There is a reason seemingly everyone in Melbourne makes the pilgrimage to the Queen Victoria Night Market on a wintry Wednesday night. They come unperturbed by gale force winds, Antarctic breezes and sudden down pours for this is the food mecca of Melbourne in winter, almost every nationality is represented in what is essentially an international food porn convention. Money shots abound if only the people would get out of the way!
So dear readers there are some words of wisdom I can impart that will make your trip to the night market the best it can be.
- Do not wear white. Food and wine spillage probability is far too high to risk it.
- Dress in layers and do wear flats ladies, you do not want to be jostling for position in the line for Sloppy Joe's in 4 inch heels, elbows may be thrown.
- Get cash out BEFORE you get to the market. Preferably in denominations of $5s, $10s and $20s. I turned up to the market and made a beeline to the longest line I could see, thinking that must be some food worth waiting for. Alas, it was the line to the ATM. So unless you feel like lining up behind 80 people, bring cash with you. Whilst many of the clothing and jewellery stalls etc take Visa, the food vendors do not.
4. If you have asthma, bring your puffer. Between the fire pits and the amount of meat on hot coals she can get a little smoky up in here.
5. Bring wet wipes.
6. Arrive at 455pm, bring at least 3 friends and a maximum of 5.
7. Make your way into the middle of the market and secure a table near a heater.
8. Send 2 of your party immediately to the mulled wine and have them get the first round while the rest of you hold the table and get excited.
9. Once the mulled wine is secured, 50% of your group should do a quick lap and ascertain what you are going to eat. There is everything you can imagine from Hawaiian to Nepalese, Filipino from Hoy Panoi and even the humble pav is available in single serves. If you are feeling adventurous go for something a bit out of the ordinary and make like the Baroness with a ramen burger from Everybody loves Ramen. Get it? Like Everybody Loves Raymond! I love a good food pun. Choose from juicy chashu pork belly with tonkatsu sauce or the super popular teriyaki fried chicken ramen burgers. I went for the pork belly for $14. Definitely worth ticking off your foodie bucket list, especially those who have been watching the evolution of Ramen burgers via Foodbeast’s Insta-feed.
10. Get extra napkins and have those wet wipes at the ready.
11. Time to switch out and let the rest of your group roam around for their feed while you get up close and personal with your food. Make sure whilst they are roaming, that they manage to swing by the Little Creatures bar and bring you back some liquid refreshments or if you are still chilly you might prefer some hot apple cider from Those Girls. For those doing Dry July you might want to give some freshly pressed cane juice a try.
12. I can tell you that the top 5 food stalls based on length of queue, in no particular order are below. So if you have a hankering for any of these delicacies, get in early or bring your patience and your drink of your choice to the conga line
- Sloppy Joe's serving … you guessed it Sloppy Joes, along with fries & mac n’cheese
- 400 Gradi – makers of the world’s best margarita pizza
- Sicilian Street Food - Mussels
- The Soup Factory – soup in a hollowed out bread bowl, just like the ones you get in San Fran. Their popularity is so serious they even have a Disney style line set up, only no fast passes here
- The cannoli at Bigne
13. Speaking of conga lines, if you feel like getting your groove on, there is a silent disco roaming the market and there’s also hula hooping for the kids. Prefer a gentler pace? Pull up a pew at the silent movie at the far end of the market or enjoy the rotating roster of musicians that welcome you as you enter from Queen St.
14. But enough yammering, for the most important part of the night is here. DESSERT. Now that you’ve had your savoury and alcoholic fill, it’s time to get down and dirty with dessert. For me, there was no question where I was heading. Sure, you can get some delightful looking cannoli or some fun looking ice-cream sundaes but I can get them anywhere, anytime. What I am more interested in is what I can’t get everyday. And that little something is a DEEP. FRIED MARS. BAR. Scoff if you will but I assure you, you have not lived until you have wrapped your mouth around one of these delicately oozing delights. Mine came with a side of clotted cream. I mean, to my way of thinking the Mars Bar was so perfect as it was it didn’t need any adornment however I also can't abide food wastage so I slathered that gorgeous creaminess all over my dessert.
I swear I almost cried tears of joy over how good this was. To think I have waited this long to try one makes me rue the wasted years sans DFMB. Now you may baulk at paying $8 for what you can get un-fried for $1 at Coles, but do not be cheap people. This is the best $8 you will EVER spend. I would have paid $16 and still been blissfully happy. I am already trying to create opportunities to get down to Taki’s stall again to relive this magical moment. If Mars Bars aren’t your thing, you might prefer deep fried Oreos or hey why not get a deep fried jam roll. You heard me, a deep-fried jam roll. I will definitely be getting one of those before I die. It in fact may be the cause of my death but at least I’ll die doing what I loved.
15. Suitably crazed by sugar it would be wise to depart the market now. OR do what I did and start hitting up the non-food vendors for a bit of retail therapy. I walked away very pleased with my natural, hand poured soy candle purchased from Melbourne’s own Green Candle Co.
My definition of a great night is having all of your food, drink and shopping needs met in pure Melbourne style, in the depths of winter under a tin roof at the Queen Vic Market. Get down there any Wednesday night in winter and see where food porn meets reality.
Corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne (enter via Queen St)
Every Wednesday night in winter from 5pm-10pm and in Spring/Summer from November 4.
Please feel free to share, comment and click the love heart below. If you visit any of the stalls mentioned let them know that The Baroness of Melbourne sent you.