Tofu with attitude bao, Zen steamed buns, Vietnamese noodle salad bowls and more.
What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine an Asian hawker market? Chargrilled meats? Fried squid? Noodles tossed with saucy pork mince? A lot of us assume if it’s in Asia then there’ll be meat involved, though any vegetarian or vegan who’s well travelled in East or South East Asia will you tell you that’s rubbish. All great hawker markets have vegetarian and vegan specialities and Brisbane’s Night Noodle Markets are no different this year. Here’s our guide to the best picks.
Bao Brothers’ TWA – Tofu with Attitude Bao (Vegan) and Loaded Sweet Potato Fries (Vegetarian)
You’ll be straight outta chompin’ when you try the TWA bao (Tofu with Attitude). These little puffy parcels of fluffiness have so much street cred vegans DARE carnivores to try its hardcore deliciousness. It’s miso tofu with soy mayo, pickled ginger, crispy shallots and spring onions. In fact, it’s so good, you’ll be 100 miles and runnin’ for another one.
For some extra carb-loading, grab a serve of Bao Brothers’ loaded sweet potato fries with plum ketchup (yum), Kewpie mayo, sesame seeds and spring onions.
Donburi Station’s Osaka Noodles (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.
Bangkok Street Food’s Papaya Salad (Vegetarian)
This super-fresh, vibrant crunchy salad is jam-packed with sweet, sour and all-round delicious Asian flavours. It’s a great pop of gentle acidity that perfectly accompanies some of the richer dishes we’re prone to partake in, but is also perfectly delicious as its own standalone main course.
Black Star Pastry’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake (Vegetarian)
Perhaps we’re being a bit cheeky here, slipping in a dessert in an otherwise oasis of savoury treats, however, given the dessert is BSP’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake, we’re willing to risk it. Layers of fresh strawberry and watermelon are nestled between rose-scented cream, almond dacquoise and finished with pistachios and dried rose petals all come together to make this the most Instagrammed cake in the world.
Grumpy G’s Tofu Bún Noodle Salad Bowl (Vegan)
It’s moments like this we’re glad South-East Asian is dairy-free. This classic Vietnamese dish is all you need in a meal; a vermicelli bowl with a fresh party mix of lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, pickled carrots and mint, topped with Grumpy G’s secret marinated tofu, garnished with peanuts and shallot, and served with either nước mấm (sweet fish sauce dressing) or soy for the full vegan experience.
Little Kyoto’s Yakisoba (Vegetarian)
There’s something about these authentic, sizzling stir-fried Japanese noodles that just soothe the soul (and delight the stomach).
Steamed Dim Sum (Vegan)
Vegan’s will be in heaven with a selection of freshly steamed dim sum. Get your bliss-on with Zen, an umami sensation of sliced mushroom, seasoned tofu, Chinese cabbage, carrot and light ginger. Or there’s the fluffy and fun red bean bun as well. There’s even a third option that’s vegan upon request, the Shao Mai, which is a pocket of sweet rice and shiitake combined with Steamed Dim Sum’s secret spices.
Teppanyaki Noodles’ Yakisoba Veggie (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 will have you reluctant to share.
The Original Korean Twissto Potato (Vegetarian)
Meat-on-a-stick is so 2005 (kidding, we love you Hoy Pinoy. Keep doing what you’re doing). The Korean twissto 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.
Zagyoza – The Home of Gyoza (Vegan and vegetarian)
When it comes to Gyoza, it doesn’t matter whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or carnivore; they surpass all labels and are enjoyed by all. Grab a bunch of the black bean (vegan) and pumpkin feta (vegetarian) to share with hungry friends. There’s also miso soup and hot lightly salted edamame beans to boot.
Keep up to date with Good Food Month and the Night Noodle Markets by checking out this page. The Night Noodle Markets are in South Bank, every night from July 25 to August 5. Stallholders are cashless and we accept all major cards. Share your noodle love by posting your photos using #nightnoodlemarkets #goodfoodmoment & #celebratewithciti.