Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 4): Queen Victoria Market - Suzuki Night

After our long walk through Chinatwon and then little Italy, we ended up back around the Queen Victoria Market Area for the Suzuki Night Market. This is where they convert the outdoor stalls for food and drink vendors. You'll still find stands selling crafts/goods but people mainly gathered to fill their stomachs.

The place was extremely crowded like San Gennaro in NYC but I loved it. Small purveyors all found  in once place showing off their delicacies. Our first top: the Italian Porketta. Sure, you would think that a porchetta sandwich was in order but we didn't want to stuff ourselves right off the bat. The sandwiches looked pretty hefty.
Instead, we opted for a cup of pork rinds instead. I love pork rinds. Whenever I'm in the South, I get some. I'll even scarf down an entire bag for the horror of my friends. Anyway, back to these pork rinds. For $5, I ate these while I checked out the other stands. Unfortunately, they were way too hard. I almost broke my teeth trying to bite into these. Instead, I slowly softened them in my mouth until ready to be chewed. Yeah, that sounds pretty disgusting to me too. Oh, and they were too salty as well. After a certain point when Mr. M&P gave up on his half, I threw the rest away.
The next stop was much better: Banjo's BBQ. This vendor was grilling up meats to order. Exotic bush meat. Ah, this was the kind of stuff we were looking for.
We ordered the Australian Bite ($8) which included crocodile, emu, and kangaroo. The crocodile nuggets was slightly chewy probably due to the leanness of the protein. It didn't have a funk and reminded me very much of chicken. I usually don't enjoy reptile meat but this was good. The emu sausage was super tender. As a sausage, they mixed in a bunch of spices which worked really well. Lastly, the kangaroo burger was very tender as well. The lean meat was cooked perfectly leaving it juicy and flavorful. It wasn't gamey and reminded me of beef the most. It was like a very lean beef burger. Overall, I would definitely eat any of these meats again.
Our next stop was for a Gozleme which is a savory Turkish crepe. There were a few different kinds on the menu but we opted for the lamb, feta, and spinach ($10).
This freshly made crepe was really good. The meat, cheese, and vegetables were so well balanced. The lamb was slightly funky but not overly so, the melted cheese mellowed out the crepe and added some tang, the spinach with its freshness and crunch, and the soft thin crepe just holding everything together.
Our next and last stop was at Twistoo for some Korean twist potato sticks. This stand garnered the longest lines.
The potatoes are freshly spiral cut, skewered, battered, and fried. Then they put on the spice that you choose. There's spicy, cheese, chicken, curry, bbq, etc. It's like a freshly made potato chip on a stick if you will.
I opted for the hot and spicy. It wasn't overly spicy but spicy enough to remind me of jalapeno potato chips like Wise Deli Chips. For $5, this wasn't too bad. Sure, they're probably making a killing in profits since potatoes and manufactured spice mixes are dirt cheap. As the consumer, I was satisfied.
I really enjoyed this outdoor festival. And even though it was too crowded to be comfortable, they did set up many tables and chairs for patrons. All were occupied by those who arrived early and ran rounds to the beer or wine stall. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was friendly, happy, and relaxed.

Queen Victoria Market
Suzuki Night Market
513 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+03 9320 5822

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