A small piece of Asia served on a Melbourne laneway
Ever get tired of the same old routine of going out to dinner, finding a good restaurant, getting a table, flicking through the menu and asking the waiting staff for water? Well, if you ever feel like you want to try something a little more adventurous, I suggest Chinatown night market.
Last week, after a bout of assignments, I decided I want fresh air and food. the night market seemed the perfect place to get both. The Chinatown pop up night market comes to life on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, with hawker-style food stalls offering some truly Asian culinary delights.
Walking down Little Bourke Street between Swanston Street and Russell Street, beyond the colourful Chinatown arch, I was kindly directed towards Heffernan Lane by the great Ninja Cow (Yes, there is such a thing). And as I entered the small laneway I was hit with the wonderful aroma of exciting, edible options. The laneway had reached its full capacity in terms of traffic and was marked by lovely red lanterns hung amidst the myriad stalls such as the Ghost Kitchen, Himalayas, and of course the Ninja Cow. The culinary options were just as colourful with satay, dumpling, fish cakes, mee rebus and biryani sizzling away, tempting and luring you to take a bite. There was also milk tea, coconut juice and an amazing little stall where they made magic out of nuts (I mean the type you eat).
I decide to brave the long cue for satay because, as the stall was called, 'I Love Satay'. My friend decided to order a biryani and we managed to grab a 'wall spot'. The food was quite tasty and after some sweet nuts for dessert we called it a night.
The market itself isn't very large, not more than 10-15 stalls, and the food isn't all that much cheaper - the plate of satay cost 10 dollars and the satay was quite small - so in a way you are paying mostly for the experience. I did feel somewhat nostalgic for the Asian night markets I have been to; the crowds, the lights and the smells.
As I mentioned before, if you want to do something different and adventurous I highly recommend this, especially in the spirit of exploring laneways Melbourne style. So next time you want to lean against a wall trying not to poke innocent passers with your satay stick while you are delicately balancing a paper plate on one hand this is a must go to place. I know I had a good time.