Did you know in Asian countries there is a way of life which is known as street food? I have yet to experience it but it’s up there on the bucket list and I have a particular yearning to visit Vietnam. The theatre of eating the local delicacies really speaks to me and I have heard that grasshoppers are particularly good.
What is simply a way of life in Asia is now a craze that is sweeping the globe, or rather the craze of copying this way of life is sweeping. In Australia every major city has this type of dinning, I have heard New Zealand’s very own Pakuranga Night Market is exceptionally good, although I am yet to visit.
The newest addition is the Glenfield night market which runs every Sunday from 5.30-11pm. Initially I thought it would probably be the same as many other “farmers/food markets” including crafts and all sorts of other non-food items but we decided to check it out anyway and we couldn’t have been more wrong and I had no idea of the experience I was in for that night.
We arrived before 6pm but the place was already heaving. Situated in the bottom carpark of the Glenfield Mall it was absolutely buzzing with noise, music, people, smells and great sights. There were still a few craft stalls present but they were easily passable. The only stop we made here was at the Camden market style, flashing rave t-shirts (I’ve always wanted one of those!). I would estimate maybe 40-50 (possibly more) cooking stalls selling allsorts from Thai dishes to an XXXL burger stand.
Methodical as I am we started at the first stall and worked our way around. My wife and friends tried a few dishes, with me trying lots as I always do, the weirder the better as you will soon find out.
Now even with lots of stalls and lots of people it still doesn’t make it an authentic Asian street market does it, I want to see some unusual items that I can’t get at my local Thai restaurant or Chinese takeaway. By the end of the night the market would more than deliver.
The first thing I tried was Takoyaki. They are Japanese dough balls and there were several flavours available including the two I tried, Octopus and Crab. The crab ball had a cool claw sticking out of the top. They were crispy on the outside and had an almost custard middle. They were so rich in flavour and topped with smoked bonito flakes which finished them off nicely. A delicious start!
The next dish I am a little familiar with from my favourite farmers market in Hobsonville and it is Hungarian bread. The bread is so moreish and combined with one of their excellent toppings is always a favourite. I am a fan of the original garlic myself but we tried the sour cream and cheese and although not as good as the garlic it was still great.
I had some simple pork and shrimp dumplings next which were divine so we went back and got more, and this was washed down with a freshly squeezed orange juice.
I got a nasty shock with the next stall, nothing to do with the taste of the dish but more to do with the pricing on the stall. The offering, quail egg kebabs (you could also buy green tea boiled quail eggs as well) which tasted just like fried egg on a stick, my 2 sticks which equated to 8 quail eggs cost just $5. Reasonable in itself but what shocked me more was the boxed eggs you could buy. For $15 you get two boxes both containing 24 quail eggs, $15 for 48 eggs, even wholesale I get nowhere near that price!
Then onto the strangest sounding food item I sampled that evening, Deep fried pig intestine. I saw the sign and in an instant I was sold, this is the type of stuff I wanted to sample. I must admit they don’t look or smell great, but get past that and there is a gamey pork belly taste to them. If I wasn’t trying to fit a whole market into my stomach I might have gone back for seconds.
There are a few fruit stalls at this market and the remarkable thing about one fruit stall is that it was selling Durian fruit which I have never actually seen in person. The Durian is a debatable fruit and smells so bad that it has actually been banned from several Asian hotels. The taste however is supposed to be great. I regret not buying one now but will consider it on my next return! I’ll keep you posted.
The next stop was the opposite of the intestine, the squid kebabs looked great when they were cooking and looked even better on the skewer, the smell was incredible and the charred tentacles were very inviting. However it was the only thing I threw away because the tentacles were overcooked and inedible and the thick body part under cooked! Such a shame but let’s not dwell on it.
So finally after all this exotic food, intestines and tentacles, the best way to finish - the humble kiwi ice cream from the Berry Cream real ice cream company.
Get yourself down to Glenfield this Sunday night and maybe I’ll see you there.