Enlighten Noodle Market 2017

I went to the Enlighten Noodle Markets last Friday and Monday evening, and plan to go agin this Friday and potentially Saturday… Can you tell I loved it? It’s just the perfect opportunity to sit in the sun and enjoy great food while watching the sun set over Canberra. I went to the Markets last year too, so if you’d like to read that one, click here! Canberra is becoming such a foodie city, I friggen love it!

Korean Tacos from Poklol

Poklol do a ‘three tacos for $20’ deal, similar to Bao stop’s trifecta. You have the option to choose which filling, so we went for one of each – beef, pork and chicken. I really enjoyed the tacos (the pork one being my favourite), but the meat was a little dry. The carrots were slightly pickled which gave a nice tang, the cabbage was crunchy and the cucumber was refreshing. I liked the sauce too, but would have liked more of it.

Kimchi and beef fries from Poklol

This dish ($15) was one of our favourites of the night. The chips were insanely crunchy on the outside, and fluffy and soft on the inside. The beef was flavoursome (you get to choose your meat), there was a decent amount of cheese and a healthy topping of kimchi. I would have liked the kimchi to be a little spicier, but this didn’t detract from the dish at all. I’d definitely recommend this dish if you’re sharing with friends.

Hand-pulled noodles with char sui, beef brisket and five spice-broth from Taiwan Noodle House

This was my sister’s pick as she’d heard great reviews. The noodles ($18) were awesome – they were thick and luscious, and had a great chewy texture. The broth had a deep savoury flavour, and the guys at the Taiwan Noodle House were generous with the meat! We got a big piece of peppered beef brisket which was  unfortunately a little dry but super flavoursome, and a lot of tender char sui. I really enjoyed this dish!

Chicken Yakisoba from Teppanyaki Noodles

This chicken yakisoba ($14) might be my favourite of the night… The noodles were chewy and covered in sauce, the chicken was tender and there was a self-serve sauce station (?!?!). I love kewpie mayo (you can tell from the photo, hey). If you’re a noodle lover, I’d highly recommend the yakisoba from Teppanyaki Noodles.

Pavin’ it Large from Gelato Messina

Coconut and pandan sorbet, pandan custard, raspberry marshmallow and lychee meringue. The ball of sorbet was not only giant but delicious – coconutty with a hint of pandan. The lychee meringue was sat underneath the sorbet, so by the time we ate it, it had gone kind of soggy. I still liked the flavour though. I loved the firm but soft raspberry marshmallow and the creamy pandan custard. For $10, this is a well-priced dessert!

Lychee, apple and green tea bubble tea with apple liqueur from Naughtea

This was my sister’s pick and she was a little disappointed, only because it was really overpriced ($13.50 with alcohol) and wasn’t super special. The apple liqueur pearls burst in your mouth which was fun, but the tea itself was fairly watery (maybe too much ice was added) and we couldn’t taste any alcohol apart from the pearls.

We got to the markets just after 5pm which turned out to be the perfect time to go. It wasn’t busy, lines weren’t long and there was no stress! By 6:30pm it started to fill up and by 7 it was packed!

We had a little wander around the lake after dinner while we waited for the light exhibitions to start. It’s times like these when I realise how beautiful Canberra is.

The light exhibitions were beautiful, especially the butterflies. 


If you’ve not been, the markets are on for a few more nights! Definitely check it out, and if you’ve got time, take a wander through the light exhibitions.

Details for the Enlighten Noodle Market:

Dates and times

Friday 3 March – Sunday 12 march

Sunday to Thursday – 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Friday and Saturday – 5:00pm – midnight

Address

Reconciliation Place

 

 

Lunch at Soi Noodle Bar

A few weeks ago I was invited to a foodie lunch at Soi Noodle Bar in the city by a fellow foodie friend. Luckily for us we had full reign of the menu, so what you’re about to see is not a normal amount of food considering there was only 5 of us. We ordered about 15 dishes, and managed to almost clean up all the plates – a pretty good effort I think! Soi all
We started with a round of slushies! Cos you know, who doesn’t love a slushy? They offer three different types; lychee with lime and mint, coconut and mango, and watermelon with lime and mint. I got the watermelon one and it was really refreshing.

Soi Drinks

Edamame

Who goes to a Japanese restaurant and doesn’t order edamame? I feel like a Japanese feast isn’t complete without these little green gems.

Soi edamame

Spicy tofu

This was my absolute favourite dish of the day. Mainly because we ordered it on a whim and didn’t really expect much of it. Oh boy, am I glad we ordered it. Crispy mouthfuls of flavoursome tofu, topped with a salty miso, chilli and eggplant chutney. I’m salivating just thinking about it… As a starter it comes with 6 bite-sized pieces, so I’d definitely recommend ordering this dish to work up your appetite for the main.

Soi tofu 2

Soft-shell crab buns

Such a bargain considering how ‘hip’ and overpriced buns can be these days. You get 3 buns for $15, and they’re decently sized too. The soft-shell crab itself was crispy and salty which went well with the wasabi mayo. I would have liked more wasabi in the mayo though, but that’s just a small detail.

Soi sscrab

Spanner crab buns

These weren’t as good as the soft-shell crab buns, but they were still yummy. The buns consisted of sweet spanner crab flesh mixed with mayonnaise, pickled red onion and salmon roe. The pickles helped cut through the rich, creamy crab filling and the salmon roe added pops of saltiness.

Soi crab

Seafood Pancake

Basically a miniature okonomiyaki, hot plate and all! It came topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayo and dancing bonito flakes. Although I couldn’t quite figure out what kind of seafood it came with, it was still really tasty, and totally brought me back to Japan.

Soi pancake

Takoyaki

I’ve been on the hunt for good takoyaki in Canberra ever since I came back from Japan, and I think I’ve found it. They were gooey on the inside and crispy outside. One serve will get you 7 takoyaki.

Soi takoyaki

Seafood gyoza

I don’t think I’ve ever met a dumpling I didn’t like, especially when they’ve been panfried to create a deliciously crunchy bottom. These ones were moist and full of flavour. The dish comes with 5 plump dumplings served on a little hotplate.

Soi gyoza

Chicken green Thai curry

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good snap of the green curry, but it was by far my favourite main, and second favourite dish overall. Again, it might be because I didn’t have high expectations of any dish that didn’t comprise noodles (considering it is a noodle bar). It was creamy, the veges were crisp, the chicken was moist and there was even a bit of spice to it. I find most places numb the chilli levels to cater to the majority, but not here at Soi. It wasn’t overly spicy, there was just a nice hum of chilli.

Pad Thai

The Pad Thai was probably the most generous in terms of portion size, so this is the dish  to order if you are absolutely ravenous (or just order 3 portions of the spicy tofu). The dish itself was pretty good but was a bit dry. I would have liked more sauce or some lemon to squeeze on top. On the visual side though, it comes in an amazing, vibrant blue bowl.Soi Pad Thai

Laksa

Sadly, I didn’t like the laksa at all. The soup was oddly sweet and on the thin side. I was also surprised to find thin rice paper noodles instead of vermicelli, and no Hokkein noodles! A laksa without Hokkein noodles is blasphemy if you ask me. Having said that, I am partial to the laksa from the Dickson Noodle House, so I might be a tad biased. Sorry, all the individual photos I took of the laksa were dreadful, but it is pictured on the feature image above (top left corner).

Shoyu ramen with chicken

Not going to lie, this wasn’t the best ramen I’ve had. I find that soy sauce based ramen can be a bit flavourless, and generally go for miso or pork based broths. The chicken was moist though, and I liked the soft boiled egg.

Soi ramen

Soi chicken breast katsu

The dish comes with crispy strips of panko-crumbed chicken breast, served on a bed of steamed black rice. I thought it was a little overpriced ($24) considering it was just chicken and rice, but I have to say it was a very generous portion. The chicken was cooked well, and I thought the black rice was a cool and different addition. Soi katsu

It turns out that Soi Noodle Bar do some really great non-noodle dishes! So next time you go there, try something different. My top recommendations are the Spicy Tofu, Soft-shell Crab Buns, Seafood Pancake, Takoyaki and Green Thai Curry.

Details for Soi Noodle Bar:

Opening hours:

Everyday

11:00am – 10:00pm

Address:

Canberra Centre Shopping Centre, Shop EG08, Bunda Street, Canberra