More than half of the month is gone and sadly I haven’t been able to explore a decent amount of the many options available in the Crave Festival. But I did planned ahead to be able to attend (at least once) to the night noodle markets in Hyde Park.
Alvaro and I went last Friday for an early dinner, around 6:30 pm, to avoid the long queues.
Even when it was not dark yet and we had some rain from time to time, the crowd continued to grow as minutes went by.
We were starving so we stopped at the very first stall: New Shanghai.
Alvaro suggested getting a mixed meal option but I thought it would be better to get something smallish and save room for trying stuff from other stalls. We settled with the steamed pork buns, which turned out to be a great option. The flavour was good and the four buns were enough to tame our hunger and make sensible choices afterwards.
Steamed pork buns from New Shanghai ($6)
After this first stop we walked around the whole place to get a good picture of the available options. It seemed to me that there were the exact same stalls as last year (or maybe less), with lots of Thai and Chinese options, some Japanese, Indian, Malay, Himalayan, etc.
Of course, there was booze, too. This time I was not feeling well so there was no beer for me.
We were looking for a Vietnamese place but couldn’t find any. We opted for Japanese instead and got in the line of Umi Kaiten Zushi. It took me a minute to realise that maybe it was a wrong idea to get food from a restaurant whose name is spelled incorrectly but we were already there.
Alvaro chose the chicken yaki udon, which we ate quickly to prevent it from getting wet with the rain. The meal was ok, but it didn’t taste completely Japanese because it had an unexpected cinnamon-y taste (maybe Chinese five-spice).
Chicken Yaki Udon from Umi Kaiten Zushi ($9.50)
While we were eating the lion dance started. We went to have a look but it wasn’t that impressive. On their defence, the dancers were just kids and the young guys playing the music looked very bored.
We walked around a bit, looking at the decorations. I had the feeling that last year’s festival was bigger, but I’m not sure. What I did notice is that we got quicker service this time.
At this stage we were already considering wrapping dinner up with dessert, but I felt like I “needed” something flavourful and sweet. Alvaro suggested Peking duck, but I knew what I wanted: chicken satay. We headed to Lee’s Malaysian, when we were in the queue the lady in front of us heard us talking about the satay and said it was amazing. She was queuing for seconds.
At $2.50 each it was also a cheap bite. And I agreed with the lady, it was the best thing we tasted that night. The sauce was rich and creamy, sweet and flavourful without being spicy.
Satay Chicken from Lee’s Malaysian ($2.50 each)
Then it was time for dessert. The options were limited: there was Serendipity ice cream, mini pancakes (found at any single street festival), cakes from St Honore Cake Shop (which don’t look appealing at all to me), and Chat Thai desserts. Guess what we chose.
All desserts from Chat Thai costed $8. The options were sticky rice & mango, coconut ice cream, banana fritters & kai noh gatah (fried cassava dumplings).
I chose the sticky rice and Alvaro the coconut ice cream. The sticky rice was good, but not worth $8. Maybe $5. They added crunchy puffed rice on top as a garnish but still, it was an average tasting (and cheap and simple) dessert.
Sticky rice & mango from Chat Thai ($8)
Alvaro had to wait a bit for his ice cream. He was really excited about it, I guess because of the excellent coconut sorbet we had at Yullis a while ago. The ice cream came with a side of sweet sticky rice, plus some candied fruit (I couldn’t guess what was it) and peanuts on top. Alvaro wasn’t impressed. The coconut flavour in the ice cream was so mild that it tasted like plain vanilla ice cream with a bit of coconut mixed in. Certainly not worth its price.
Coconut ice cream from Chat Thai ($8)
We we went home it was already dark. It’s better to get there at that time if you’re in for the view, but if you’re starving and want to eat fast it’s better to get there before it gets seriously packed.
Night Noodle Markets
October 11 – 15 and 18 – 22
5 pm – 9:30 pm