Shrimply the best

The air will be fragrant with the swirling aromas of lemongrass, ginger, sesame oil, chilli and coriander for The Canberra Times Night Noodle Markets, which returns to the nation’s capital from February 25 to March 6. All up, the food festival will feature about 20 hawker-style stalls, each serving their own specialty street food. For novices, the options at the Night Noodle Markets might seem overwhelming. Well, wok this way. We’ve used our noodle to select the top five dishes that you must try at The Canberra Times Night Noodle Markets.

Char kway teow @ May’s Malaysian
What’s that? You don’t have immediate plans to visit Penang? Why not indulge in a little armchair travel instead and be transported to the sultry streets of Old George Town, in Malaysia, via a steaming bowl of char kway teow at May’s Malaysian. Nab a spot on the lacquered green lawn to enjoy this umami-rich dish, which contains the silkiest of flat noodles, cooked to order in a fearsomely hot wok with fresh prawns and lap cheong (Chinese sausage), and served under a scattering of spring onions and fresh, crunchy bean sprouts.

Korean fried chicken @ KorBQ
KorBQ blimey. It’s KFC but not as you know it. The rendition of Korean fried chicken at KorBQ arrives with a delicate crackly crust brushed in a hot-sweet sauce, which is the gold standard when it comes to this Seoul food favourite. Listen for noisy crunching and you will know you’ve arrived at the KorBQ stall, brought to you by the team behind Canberra’s first modern Korean BBQ restaurant in Belconnen. The dish, also known as yangnyeom dak, is totally addictive. We wish you good fortune in stopping at just one.

Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao @ Wonderbao
Use the Mr Yum app to skip the queues snaking around the Wonderbao stall to order your body weight in bao, the soft, doughy chewy buns that are served stuffed with tender roast pork slathered in hoisin sauce, and balanced with the crunch and texture of pickled cucumber and spring onions. Wonderbao also serves vegetarian versions and there are sweet options, too, but it’s the roast pork belly gua bao that has the best bao wow, steamed as they are to absolute perfection. Bao, which are actually called baozi, is one of China’s favourite snack foods.

Inahaw na Manok @ Hoy Pinoy 
Filipino food is having a moment in Australia. And you’ll understand why when you discover the sensational inihaw na manok, chicken skewers that flaunt the flavours from the garlicky, sweet-sour-salty-spice sauce it has been marinating in. The dish is a backyard staple in the Philippines and the Hoy Pinoy version is slightly sticky with a nice char. Oh and trust us: inahaw na manok is a killer dish when complemented with an icy cold beer from the Gage Roads’ pop-up, one of the markets’ most popular partner brands.

HK French Toast @ Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina has acclimatised from Italy to South-east Asia in order to create this sweet treat, which is their creative take on HK French toast. And in our minds, it is the sweet street-food treat you need to eat at the Canberra Night Noodle Markets. The dream cream team at Gelato Messina have taken a slab of French toast, slathered it with dulce de leche and peanut butter, drizzled it in condensed milk and topped it with a scoop of maple syrup gelato. Trust us, it’s everything.

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