Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Melbourne Noodle Night Market Part 1 - Wonderbao & Izakaya Den

So for those of you who don't know, Citibank is currently running Good Food Month in Melbourne. Part of it includes a night food market, hosted at the Alexandra Gardens. In October they also had this in Sydney and proved to be a big success and judging from the crowds in Melbourne, think it's even bigger here.

They have a range of stalls including Messina, Chin Chin, Longrain, Izakaya and the list goes on. So for many foodies in Melbourne this is a pretty good mix of a lot of current popular and a few upcoming resturants. My review will be split into 2 parts as I visited over 2 different nights


Wonderbao

On the opening night I went and amongst the crazy lines and queues I got my hands on Wonderbao. They did 3 combos with their traditional baos, the open baos and a combination of both open and traditional baos. 
I got 2 combos that included the Cumin Chicken open bao, Silky Tofu open bao, char Siu bao, custard bao, choi bao and chicken bao. I've been to Wonderbao before so I kind of already knew what to expect (with the exception of the line). 

Their open bao were the hit for me. Cumin chicken has a nice flavour to it balanced with the slaw and the sweetness of the bun. The silky tofu had a rather different texture to your usual steamed buns, loved the crushed peanuts in it.

The traditional wonders were very disappointing. The bun to filling ratio was very poor, it felt like all I kept eating was a lot of bun and no filling. This was especially the case for the char siu bao. The choi bao was very bland as well. The custard was nice with the gooey filling but the wait for it, made it not worth while.

There is something I really have to mention, I noticed that they put their price up since day 1 of the market. On the first day when I went, the traditional buns were $3.50. Last night when I went, they were $4.00. That's more than a 10% mark up in the space of 1 week. I found that did not sit well with me at all. Considering normally when you visit their store it is only $2.20 per bun. The service element would not be present and I understand you would pay a premium at a food festival but at that mark up.... it doesn't feel very fair. It definitely deterred me from going back on the second day and will make me think twice before visiting their store again. If you look my picture closely, you will see the price of the combaos on day 1.

Overall the baos were not spectacular to a point I would justify a revisit at the price they are charging.
Wonderbao on Urbanspoon






Izakaya Den

The Izakaya Den line was one of the longest lines of the night, but their fried chicken was well worth the wait! With the wasabi mayo, it was the highlight of the night!!

Izakaya also did their take on a hot dog. It was a decent hot dog, but nothing to rave about and if anything, it was too small.

Overall, Izakaya's fried chicken made me not notice the hot dog disappointment as much. I would still prefer to dine at their restaurant any day over visiting them again at their stall. The wait is just too long.










  Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

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