but promised my date I’d try something new. Still, I hate the thought that I won’t be able to have these again for a whole year!
On the second night, we started with vegetable spring rolls and vegetable and leek dumplings from Mr YummO. Both were decent starters – nothing amazing but pretty tasty, and I did appreciate vegetarian dumplings that weren’t stuffed with mushrooms. This place also had a vegetarian noodle combo that looked pretty good, and included both the dumplings and spring rolls.
For tonight’s mains I was excited to actually hunt down some vegetarian noodles (there are surprisingly few noodle dishes for a noodle market!) at Teppanyaki Noodles. I got Yakisoba – egg noodles mixed with veggies like cabbage, carrot and onion, topped with Japanese mayo. Although a little too much sauce for my liking, these were some pretty tasty noodles and I would recommend them. It was also fun to watch them being cooked up on the hot plate.
To finish up we waited in the MASSIVE line for Black Star Pastry and N2 Extreme Gelato – two of several Eastern States companies that made the voyage over. These guys definitely had the longest queue in the place, with three items on their combined menu, all of which have been filling my Instagram feed for days!
We went with the famous strawberry and watermelon cake and the Ferrero Reveal gelato. Both looks pretty impressive and both were delicious, although kind of pricey for the size at $9 each. The cake is light and refreshing thanks to the fresh fruit, and not overwhelmingly sweet. It’s gluten free and has layers of dacquoise, with rose-scented cream, fresh watermelon, fresh strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petals. If you love cake, you must try this! (My photo unfortunately absolutely doesn’t do it justice as it was dark and shawdowy, so make sure you hop onto Instagram and check out some of the other great photos of this amazing cake.)
The chocolate hazelnut gelato with a rice bubble choc top and a small syringe of chocolate ganache sauce (which I’ve read was warm, but we honestly didn’t notice if it was) was also a tasty end our second Night Noodle Market Experience.
As for the meat eater in my life? He gave a big thumbs up to the (also Insta-famous) Peking Duck Fries and Gua Bao from Bao Stop (from Sydney) – who got massive brownie points for adding the Bao to his order for free; and the Sakura-glazed fried chicken burger from Everybody Loves Ramen.
On both our visits we left full and happy, and that’s exactly what I want from a food market.
The verdict: Visit more than once and eat all the things!
The Perth Night Noodle Markets are on every night until 10 April at Elizabeth Quay, from 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.