Even just thinking about writing this article makes me hungry for some delicious Asian street food. You’ll soon find out why! On Wednesday 18 September I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a media event at the Queen Victoria Market – Hawker 88 Night Market. If you are a regular reader of my articles you will know I have attended numerous night and day markets around my hometown of Melbourne. The Queen Victoria Night Markets are my favourites and I visit them as often as I can.
My last trip to the Queen Victoria Night Market was for the Christmas In July 2019 season. You can read more about that night here. There is a range of night markets held at Queen Victoria Market that cycle almost all year long. They have different themes but they have a few things in common: amazing food, cultural diversity, entertainment, and that something special that is very Melbourne.
Let’s start with the food. The Hawker 88 Night Market has an Asian theme and is a celebration of Asian food and culture the world over. For the six weeks that this particular night market runs, there is a sub theme for every night. On the night I attended, the theme was Mooncake Festival. In future weeks there will be a Malaysian festival, Japanese and Korean festival and so on. Located inside of the market’s famous sheds, around 20 food vendors set up to cook and sell their delicacies. There is street food from Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and much more. The vendors sell both handheld snacks like skewered marinated meats as well as plated meals. They are all sold at a reasonable price but not all vendors accept cards. So bring some cash or use the many ATMs located around the venue.
When you first enter the Hawker 88 Night Market you are instantly hit with the smells of cooking foods. It is amazing. I had a friend who joined my on the night to take some photos and it was the first thing that he commented on. And the atmosphere of the sheds is incredible. The food vendors and some retail stores form a ring around the outer edge of the area and the centre area is dominated with long rows of tables and chairs. Whilst the market gets full pretty quickly, there is plenty of seating and areas to gather. The air is filled with cooking smoke from coal pits cooking meat and steam from countless bamboo steamers. This all hangs in the rafters of the sheds along with coloured lighting and Hawker 88 Night Market signage.
There are around three bars set up around the night market selling a few select drinks such as Brick Lane beers as well as wine and ciders. There is also a cocktail bar making fresh Asian themed cocktails. Added to this are a couple of stores selling coffee and hot chocolate. In the centre of the market area there is a stage set up and when we arrived there was a band playing. Later the stage was given over to dancers who were bringing people on to the stage to join in. The entertainment is a great addition to the atmosphere of the evening. At one point loud drumming could be heard as a pair of chinese dancing (I am going to say dogs but forgive me if I got that wrong) were dancing through the market. They were incredibly energetic and played with the crowd and chased children away. There was also a skill machine arcade set up in one forner of the market for those willing to test their skills to grab a soft toy.
By the time we finished up at the market it was really busy but not uncomfortable. There were queues for people to get to food vendors but the queues were constantly moving. Keep in mind that all the food is being cooked fresh in front of you so it can take a few minutes. Overall, the Queen Victoria Market – Hawker 88 Night Market is a fantastic event. As I have written many times in the past, it is a must-do Melbourne event for locals and visitors. It is the sort of event where people from every walk of life come together to have a fun evening with friends and family. There is amazing food, fun entertainment and because it runs for several weeks, plenty of opportunities to get yourself there. Do yourself a favour and get to the Hawker 88 Night Market and don’t forget to keep an eye out for other upcoming night markets at Queen Victoria Market.
The Queen Victoria Market – Hawker 88 Night Market runs from 18 September to 23 October 2019. The market opens from 5pm and closes at 10pm. There is plenty of access via public transport as well as a large open-air carpark next to the market. Check the market website for pricing. Remember that not all vendors accept card payments but there are plenty of ATMs set up around the venue. For more information please check out the event website https://thenightmarket.com.au. *All images were shot with the Fujifilm X-T3 and the Fujifilm XF50mmF2.