A great mix of street food and fine dining going street
When it comes to food festivals, Brisbane has many, but surely the most popular has to be Brisbane's Night Noodle Markets which will take over South Bank for nearly two weeks in July and August. Enjoy the combination of real Asian street food and high-end restaurants who are going street for the festival.
Part of Good Food Month in Brisbane, there are Night Noodle Markets in most major cities around Australia during their Good Food Months. Brisbane's markets have been well attended every year, both by the dining public and the wide array of vendors who turn up to sell.
Probably the number one most successful street food stall at Brisbane's Night Noodle Markets has to be Hoy Pinoy. If you don't already know it, Filipinos love chicken and Hoy Pinoy are at the markets once again, selling Filipino chicken skewers. Last year, they had two locations, one at each end of the markets, and even early in the evening, there were huge lines of people ready to enjoy this popular offering.
Hoy Pinnoy was by far the most popular of the street style food at the markets in the last few years
Another street style stall is Donburi Station, which is a not to miss vendor for lovers of Japanese rice noodles. But, you explain, donburi is actually a dish with rice, not noodles. This is true, but from experience, you might want to avoid actual donburi because when made properly, it takes much longer than the noodles.
At past Night Noodle Markets, there have been a number of high-end establishments heading to the markets. While most come for a few years, achieve popularity, and then never return as this is not part of their core business. But every year, there is often a new place doing the markets, so it is worth seeing what will impress for this year.
Every year, N2 Gelato turns up and is so popular. I recommend skipping mains and going straight to dessert because the moment the markets open, there is a huge queue.
Also for dessert, check out what is on offer from Black Star Pastry. The night noodle markets will be your own chance to try this in Brisbane, unless they finally decide to open a store here.
Phat Elephant serves great Thai dishes in an upmarket atmosphere in the Brisbane CBD, but now you can check out their street offerings at the Night Noodle Markets. It will interesting to see what they will delight us with and whether it will be something adapted from their menu or something special for the event.
I should also mention the Little Red Dumpling. Not sure if they are street or fine dining, as their soul is in the street but they are serving street food in an elegant setting. They are sure to have something interesting at the markets.
Dates and times
The markets run from July 25 through to August 5, nearly 2 weeks. The information I have at the moment says that the markets run every day from 5 pm to 10 pm. I am not sure if this is 100% accurate, because last year on Saturday and Sunday the markets started a little early at 4 pm.
Planning your culinary adventure
At the time of writing this, there were 18 vendors confirmed with many more to come along. It is worth doing a little homework to find out what the hot vendors are going to be this year. Though normally the best way is to turn up and see which places have the biggest queues.
The best strategy is to go early and grab a table for your group. Seating can be in short supply on weekends, but it is okay on weeknights, but still difficult if you have a big group.
There is usually a stage with music and other entertainment. Though normally, this is not a big part of the experience and most years I go with a larger group and try to sit far from the stage to talk.
The markets are cashless, which is not much of a problem as most people have cards.
Dogs are welcome but keep them on a leash and you can't approach within 20 metres of vendors.
Dress warmly for the weather, it is often warm when you arrive, but it will get cooler once the sun goes down.
The best way South Bank is usually public transport. Buses stop at the Cultural Centre Station, and if you are taking the train your best option is South Brisbane Station. Of course, you can also jump on a ferry and get off at the South Bank Ferry Terminal.
If you are planning to drive, there is plenty of parking at South Bank, with the best option being the QPAC car park as it is located under where the markets will be held. There are also car parks further up South Bank and under the Art Galleries. On an event night like this, it is a good idea to reserve your car park spot online before heading in. Though normally it is easy enough to find a parking spot.
Proving popular every year, with a return of many favourites from previous years and the chance of something new coming along, get in early and enjoy the experience. In fact, because it is on for nearly two weeks, many people will go back several times. The big frustration is the length of the queues at the most popular vendors, even if you go early. But remember the queues are because those are the best vendors who only turn up in Brisbane during this one event for the year.
The Night Noodle Market is Brisbane's most popular food festival