For me summer in Melbourne heralds long bright evenings, Moonlight Cinema and the Suzuki Night Market at Queen Victoria Market. Evidently I’m not alone as the night market has become a bit of a summer institution for young and old alike and in peak time (between 6-8pm) the crowds swell to almost uncomfortable levels.
Nevertheless, it’s still an experience which is very enjoyable. The huge numbers of milling locals and tourists lend an excited vibrancy to the atmosphere and there’s live music on all night encompassing all sorts of genres and giving the kiddies a chance to bop. As an after work activity nothing beats strolling around having nothing on your mind other than what to eat from the plethora of fragrant food stalls.
After our food reconnaisance, I stalked a table until seats became free (a rarity) while A went to the vegan stall for a curry plate, and then I went to the stall selling food from Trinidad and Tobago, a cuisine with which I’m definitely not familiar. The options were a chickpea dish, Bake and Shark and some form of fried chicken with a spicy sauce (sorry hazy memory). A last minute decision had me choosing the Bake and Shark ($12) and the friendly lady behind the counter assured me that I would love it.
Yes, bake and shark does usually contain deep-fried shark, although I’m not certain how easy it is to source shark in Australia, so it might have been some other firm white fish in this case. The ‘bake’ refers to the sort of bun holding it all together, which is apparently made from roti flour that is fried in certain shapes to make the bread. My bake and shark was accompanied by a slice of pineapple, some salad and spoonfuls of various colourful sauces which I couldn’t distinguish. As far as mass-produced pre-cooked food goes, this was pretty good and I’d easily pick it again.
For dessert, so much choice! I decided to go for the honey puffs as I’m a real sucker for sweet deep fried dough and bought a plate of huge doughnuts drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This is definitely a dessert to be shared and good value for $6.
After our meals we wandered around the other non-food stalls. The mix of sellers was truly bizarre, ranging from cheap tat like sunglasses and imported plastic toys to on-the-spot hair extensions, wall vinyls, vintage clothes and the ubiquitous fisherman pants.
I can’t say I’d recommend the Suzuki Night Market for the shopping or even necessarily the quality of the food – but you’ll still love it for the vibe and the chance to soak in the long summer hours with your friends and family.