Boo ya! There’s Choi bao, Mahn Mi, bean buns and more on the menu at Birrarung Marr.
For a continent whose cuisine is not based on a meat and three veg combo, and is pretty much dairy-free, being a vegan or vegetarian pays off when it comes to Asian fare. For foodies of the plant-based persuasion, you’ll find dishes that are a herb-packed, oil-infused, great tasting parcels of goodness at the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets. Here’s our guide to being a lean, green, meat-free, eating machine.
Bao Brothers – 3ZY Duz it (Vegan)
You can taste the street-food culture and contemporary Asian flavours in every bite of a Bao Brothers dish. Be as cool as Yeezy when you grab your 3ZY Duz it trio of vegan bao from the OG gangstas of awesome Asian hawker food.
Bangkok Street Food – Pad Thai Tofu (Vegetarian) or Long Potato (Vegan)
All hail Pad Thai! This version comes steaming hot, fresh from the wok, stir-fried with tofu, crunchy veg and egg fried rice noodles. As for Bangkok Street Food’s Long Potato, think of it as the longest, giant hot chip you’ve ever seen. Both of these dishes are tasty, delicious and awesome to split with friends (if you bring yourself to share).
Chinese Dim Sum King – Dumplings, Buns and Spring Rolls (Vegetarian)
The legends at Chinese Dim Sum King have a whole host of staples available in either of their vegetarian or vegan options. If you have a hankering for dumplings, grab either the mushroom or vegetarian to curb that craving. There’s also fresh and fluffy red bean buns, as well as vegetarian spring rolls too. Plenty to share with your veggo or ‘flexitarian’ mates (carnivores who go green when the meat-free option is epically awesome).
The Original Korean Twist Potato (Vegetarian)
The Korean twist potato is the food version of a slinky; fresh hand-cut potato is spiralled and shaped on a stick, deep-fried and finished with various seasonings.
Donburi Station – Osaka Noodles & Japanese Fried Dumplings (Vegetarian)
First, butter is added to the wok. When it’s molten, garlic is dropped in and sizzled until it’s almost crisp. Noodles are thrown in, mixed around and a teriyaki-like sauce is added. It’s all tossed wildly until the heat of the wok has given everything a smoky flavour and a buttery sheen. It’s then taken off the heat to receive a topping of shallots, pickles, veggies and a squiggle of mayo. Simple and perfect.
Hoy Pinoy – Grilled corn Filipino style (Vegetarian)
Meet Inihaw Na Mais – or corn on the cob by the Filipino bbq masters at Hoy Pinoy. It’s not a food market until you see (and smell) someone walking around with hot-buttered corn on a stick, and Hoy Pinoy have taken it to the next level. Their version is grilled corn with a cheese glaze (keso), and kornik (a Filipino snack of crunchy corn pieces, similar to chicharron) and vegetarians are going to love how it’s sweet, smoky, and savoury all at once.
Miso Fresh – Soba Noodles (Vegan)
Oh so fresh, with flavour that packs a punch, wrap your lips around this classic Japanese dish. Enjoy soba noodles with mixed salad and edamame, pickled cabbage, a dollop of seaweed salad, finished with a drizzle of soy & sesame sauce. Vegetarian or not, everyone will enjoy the perfectly balanced umami of this dish.
Nem N’ Nem – Vermicelli Rice Noodle Salads (Vegetarian & Vegan)
Ask for Bun Thit Nuong, go for the tofu satay option, and find heaven-in-a-bowl. A classic Vietnamese staple, this vermicelli salad is served with fresh herbs, lettuce and nuoc cham dressing (vegan option available too). There’s also a vegan option Banh Mi too if you want to double-down on this Vietnamese goodness.
Oriental Teahouse x David’s – Golden Pan Fried Veggie Dumplings (Vegan)
This is Shanghai comfort food at it’s vegan best. Grab some pumpkin, spring onion, soy beans & mushroom pan-fried dumplings to scoff solo or share with mates.
Raijin – Ramen Noodle Miso Tofu (Vegan)
Taste the love in a bowl of this vegan ramen – but don’t expect a soup! The legends at Raijin have dressed the noodles with their homemade soy tahini ramen sauce, topped it with crushed crunchy tofu that’s been cooked in their miso tenmenjan sauce, added seaweed, corn, sunflower seed, sesame, pickled ginger, and shallots. You’ll be a hopeless ramen-tic in no time.
Red Spice Road – Shan tofu (Vegan)
Shan tofu is a Burmese dish made from ground yellow split pea flour, with a bit of tumeric added as well. Red Spice Road really know how to bring out the best in this traditional dish, topping it with tomato, peanuts, herbs, sesame, and chilli… and we think you shan’t be disappointed with this punchy vegan dish.
The Wagyu – Japanese Vegetable Curry (Vegetarian)
Sushi has held the spotlight of Japanese cuisine for a long time, but curry is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Warming, homely and with a nod to its Indian heritage, go for the veggie option to warm the cockles of your heart.
Teppanyaki Noodles – Yakisoba (Vegetarian)
If you’re a strict noodle-lover, this one’s for you. Silky noodles, fresh, hot and smokey straight out of the wok to your plate (SQUAD WARNING – these noodles are so good they may render you reluctant to share).
Wonderbao – Choi bao (Vegan)
This is all for you vegans! Meet the choi bao; shiitake mushroom, tofu and mixed vegetables in a bao that’s softer than cloud. Designed for maximum taste and minimum bad stuff, this bao will get you weak at the knees.
So to all our vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian friends, we hope you love this year’s Night Noodle Markets, which is packed with plant-based goodness. Remember to ask your friendly stallholders if they have vegetarian and vegan options as well – they might have a few more dishes up their sleeves that they can modify to make it vegan-friendly.
To keep up to date with all things Night Noodle Markets by keeping an eye on our website, Instagram or Facebook. The Night Noodle Markets are in Birrarung Marr, every night from November 8 – 25. Stallholders are cashless so don’t forget to bring your cards – all major cards are welcome.
Entry, as always, is FREE! And we’d love for you to share your noodle love by posting your photos using #nightnoodlemarkets