I miss the hustle and bustle of Asian night markets. Whether in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan or Japan, these clusters of late night hawkers are what give the night its pulse. They can be the stuff of dreams and nightmares – the sticky press of human bodies moving organically and gravitating towards or away from what smells delicious or repulsive, the darkness driven away by the multitude of makeshift lightbulbs dangling precariously over woks and grills like oversized glow worms.
They are the epicentre of brave explorations into local culture and cuisine. Where else by a night market can you get sinfully cholesterone laden Ramly burgers, but at a night market in Malaysia or Singapore? Or a crispy disc of deep fried chicken liberally dusted in chilli powder and spices than some crowded Taipei night market? If you want to see the soul of an Asian city, find its night market.
But I had been tired all day, and the weather was hot and humid. So despite having looked forward to visiting Brisbane’s Eat Street Markets, I was very grumpy as we headed into the Container Festival to catch up with friends for dinner.
And it wasn’t helped by how tiny the scoop of L!ck ice-cream I bought to cool me down was. In fact, it made me more grumpy to be handed what looked like a kid’s sized portion.
But as the evening wore on and everyone got into the food, it became a lot more fun. I didn’t get to try all the things I wanted to, but here’s what we tried.
My top picks for the day: Samies Girl fresh prawns with lemon (only AUD$5!), the Korean pork sliders (really delish!) and Street St’s roti.
But get in early if you’re going on a Saturday. Eat Street Markets got really packed with people as dusk fell and it was almost impossible to find seating.
I am really hoping to go again to try the Bun Mobile, Firehouse Rotisserie and the Pasta Cruiser on our next visit.