Friday morning in Perth
Murray Street Mall, Friday 4 March – 7:45am
As part of Eat Drink Perth, every Friday this month, Forrest Chase will be having a bit of a make-over. I spotted the transformation on Friday morning as I made my way to work. As part of the first-Friday celebrations of Eat Drink Perth, stalls were set up in the Murray Street mall, as temporary street-side locations for favourite food retailers such as Jaws and Jean Pierre Sancho to sell their tasty wares.
Though the Murray Street Mall will be going back to its usual state for the remainder of the month, you can still catch the Twilight Hawker Markets every Friday night in March, from 5pm to 8pm (or until the food runs out!)
As you can see from the row of boxes in the photo above, the crew at Marcelita’s were busy churning out hot tasty treats for the forming crowds.
Marcelita’s Empanadas | 3 for $10 (or $3 each) – pork and lime filled with guacamole
TFP and I only had eyes for the pork. Sure, I loved the sound of slow cooked beef brisket. And the potato filled empanadas sounded delightful (who doesn’t love a bit of carb-on-carb action). But it had to be pork.
After waiting patiently for our order we were rewarded with three crispy and piping hot empanadas – the pork filling was generous, and was fragrant with fresh coriander and lime. We devoured them quickly with the zesty guacamole, which was the perfect partner for these tasty pillows of goodness.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love anything made with masa? Pupusas, empanadas, tamales… so many tasty options all made from corn meal. My favourite thing about it is the satisfyingly earthy and comforting flavour which corn brings to the food.
We loved the empanadas so much we even went back for more :)
The satay stall
Chicken satay |$7 for 5 sticks with satay sauce
We also tried the chicken satay, which was hard to resist with the smell of the charcoal grill and lemongrass wafting through the market. My favourite part was the super-crispy, extra charred bits on the chicken. Yum!
I almost didn’t get to sample the paella. As I stood in line as the second pan of the night was dished out, I realised (with horror) that there were about ten people standing between me and paella. As each person in the line happily walked away with their steaming bowls, I was faced with a near-on empty paella pan. Luckily for me, the friendly ladies behind the pan were happy to sell me a ‘tasting size’ plate for $5, with a chicken wing, some squid, pork and other goodies. I missed out on seafood, but that wasn’t important at the time!
I’ll be sure to go back next week to have my own full-sized plate for dinner – it was delicious, and I’m sure it will be even better next time in a full-sized portion with the blue swimmer crab, prawns and mussels which are dished out for each customer.
Some observations from the first Twilight Hawker Market
- I think everyone at the market was a little surprised by the turn out – I heard a number of stall holders and customers saying “I can’t believe this crowd!” It really was a great night, but I hope the event organisers make some tweaks to the upcoming markets.
- Space was an issue – though people were generally really good about it, it was quite difficult to navigate the stalls, line up to be served and find a place to stop and eat. Some tables were set up in break-out areas amongst the stalls, but the entire ‘square’ area outside the GPO was unused – surprising, because it seemed much more logical (to me) to spread things over the entire area in Forrest Chase.
- Signage – the most common question I overheard at each stall was “how much” and “what is it”? Adding bigger signboards would help (at least a little), and could improve the overall flow of traffic, allowing people to walk by and make choices without having to stop and ask for information.
- Drinks – there seemed to be lots of food, but not a lot to drink on offer. After eating and wandering around the stalls for two hours, I would have drank practically anything.
- A number of the stalls ran out of food well before 8pm, which was a shame. I hope this will be rectified in the coming weeks, as everyone seemed to be hungry – and hungry for more.
- With this experience, I really hope we see the establishment of more hawker markets in future! They’re one of my favourite things about travelling in Asia, and it’s a shame it’s not more popular here. It seems like Perth people are pretty keen on the idea!
For more information about the Twilight Hawker Market or other events happening in the City of Perth this March, visit Eat Drink Perth