They say daylight savings stole an hour, but it feels like it robbed us of three months because it's already October and the Night Noodle Markets are back for another year.
If you haven't already marked it in your diary, the markets will run for a whopping 18 nights from Thursday, October 5. Over 40 stalls will converge on Hyde Park, bringing all manner of noodles, dumplings and other delights with them. Favourites like Mr Bao, House of Crabs and Gelato Messina will be among the diverse team of chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurial cooks setting up shop every weeknight from 5pm and 4pm on weekends.
And just in case you're starting to get palpitations remembering the huge array of choice (and crowds) from last year, fear not. We've put together our top picks of the eats pushing conventional flavour boundaries — in addition to suggested drink pairings from Beer The Beautiful Truth — to make your Night Noodle Markets trip simply spectacular. Prepare yourself for deep-fried panko-crumbed ice cream 'katsu' sandwiches and cheesy waffle cones filled with bulgogi beef.
GELATO MESSINA'S KAMIKAZE KATSU WITH HAHN SUPERDRY
Just when you thought Gelato Messina couldn't possibly think up another weird and wacky flavour combo they come out with the Kamikaze Katsu. This deep-fried gelato creation is posing as a savoury sandwich, but is indeed a mish-mash of sweet flavours. Sudachi lime gelato is coated in red velvet cake and panko crumbs before being sandwiched in fluffy white bread with yuzu sauce and deep fried for a truly unique dessert. This sticky, sweet exploding mess will dribble down your chin and get stuck between your fingers so we suggest cleaning it up with a Hahn Superdry. The crisp beer will reset your tastebuds — so you're free to take a second bite/lick/slurp of your erupting Kamikaze Katsu.
POKLOL'S CHICHI FRIES WITH LITTLE CREATURES PILSNER
Who knew that when the original snack-pack came into the Australian food encyclopedia it would transform into such a versatile cuisine? Poklol has been a frontrunner of this trend with its Chichi fries, which will be served up at the Night Noodle Markets. The team has perfected the art of making their beer-battered fries super crunchy and are topping them with cheese, kimchi, shallots, Japanese mayo and sweet Korean BBQ sauce to fuse what seems like an uncountable number of cuisines into one beautiful bowl of goodness. Just to make sure you cover every taste category, grab a Little Creatures Pilsner. Its crisp bitterness and lightness pairs well with the explosion of flavours in the fries.
LITTLE KYOTO'S PHORRITO WITH XXXX GOLD
Two of the freshest summer go-to cuisines — Vietnamese and Mexican — have been combined to produce a knockout creation: the 'phorrito'. As the name suggests, classic flour tortillas are stuffed with thinly-sliced rib eye, bean sprouts, cilantro, onion, Thai basil, jalapeño, lime juice and pho noodles and served with Sriracha and hoisin. You'll be able to get your little mitts around this happy (albeit unusual) union from the team behind Little Kyoto. To make a meal out of it, we suggest you go for a XXXX GOLD. The mild hoppy taste with the subtly sweet flavour of the beer works well with the fresh basil and lime without overpowering the crisp pho flavours.
PUFFLE'S BULGOGI BEEF AND PHILLY CHEESESTEAK WITH TOOHEYS NEW
Before this week, if someone had asked us what a puffle was, we would have said a bird. Turns out it's a kind of waffle cone made from cheese and the guys behind it are educating the masses about their namesake's deliciousness. They'll be showcasing this indulgent savoury cone at the markets by filling the cheesy waffle with Korean marinated bulgogi beef and Philly cheesesteak, topping it with Japanese mayo and shallots. This is sure to be a messy handful of crunchy, gooey goodness, so it'd be best to opt for an easy-drinking, smooth malt lager to help wash it down. Tooheys New is the one, as its balanced body will cut through the cheesy, meaty mess of the puffle so you can lick every finger clean and even think about seconds.
ONE TEA LOUNGE'S SLIDER SET WITH JAMES SQUIRE ONE FIFTY LASHES
Sometimes choosing what to eat at the Night Noodle Markets is the hardest task you'll face all week — and it only gets harder when there is a toss-up between two types of mini burgers. One Tea Lounge has taken action to remedy this issue by creating a slider set. Instead of choosing between the ramen burger (with a noodle bun and beef patty) and a pillowy matcha 'boager', One Tea Lounge has combined the two in a three-slider set. And if you have an obsession with making things even, you can ask for miso tofu in the third slider — just so you have one of each. With these burgs waiting to meet your lips, don't opt for a boring beer. Go for James Squire One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale — its fruity tones and crisp finish makes this beverage a cracking refreshment to pair with your sliders.
INDU'S SMOKED GOAT DOSA WITH JAMES SQUIRE ONE FIFTY LASHES
We know Sydney's Asian food like the back of our hands, but on rare occasions someone will present a dish that stands out from the rest. Indu is one such restaurant and their smoked goat's leg dosa is one such dish. An increasingly popular offering at the Night Noodle Markets, the morsel involves a pancake-style dosa loaded with marinated smoked goat, zucchini ribbon raita, pomegranate, chilli and bacon jam. Smoky, sweet, tangy, smooth and crunchy with a little bit of heat, you'd be best to pair this morsel with a James Squire One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale. The light fruitiness and crisp finish will balance the complexity of the dosa's rich filling.
HOUSE OF CRABS' LOADED FRIES WITH JAMES SQUIRE ONE FIFTY LASHES
Chippies, fries, crisps, wedges — there are many names attributed to the stalwart favourite of the cooked potato category. But when 'loaded' is the chosen adjective to describe the House of Crabs chip offering, you know you're in for a good time. The House of Crabs version is a conglomeration of crunchy-on-the-outside, pillowy-on-the-inside potato fries topped with crispy bacon, gooey cheese, sweet corn and rich lobster gravy. A mouthful of adjectives never sounds so appetising. Crack open a cold James Squire One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale and let the citrus and passionfruit flavours complete your contentedness.
WATERMAN'S LOBSTER CO.'S WASA-BAE WITH KIRIN MEGUMI
Ahh the versatility of 'bae'. Spanning across cuisines the enigmatic 'bae' has found a home at Waterman's Lobster Co. The Wasa-Bae is a brioche roll filled with lobster, wasabi, mayo, celery, pickled ginger and black sesame. The team will be serving this up at the markets and we suggest setting it up with another bae: Kirin Megumi. This Japanese lager is made with a unique brewing method called First Press which ensures only the purest liquid is extracted from the malt and that the lager complements the Wasa-Bae in the way all good partners do. Plus, Waterman's closed its Potts Point shop in May, so it'll be a good chance to get your hands on one of their lobster rolls.
POKLOL'S KOREAN BARBECUE TACOS WITH JAMES SQUIRE ONE FIFTY LASHES
All good things come in threes, right? In the case of Poklol's barbecue tacos that is certainly the case. The Poklol team will be offering an almighty trio of bulgogi beef, chilli chicken and chilli pork tacos with pickled carrots, kimchi slaw, cucumbers, shallots topped with their secret Pokky sauce at this year's markets. To make things clear, bulgogi means 'fire meat' and is a style of Korean cooking in which the meat is marinated and then barbecued. Not everything has to be clear though, and that's why we suggest you pair this trio with a cloudy James Squire One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale. The mild bitterness and fruity aroma works well with the smokiness of the meat.
HARAJUKU GYOZA'S RAINDROP CAKE WITH HAHN SUPERDRY
It took Sydney's Asian dessert scene a little while to catch up to it's savoury counterpart but, boy, is it making up for it now. The raindrop cake is a famed Japanese dessert and Harajuku Gyoza will be championing the little blob of sweet clear jelly at this year's markets. This gelatin-like cake will be served with soybean powder, black sugar syrup, and green tea cream. An interesting mix of flavours to say the least, but we suggest you add just one more: Hahn Superdry. The sticky sweetness of the dessert benefits from the crisp lightness of the easy-drinking beer. And don't worry, Hahn Superdry has a long fermentation process that breaks down natural sugars so you won't be getting a sugar high from this duo.
Hungry for more? Feed all your cravings at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets with expert beer pairings presented by Beer The Beautiful Truth from October 5–22. It will be open Monday and Tuesday 5–9pm, Wednesday and Thursday 5–10pm, Friday 5–11pm, Saturday 4–10pm, and Sunday 4–9pm. Entry is free.