I should be ashamed for not knowing the Hank Marvin Market was just a ten minute walk away from me at Alma Park, (bordered by Alma Road, Westbury Street and Dandenong Road), St Kilda East. It's a weekly produce and food market open from 9am to 3pm every Saturday. As a first timer, I absolutely enjoyed the vibe of the market, the huge variety of food vans, the beautiful sunny and warm winter's weather, and a sense of community.
The place was buzzing with patrons just chilling and enjoying breakfast/brunch/lunch with their family, and friends. There was ample seating if you didn't feel like sitting on the lawn picnic style, and even an ATM with a canopy of its own. With the other side of the park being an off lead dog park, it's pooch-friendly too.
So dog-friendly is this market, that the first truck I saw was the Canine Wellness Kitchen dog food truck. It's Melbourne's first food truck for dogs and dedicated to providing delicious canine street food, snacks, dog beers and broths. However, my mind was on loftier edible art, my whole reason for wanting to go to the market. Having missed out on MinnieSweets when I first saw them at the Prahran Market's Wicked Dessert Festival earlier this year, I was raring to get my hands on some Wagashi (Japanese confectionary) made by Minako, creator and owner of these handmade delectables.
I nearly suffered the fate of missing out again, as I only got to the markets at midday, and MinnieSweets was sold out 3 hours before the close of market, bar the samples on display and around 8 pieces of wagashi left. I quickly bought 4 and the rest disappeared before my very eyes, with eager customers biting at the bit. If you already know and love the taste of Japanese confectionary with core ingredients like Matcha, Adzuki Beans, White Beans, Yuzu (superfruit) and Kinako, you'll love the understated sweetness of this Wagashi experience.
It's a fine display of refinement and subtlety, appreciated not just for their flavour, but also visually for their exquisite form. Minako has honed her skills for an amazing Wagashi experience right here in Melbourne. They'll be at the Hank Marvin Market next on Saturday 8 September 2018. I'll make sure I'm there bright and early this time.
Of the many food trucks that looked like it numbered 40 or more, along with a spattering of organic produce, other than MinnieSweets, I noticed a Turkish Street Food truck, Eat Cannoli with their artisanal gluten-free cannolis, Skewer Me with their Asian skewers, little bites and share plates, and Bao, little baos or waffles of traditional Asian flavours with a modern twist, which we settled upon for brunch.
The baos were so fresh and soft, it was a delight biting into the crispy chicken, and pumpkin baos. With baos available, I didn't venture to try the waffle version. Bao has only been in business for 6 months and judging from the quality of food from their stall, they're here to stay. A great coffee and filled tummies later, it was time to go home, with an internal promise to come back again to discover the rest of the food options. What a great way to chill on a Saturday morning with all the food options available, as an alternative foodie destination.
This carefully curated selection of fresh food stalls by Hank Marvin Market makes it Melbourne's delicious, ambient, Saturday foodie destination in a relaxed picturesque setting with great atmosphere. Drawing its name from British Cockney slang for 'starving', Hank Marvin Market is conveniently located minutes away from the ever popular Chapel Street.
Stalls are rotated regularly so you can expect to find variety each time you go. Easy to get to, you can get off at Windsor Station on Chapel Street, Windsor, from where it's but a short 10-minute walk to the market, across Dandenong Road/Princes Highway. The same goes for trams (no. 78) that stops on Chapel street close to the Dandenong Road end. It has a wonderful vibe, so take your family and friends, and enjoy chillin' and fillin'.