The minute I knew I was on my way to Melbourne I messaged my fabulous friend Kieu. An dear longtime friend, a friend that has partied with me, cried with me, celebrated and laughed with me. A friend that has turned up with flowers in the midst of troubled times and didn’t balk at me wearing pyjama pants as I opened the door. A friend that no matter what the distance or how long we go without talking we always pick up where we left off. My darling friend got married earlier this year, so this was my chance to squeeze her and her ‘husband pants’ for the first time since their wedding.
Earlier on the day we caught up, Emma (one of my travel buddies) and I went traipsing through the city photographing all sorts of sights along the way. I mentioned to Emma that I love taking snaps of cool kids, tattooed folks with pink hair and cool threads. When we walked into the Night Noodle Market to see Kieu and husband pants Benjamin, Emma nudged me and said “You wanted cool people? I think we’ve found your cool people”. And this kicked off a photographing frenzy where Benjamin had the camera thrust in his face mid-chicken-mouthful and they didn’t get a hug in without us jumping around snapping away. I don’t think they minded, they’re good like that.
The Melbourne Night Noodle Markets were set along the banks of the Yarra for two weeks as part of Good Food Month. Kieu graciously waited for my arrival to visit the Asian hawker styled markets, this made me feel like royalty given how much Kieu loves her food. We’d only finished lunch at 4pm (with another cool kid Emiko, Melbourne is so lucky!) so by the time we hit the markets I was unfortunately still full. Three hours of drooling and checking out the food did finally work up an appetite and so I sampled some Japanese chicken before we left. In the meantime we walked and talked, some of us ate, some of us photographed those that ate, and most off all we enjoyed the afternoon in great company. And Melbourne showed off weather wise, quashing any ‘four seasons in one day’ malarkey.
The place looked a lot like a music festival, masses of people strolling around with cider or beer in hand. The only difference was in place of stages there were food stalls and instead of rock stars there were food hawkers (my kind of rock stars). Stalls included Thai, Japanese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Chinese and Indian (PHEW!) cuisine and as I strolled around I thought if I was smarter I would’ve skipped breakfast and lunch and gone in with full intention of eating the markets out of house and home. Aside from the delicious smells and delectable sights, it was fun to just be in the company of friends under the Melbourne sun. The lines were crazy long but we didn’t mind, we weren’t in any hurry. In fact the wait only made for solid chinwag time.
Cool kids, great food and a food festival to rival the best of them. I’ll be back Melbourne, I’ll be back.