Twilight Hawkers Market, Forrest Chase
In case you haven’t heard, the City of Perth’s Twilight Hawkers Market is back once again for summer. It has been running every summer for the past three years in Forrest Chase in the city. It has been hugely successful and this year it is running from November 2013 until April 2014, every Friday from 5pm until 9pm.
What is a hawkers market? It is basically where food stalls come together in one area, selling all kinds of street food from different countries around the world. It is definitely a place for food lovers to go, as there are so many food to choose from. These countries include Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, Spain, France and so many more, and features paellas, Argentinian BBQ meats, burritos, empanadas, gozlemes, satays and more.
I actually attended the hawkers market last year, but did not have much food. Like this year, I found that the food was a little bit on the expensive side, but it’s the kind of price you expect in Perth. Proper meals were at least $10, and even so, it wasn’t a whole lot. However, I have been to a fair share of hawkers markets in Asia, so maybe I’m being a little bit biased in that regard. I knew that this year, I had to bring more money with me as my boyfriend and I were planning on having dinner at the market.
As you make your way towards Forrest Chase, no matter from which direction you are coming from, you can instantly notice the tantalising smell floating in the air. I was so excited at this point. And we were starving. We were ready! We had hoped to come earlier, but we ended up arriving at 6:30pm. The market is known notoriously for being packed early, but we visited when it was over 40 degrees Celcius, so we were hoping that everyone was at home or next to their air conditioner. It wasn’t as packed that night but it was still a struggle to walk around looking for something to eat. We visited before Christmas, so there were people singing Christmas carols on the stage, as well as other musical acts.
I had told L that I was going to the Twilight Hawkers Market, to which she found out that her favourite Butty’s Food Truck was making an appearance at the market. The truck travels around Perth, but spends most of its time at Curtin University. L always raved to me about their Original Beef Rib Burger, so I knew I had to try it. I did also like the sound of the burger… slow cooked, 15 hours, soft buns… It won me over! I waited at least five minutes for it as it was being made, and unravelled the aluminium foil that was tightly packing the burger. Initially, the burger seemed quite small for $10, but this wasn’t just any ordinary burger. The ribs were so unbelievably tender. It had so much flavour, and had a lot of meat. Tomatoes and coleslaw accompany the tender ribs, which kept the burger as simple as it can be. The brioche bun was so ridiculously soft. It was outstanding. No wonder why L loves this burger! My boyfriend enjoyed the burger, but he prefers the kind of burgers that is packed full of ingredients. Think Grill’d, or Jus Burgers – he would gladly have a burger from there for relatively the same price. Fair enough, but this burger is a one-of-a-kind.
As we walked around to see what else we could get, we were almost out of choices. We wanted something substantial, not too oily or fatty, and not too expensive for the portion size. Then we saw the words, “lamb shanks”. We knew we had to have it. This was the Guinness Lamb Shanks with Red Potatoes ($13.50). Lamb is my absolute favourite type of meat, and lamb shanks gets me weak at the knees. My boyfriend had heard that these shanks were amazing as well. There was a queue but that didn’t matter. The lamb shank was a decent size. As we were sharing, the tender meat was gone so quick. The meat just fell off the bone. It was moist and had so much flavour. It was definitely our favourite at the markets. The red potato chips were spicy but delicious. We just wanted more of the whole dish. I can still remember it now!
I was planning on getting a popsicle that night but I unfortunately didn’t get the chance. Hopefully next time I get to!
We made one more round circling the markets, and found an Colombian empanadas stall. We had never had it before but decided to give it a try, as most things had run out at this stage (it was about 7pm). An empanadas is a South American pastry that is baked or deep fried, and has various stuffings inside it, be it meat or vegetarian – kind of comparable to a curry puff. The stall was selling 3 for $10, so we got one lime and pork, one beef and one potato. Our favourite was the lime and pork. They were extremely hot and crunchy but oily. It would’ve been nice to have more meat and more filling in the potato empanada. The lime and pork was tangy and we just wanted more. The empanadas went really well with the guacamole, which was basically like runny avocado sauce, but it was still nice.
On a hot night, we couldn’t not have ice cream. We each got our own ice creams: Mars ice cream, and mango sorbet. We got the medium size but we would have been content with a smaller size. They give you so much, which is not bad for $5. The Mars ice cream tasted just like a chocolate mousse ice cream – it was so creamy! We couldn’t taste much of the Mars Bar flavour, but it was a pretty damn good ice cream.
The mango sorbet was my favourite. The mango flavour was so good. It was also quite creamy, despite being a sorbet. It was a perfect Summer flavour and was really good to wash away what we had just eaten. We had a bit of trouble finishing these ice creams as there was so much, but we weren’t complaining!
If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, then you need to go into the city on a Friday night and try our these markets. I would advise to carry cash with you as I don’t know how many of the stalls would have EFTPOS facilities, but you’re in the city anyway so there will be ATMs around. I would recommend visiting as early as you can go, as it gets quite busy, and food does start to sell out by 7pm. There is limited seating at the markets, but you can find a seat anywhere be it on steps or on a small patch of grass. The markets is a fabulous way of getting people out of their house and try some international food, so I commend the City of Perth for organising something like this. And if you finish up early, there’s no harm in having a bit of shopping afterwards!
Rating: 7 out of 10
Address: Forrest Chase (Murray Street Mall) Perth City
- Held every Friday from 5pm until 9pm, at Forrest Chase in the city.
- The 2013-2014 season will run from November 2013 until April 2014.
- I would recommend taking cash only to the markets.