Just like Richmond Football Club reaching the finals this year, no one could have expected the shear popularity of last years Night Noodle Markets. The grounds of Alexandra Gardens were packed with people seeking out the best hawker stands to chow down on dumplings, noodles or skewers – while enjoying a beverage or two. This year’s festival will be even bigger and vibrant as it relocates to a new location at Birrarung Marr (behind Federation Square).
But before setting off to the Night Noodle Markets (opening night is this Friday), one doesn’t simply walk into the hawker market without a game plan. Sure, there are the usual suspects of Longrain, Izakaya Den and Hammer & Tong. However, the Night Noodle Markets is an opportunity to freely explore eateries that you may not have heard or had forgotten.
One dumpling house The Modern Connoisseur has yet to try is New Shanghai – located on level three of Melbourne Emporium. New Shanghai will also be featuring at the Night Noodle Markets. To give you a preview of what to expect from New Shanghai, The Modern Connoisseur and a few other Melbourne food bloggers got their chop sticks primed and mouths moist for some dumpling goodness.
The restaurant setting
From the patterns of the wall paper to the selection of dining furniture, New Shanghai gives an immediate and strong presence of stepping into a Chinese dumpling house. The dining space is quite large – which is somewhat deceptive from the entrance – and is able to cater for small and large groups. The menu is extensive with plenty of options to choose from – be it the traditional dumpling to something more adventurous.
On offer at the Night Noodle Markets
Xiao long bao
Nothing beats a classic pork dumpling, and the xiao long bao is always a favourite around any table. The richness of the pork that is combined with a small amount of traditional soup makes for an exceptional dumpling. New Shanghai is no exception, offering a well-made xiao long bao to commence the sampling and the perfect filler item at the Night Noodle Markets.
Steamed vegetarian dumpling
For the conscious vegetarian, New Shanghai offers steamed vegetarian dumplings and spring onion cakes at the Night Noodle Markets. While some may disagree on the vegetarian dumpling, the presentation of these dumplings was quite pretty. The combination of glass noodles, cabbage and carrot made for a pleasant taste on the palate.
Panned Fried Pork Bun
A healthier alternative to the fried dumpling, the pan fried method has taken off in the last year or so. It allows for the best of both worlds; steam flavours on the top and the desirable fried crunch on the bottom. These dumplings had a clean taste to them and were a delight to eat.
Yes, Truffle dumplings! The dumpling consisted of shavings of truffle and truffle oil that was combined with the pork mince. And the taste was just brilliant. The flavour of the truffle dumplings was exceptional and novel, with the truffle enhancing the pork mince and making it more than just ‘another dumpling’. For the adventurous foodie this dumpling is one to look out for.
Steam buns w/ deep fried crispy skin duck
This dish has The Modern Connoisseur’s tick of approval. A twist on the classic peking duck; these hand sized opened steam bun were filled with cucumber and crispy skin duck. The dish itself is alluring to the eye and the taste doesn’t disappoint. Biting into the bun has a mixture of flavours that including the crackling of the crispy duck, a dash of freshness from the cucumber and a lovely fluffy taste from the bun. This hand sized bun is perfect for standing food festivals and is a strong alternative to the hamburger.
Whether attending the Night Noodle Markets this month or finding a new dumpling house to settle a dumpling craving, New Shanghai has a strong selection of high quality dumplings that won’t disappoint.
Sat – Wed 11am – 7pm
Thu – Fri 11am – 9pm
Store 323, Level 3
The important stuff
The Night Noodle Market will be trading from the 14th to the 30th of November. The Night Noodle Market is located at Birrarung Marr (behind Federation Square). Access to the list of vendors and map are now available.
More information about The Night Noodle Market can be found here.
Cost: Free entry; dishes from $5-$15
Disclaimer: The Modern Connoisseur dinned as a guest of New Shanghai and id.Collective Public Relations. All opinions and views are true and honest to the contributor experience.