People in Melbourne get pretty excited about food.
Situated along the conveniently located and picturesque Birrarung Marr, the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets is an event that evokes excitement in even the non-self proclaimed foodies of Melbourne. The 2-week long (free) event offers a chance for friends and family to meet, eat and be merry by the river.
In reality, it has become an overpriced, over-crowded and over-capitalised annual affair that has always left me more stressed than satiated.
If it’s a sunny, wind-free and typically divine Spring evening, I will bet my right hip socket that the required wait will be at least 45 minutes per vendor. Even if you split responsibility, sampling more than 2 dishes is an effort in time, patience, and you may need to re-mortgage the house to afford it.
Enjoying exclusive dishes like Puffle’s Hong Kong-inspired egg waffles or Korean tacos by POKLOL (which sound amazing) and their insta-worthy pics/bragging rights doesn’t quite seem worth it any more.
So here are some better ways to spend 45 minutes instead of standing in line.
1: Have a picnic in the park
Right on Zoe… Melbourne CBD is pretty surrounded by gorgeous parks and gardens. A packed picnic means you and pals can actually chat face to face, rather than standing with 4,000 of your best friends in line all staring at phone screens.
2: Get a food fix straight from the source
Lots of folks head to the markets to sample a dish from a restaurant they’ve been meaning to go to for years. Why not head straight to the restaurant that makes it? There are 20 Asian inspired food stalls, all listed on the website and facebook page, most are walking distance from each other in the CBD.
Get on your bike and get it fresh.
3: Give blood
It only takes an hour to donate blood. You can affect up to 22 people’s lives with one donation. Then, see point two and treat yourself to a meal and a high five cos you’re awesome!
4: Snack and Wine for half the price
Feeling snacky? That’s what dishes at the noodle market generally are, street food and snack servings. The alcohol, that’s in another queue, that also has a 45-minute wait.
Kill waiting time AND snack cravings with a bottle of vino and a serve of arancini at the City Wine Shop. Two birds, one stone…
5: Noodle elsewhere
Even though it’s in the name, the night noodle markets have fewer noodle dishes than it says on the box. Need a night noodle fix? Slurp some of Melbourne’s best Ramen (a possibly contentious follow-up blog I need to write) at Shujinko.
Unlike the markets, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you get a seat. Winning.
BONUS TIP 6: Go in the rain
If you must go to the event pack a brolly and some gumboots to go on a rainy evening. You may need to eat in your car or shield yourself from the wind behind a portaloo but the lines will be minimal.
I got extremely lucky one year by attending in inclement weather, towards the end of the trade and scored lots of free food from fed-up vendors. Bless their soggy socks.