Night Noodle Markets has kicked off again for another year, which means firstly that SUMMER IS HERE! And secondly, that it’s time to stuff your face full of noodles and bao and Pimms with workmates post-5pm.

We popped into the opening night to sample a few of the goodies, and were lucky enough to nab a table at the Menulog At Home Zone – and boy, is it just the best. What do you hate about the NNM? Lines? Well, they’ve got it covered.

Basically, it’s like a garden party filled with Uber Eats-style waiters that go and grab your food for you, and deliver it to your table, pronto. No lines, no splitting up the group to cover all your bases – you just order and sip on a bottle of vino while you wait. Genius!

So, on that convenient note, here are our top nine picks at the Night Noodle Markets this year…

1. Little Kyoto – Try their ‘Phoritto’, a mash up of Vietnamese pho flavours, combined in a burrito delivery system.

2. Poklol – I’d go straight for their ‘Chichi Fries’, featuring bulgogi beef, chilli chicken or chilli pork served on beer battered fries with cheese, kimchi, shallots, Japanese mayo and a sweet Korean BBQ sauce.

3. Puffle – Order the ‘KFC Cheese puffle’, with Korean fried chicken stuffed inside a cone-shaped egg-filled cheese waffle, topped with Japanese mayo and shallots.

4. Mahjong – Personally I was obsessed with their Red Hand Chilli Prawn Wontons. They’re not for the feint at heart, though, coming steeped in Szechuan chilli sauce.

5. Mr Miyagi Hit up a few of their Peking Duck Tacos, stuffed with Peking duck, sushi rice, spring onion, cucumber, kim chi, and hoisin plum sauce in a nori taco shell.

6. Bosozoku – I couldn’t get enough of their Katsu Curry Fries, topped with seaweed salt, katsu curry sauce, spring onion, and fried shallot. Japanese poutine!

7. Wonderbao – Always a classic. Share their Guabao Box with a choice of three guabaos – roast pork belly, sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken, and panko crumbed eggplant.

8. Waffleland – This year I’d opt for the Shanghai Sunrise (which is only available for a limited time only.) Fresh baked waffle with mango, shaved coconut, ice cream, Violet Crumble bits, wafer sticks, and drizzled with maple syrup and icing sugar? Um, yes pls.

9. Black Star Pastry – Everyone goes straight for the Strawberry Watermelon Cake, an almond cake packed with rose cream, watermelon, strawberries, and rosepetals – but this year I’m tipping the Strawberry Watermelon Soft Serve. In this weather, the cake in soft serve form, served in a waffle cone, sounds like a winner.

The Night Noodle Markets run every night at Birrarung Marr until 26 November 2017. Anyone can try the Menulog At Home Zone – just look for the green signs and get in early!

-Bianca O’Neill / InstagramTwitter. The Second Row was hosted at the NNM launch night and in Menulog’s At Home Zone. Images provided by Red Agency and Wheelhouse Creative.

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