Saturday, October 12, 2013

Night Noodle Markets, the Citi VIP way

Lantern display at Good Food Month Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park, Sydney
The Night Noodle Markets, as part of Good Food Month in Sydney, are back for 2013 in a big way. For starters, they're on from 4pm today, a Saturday, and the next two Saturdays of October, as well as every weeknight for the next fortnight.

There also feels like there are a lot more stalls, sponsored seating areas and general seating in the Hyde Park north area - all great, positive developments for Noodle Market devotees.

Early crowds at the Night Noodle Markets
Of course, the queues are still present, particularly for cult-status stalls, but pretty much all of them at peak dinner time on the first Friday outing last night.

Citi VIP area
For Citi customers, the grief of securing seating and drinks - and even food to an extent - is taken away within the centrally located, fairy light-canopied Citi VIP area; a signature Hyde Park look of the festival's main sponsor.

Concierge service at Citi VIP area
This year, in addition to reserved seating and a dedicated bar for Citi customers, the VIP area is offering a concierge service, delivering food from Citibank Dining Program restaurants' stalls direct to diners' tables, sans queue and queuing times.

While some might think queues are part and parcel of the Noodle Market experience, I have no issue in avoiding the wait for offerings from Din Tai Fung, Taste of Shanghai, East Ocean Restaurant and the Citibank Dining food truck (by Eat Art Truck).

A concierge will take your orders for food and/or drinks, send runners off to the stalls to fetch ordered items (not in the queue, mind you), and then bring them directly to your table. That, is service.

Citibank Dining food truck by Eat Art Truck
And if that wasn't enough Citi for you, the Good Food Month sponsor has taken over Eat Art Truck to become the Citibank Dining food truck for the entire month of October.

On the road and at the Night Noodle Markets, the Citibank Dining food truck features offerings from Eat Art Truck; and alternately from Citibank Dining ambassador, MasterChef host and chef Gary Meighan and The Bridge Room's chef Ross Lusted.

Kingfish ceviche from Citi food truck
From the EAT guys, we sampled a finely diced, zingy kingfish ceviche served nachos-style on crispy tortilla rounds.

The raw fish was an absolute treat, marinated in lime and chilli and topped with shredded shallots, coriander and a liberal squiggle of a spiced mayonnaise not unlike the sauce which normally comes with EAT's shichimi chicken wings.

Beef brisket bun from Citi food truck
Also on offer were two of EAT's signature soft buns, with chef Meighan filling his with lamb belly and what looked like an Asian-style salad.

EAT's BBQ beef brisket bun came with more soft, pulled meat in red sauce than we could eat, complemented by cabbage kimchi and Korean chilli sauce that didn't really tick on the heat scale. That was all to be found under a huge mound of shallot strips peppered with coriander leaves and sesame seeds.

Assorted steamed dumplings and pork bun from East Ocean Restaurant
There are several options at the Night Noodle Markets for Cantonese food and yum cha style dumplings, with Chinatown's East Ocean Restaurant offering set packs of dumplings with add-ons of deep fried goodies and Peking duck pancakes.

The Jumbo pack features all these treats, with our palate-perfect Peking duck pancakes, encasing shiny roast duck skin and flesh, hoisin sauce and shallots, going down the hatch in a few happy bites.

The wide variety of steamed dumplings included crowd favourites har gow prawn dumplings and two others in translucent skins with prawns and green vegetables, and possibly scallop.

Interestingly, there were also four varieties of siu mai style dumplings, with the fish paste and corn one proving to be a first for me, while the char siu bao BBQ pork bun is a must for so many.

Salt and pepper pork ribs, squid and prawns from East Ocean Restaurant
To the deep fried goodness, all done in salt and pepper style though in varying shades of deep fry, there were thickly battered pork ribs, unevenly seasoned and huge squid tentacles and pale, tail-on prawns.

The salt and pepper prawns were certainly the best of the lot but there's something about the lurid orange-yellow-hued squid that I find irresistible, to the point it's something I have about once a year - only at the Noodle Markets.

Citi VIP area
We dared to venture outside of the Citi VIP area to check out some of the other food stalls and bars - many new ones but plenty of Noodle Market regulars - of which I'll be trying to sample next week (or the one after).

Chat Thai stalls

New Shanghai chefs making xiao long bao

Ippudo Sydney stall

Shanghai Stories 1938 stall

The Morrison seating area

Coopers bar

On Ramen stall featuring the 'ramen burger'

Seven News seating area

Lantern display
One feature of this year's Night Noodle Markets you'll see all over Instagram feeds, if you haven't already, is the spectacular lantern display near the St James station entrance to Hyde Park.

The popular lantern display
Assorted in colours, sizes, shapes and patterns, the impressive collection of hanging lanterns makes for a great backdrop for photos and the Night Noodle Markets overall.

See more photos from the Night Noodle Markets on my Facebook page.

The popular lantern display

Lantern love
Food, booze and shoes dined at the Good Food Month Night Noodle Markets as a guest of Citi, with thanks to Liquid Ideas.


thang@noodlies said...

Woah, the lanterns looks so gorgeous, I was admiring your instagram from last night!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

I think I may have seen you last friday.. but i didn't have my glasses on and I didn't wanna look like a fool.. grr should've just yelled out my own name to see what would have happened!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Wow the concierge idea is pretty awesome!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I'm loving the lanterns on display! Whenever I go past in the car, I press my face up against the window to look at it haha. Wish I wasn't so busy these days, need to make time to check it out before it's over!

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