Flying between Sydney and Toronto is no laughing matter and I am very glad to be back home after spending over 21 hours inside airplanes, countless steps running between airport terminals, and being away from home for two weeks. Although I am physically back home, I still have much travel stories to share and I hope you’ll indulge me with a few photo-heavy posts in the coming week.
In addition to The Rocks Village Bizarre, I also visited the Chinatown Friday Night Market. Both are night markets but they cannot be more different from each other. While The Rocks had ambiance to spare and whimsical themed activities, the Chinatown market had a raw energy shared between bustling stalls and enthusiastic crowd. A stretch of Dixon Street was closed to traffic and lined with plenty of vendors. There were usual suspects like phone accessories, crafts, toys, and useless knick knacks that one can find in any large Chinatown malls. But of course, it was the selection of street food that got me really excited.
Whether you go by dim sum (small bites) or yum cha (drink tea), the dizzying array of steamed and fried goodies are great fit for street food. Unlike the typical sit down experience of sipping tea and taking a bite of dim sum, it was tremendously fun just to munch on dumplings without the morning ritual. So I did not have the finesse to suck on braised chicken feet and walk at the same time. But that didn’t stop others from ordering.
Grilling was popular at the market. Grilled meat on sticks and corn on the cob were obvious choices but how about the freshly made jerky glistening with sweet and savoury glaze? I had a hard time deciding between beef or pork. I love both especially since grilled jerky was comfort junk food growing up. My grandparents always kept a fresh batch whenever we visited.
Food on stick is synonymous with street food. At about the length of my out-stretched arm, the spiral potato (on sticks) was a sight to behold. Grilled squid with savoury soy sauce glaze attracted bystanders easily with its enticing aroma.
Speaking of food on stick, I think the selection of seared dumplings in all shapes and sizes was clever and attractive. I was very tempted to order one of each kind.
Chinatown night market wasn’t just about Chinese food. The takoyaki (grilled octopus dumplings) stand had line up stretching far down the block.
Street food is as much about theater as taste. This Malaysian stand offered made to order roti. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch the chef stretched the dough to delicately paper thin before a few careful folds. The parcel was then grilled fresh before your eyes.
An unusual treat was these cold noodles tossed with spicy sauce and assorted crunchy toppings. The sensation of slippery cold noodles dressed in fiery taste offered great contrast.
Back home in Toronto, we have a handful of Asian night markets dotted throughout the warmer months. Despite the large Asian population and the markets’ popularity, I can’t imagine having a night market on a weekly basis. I hope with street food gaining traction in the city, it is not a dream to see weekly night market right here in my hometown too.