Melbourne loves its summer night markets and the The Age Lunar Markets at Docklands is the newest pop up to come to town. The event has become a big success in Sydney and this year is its first foray south.
For 11 days Harbour Esplanade, right on the water at Docklands, has been cordoned off and turned into an Asian street food market.
And what makes the Lunar Markets really great in my view is the setting. I don’t get down to Docklands too often yet I’m always blown away by the glistening water, the city and bay views and relaxing pace. On a bright summer’s day it’s our version of the harbour!
Even though the food selection is small, say compared to the Night Noodle Markets, this is actually a positive from my point of view as (a) you don’t get decision fatigue; and (b) you don’t have to trek kilometres to check out all the stalls. On my visit early in the evening there were barely any lines and plenty of seating, either at tables or podiums or bench seats hidden in huge planters.
Note most of the shade was down the Collins Street end of Harbour Esplanade so if you approach from Latrobe Street make sure you bring a hat and sunglasses.
Foodwise there’s Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Japanese and Korean to choose from. If you choose wisely you can feed a person for around $20-$25 – we spent around $70 for 2 adults and 2 kids.
My recommendations are to hit up Wonderbao for their, well, wonderful baos. Their batter is super fluffy and you can’t go wrong with one of their gao baos stuffed with fun Asian fusion flavours such as fried chicken and roast pork belly or a traditional a char siu bao (2 for $10) or egg custard bun (2 for $8). My recommendation is to order the vegetarian pan fried bao. These were perfectly crisped with the thinnest of browned bottoms while the pastry itself was still light as air.
If it’s hot you can’t go wrong with a icy fresh coconut from Sambal Kampung ($5 and you can eat the flesh too) and for dessert N2 Extreme Gelato and Black Star Pastry have collaborated on two special desserts – the Gong Hai Cake Smash and Hipster Cookies and Cream ($9). I do love a dessert with a syringe, popping candy and a fortune cookie! Though on a very hot day the liquid nitrogen ice cream will melt very quickly but it shouldn’t be any problem scoffing it down quick.
Along with the pop up stalls, cafe Hortus x Seven Seeds is open if you need a coffee and donut fix.
The Age Lunar Markets is a welcome addition to Melbourne’s burgeoning night market calendar. At the moment it’s small but there’s still plenty of choice and it’s a wonderful place to hang out with family and friends, soak in the view and watch the sun go down.
For more events happening for Lunar New Year in Melbourne click here.
- paid street parking available on Harbour Esplanade;
- PT access via trams and Southern Cross station;
- entry to the Lunar Night Market is free;
- take cash just in case there’s little or no access to ATMs;
- go early when it opens so you can avoid queueing;
- shade starts from Collins Street end of Harbour Esplanade.