It’s that time of year again, guys. The Night Noodle Markets are back, baby and they’re better than ever. South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt will once again be transformed into a bustling noodle metropolis filled with lanterns, paper cranes, and all-round delicious bites.
This year is bigger than before, with a grand spankin’ total of 25 eateries, so it’s integral to get yourself sorted and have a plan of attack before you hit the stalls. That’s where we step in, with this epic list of all the best eats at the Night Noodle Markets.
We hope you skipped lunch.
Ah, Teppanyaki, it really does put the thrill into eating. If you’re looking for noodles, and noodles done right, then this is your spot. Stir-fried noodles cooked up right in front of you are kind of hard to beat, right? We love the Oz Special (that’s the one with the lot).
Harajuku Gyoza just get dumplings. They really do. Everyone’s fave dumpling spot will be hitting the Night Noodle Markets with some favourite menu items coming along for the ride. Get set for all of their gyoza varieties, the magical rain drop cake and the octo-dog (yup, that’s a deep fried cheerio). We can’t lie, we’re pretty damn excited for this one.
If you’re not familiar with the joys of Filipino food, Hoy Pinoy is about to put this grill-happy cuisine on your map. The smell of their famous skewers grilling hits you as soon as you enter the markets—you’re going to want to add this one to your list, stat. These guys usually have the longest queue too, (we find the length of the queue is a good indicator of deliciousness, FYI). Our pick is the Inihaw Na Manok in traditional glaze (chicken skewer), but you should probably try one of each, just to be safe. These skewers are huge, by the way—this ain’t your normal meat on a stick situation.
Okonomiyaki is Japan’s answer to pizza, and, it’s arguably tastier. Add Okonomi House to your itinerary and try the Japanese Pizza with Cheese (it’s our pick!) or the pork. It’s a cabbage base topped with meat, a special sauce, Japanese mayo, bonito flakes, and all kinds of toppings. You won’t ever look at pizza the same again.
Taiwanese and Chinese street food staple, gua boa is done just right at Bao Stop. Think steamed bun meets taco and you’ll get an idea of this delicacy; it’s the same steamed bun you know and love but folded into the shape of a taco and stuffed full of pork belly, fried chicken, Peking duck, or fried tofu and fresh fillings. There’s also sweet potato fries, too. You 100% need to add this to your ‘to eat’ list. Bonus tip: order the trifecta.
Black Star Pastry
Black Star Pastry is notorious for their delicious desserts. Only available in Brisbane at the Night Noodle Markets, you’d be a damn fool to skip this one. The Strawberry watermelon cake has a reputation as one of the best desserts nationwide and now you can get it in little old BNE—you’d have to be crazy to miss this stop. Apart from celebrity cakes, they also do a whole heap of delectable treats including the aptly named ‘Delicious Cake’ and a vegan chocolate popcorn cake. This is going to be good.
Bringing a slice of Kyoto to Brisbane, these guys are whipping up some seriously delicious combos. There’s the tempura fried avo, and, probably the best thing ever, tempura fried mashed potato balls. Holy yum. If deep fried perfection isn’t quite your thing, there’s also the yakisoba, which is just as a delicious.
This place does exactly what is says on the tin, and then some. Expect mini pancakes, sago pudding, and young coconuts to wash down all of those noodles.
Let’s Do Yum Cha
It’s like all the good parts of Yum Cha, but without the awkward sit down family dinner—basically, it’s great. At Let’s Do Yum Cha you’ll find all of the classics: BBQ pork buns, loads of dim sum, and vegetarian dumplings. Get in quick though, this spot gets quite the line!
Guys, if you’re looking for gourmet eats that you can consume under thousands of lanterns on the grass, then this is the spot for you. These guys are doing a mean Pad Thai with chicken, prawn and tofu plus (the best part) crispy shallots, as well as a Capetown curry with lamb shoulder, tomato, ginger, lime and pappdams—hell yes. But, it doesn’t end there! These legends are also serving up an always delightful yellow curry with pumpkin, market veggies, and tofu. Vegos, eat your heart out!
Everyone’s favourite riverside spot, Madame Wu, are bringing their delicious duck buns to the Night Noodle Markets, and we couldn’t be more excited. Of course, the fabled duck buns will be on offer, as well as their Lions Head meatball sandwich with spicy black vinegar and a delightful chicken stir-fry with handmade noodles. Thank God for Madame Wu!
Sake Restaurant & Bar
Finally, we can enjoy Sake in our casual wear. Sake have packed up their seriously fancy eats and brought them to the heart of the Night Noodle Markets for your dining pleasure. They’ll be serving up oodles of noodles with their vegetable udon (served with fried tofu) on offer, and prawn shumai with spicy ponzu. Plus, this will also serve as your essential edamame stop, so take note.
Hands up if you like Thai food? We’re just kidding, obviously everyone likes Thai food. That’s why Spanthai is a must-visit stall. They’re doing perfect iterations of chicken pad Thai, vegetarian pad see-ewe and a deliciously slow cooked massaman beef curry. Gah, Thai food, we love you!
Ok guys, remain calm. Brisbane’s best ramen is in fact at the night noodle markets—this is not a drill. You’ll find Taro dishing up his signature, slow cooked broth in a whole heap of varieties. His signature Tonkotsu ramen will be there along with the red tonkotsu ramen and the fresh black truffle ramen. A winter’s night and a bowl o’ramen just go together. We say make this your first stop, it’s always busy!
Legendary Vietnamese Chef Luke Ngyuen’s Fat Noodle is always an essential stop at the Night Noodle Markets, and this year is no exception. It would honestly be rude not to order the signature Fat Pho Noodles, plus, there’s also going to be chicken laksa and karaage Barramundi with sweet potato chips. You’d better order one of everything just to be safe.
Ode to dumplings, Dumpling Republic, will be serving up their epic dumplings well into the night. The orange skin chicken dumplings are some of our favourite dumplings ever, so you definitely need to try them. The green spinach, pork, and chive dumplings are also legendary, as are the slow poach beef. So many dumplings, so little time.
Waffle On A Stick
Guys, if there’s one stall that’s making a beeline for our heart it’s Waffle On A Stick. They say what they mean, and we like that. They also make a mean waffle on a stick, which we also like. There’s a Nutella or chocolate option for the traditionalists, but our go-to is the lychee delight. These things are seriously delicious, and get bonus points for the kitsch addition of an umbrella.
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: gyoza is the best. Zagyoza is the home of gyoza, so you know these guys dish up a top notch dumpling. They’re perfectly crispy on the bottom, and softly steamed up top with deliciously fillings. The best part though, is you can get them in bulk here. Oh, and there’s a vegan option! Can these guys do anything wrong?! Nope.
Where: South Bank Cultural Forecourt
When: 20-31 July
Find all the details here.
Image credits: Yaseera Moosa, Ariana Gillrie
Editor's note: this article is proudly sponsored by Mercedes Benz and endorsed by The Urban List. For more information on our editorial policy click here.