Perth is often tagged as ‘dullsville’ but not anymore, there have been many events popping up all over the place. Last year the inaugural Beaufort Street Festival drew huge crowds and the introduction of Fringe World at PICA in February this year had sold out shows at the Speigeltent. The Eat Drink Perth 2011 program this year is bigger and better, and one of the most anticipated events on the calendar are the Twilight Hawker Markets at Forrest Place in the city on Friday nights throughout March, 5pm-8pm. One thing that has become apparent is that when events like this happen, people are eager to come down and check it out.
The turnout for the first Twilight Hawker Markets was outstanding to the point where it appeared that the stalls were not prepared for the onslaught. Rocking up quite early in the evening after work to check out happenings I found that close to 5pm people were still frantically setting up. Throughout the evening, lines of people stretched far beyond the stalls which needed to be a bit more spread out to avoid congestion. However, this kind of added to the atmosphere, if you imagined yourself at a real hawker market in Asia, moving through small spaces, being crammed in queues and jostled as you order your meals is all a part of the experience. Some stalls had sold out of food by 6.30-7pm which shows that the response had probably been way more than anticipated. If you rocked up to the Hawker Markets later in the evening you would have missed out on treats like paella.
The big paella pan was one of the first things that caught my eye as I entered the Twilight Hawker Markets. I have never seen such a big pan of paella before and the sight and smell of it cooking away brought about excitement from onlookers.
It became apparent later in the night that the WA police take law and order quite seriously as my friends and I watched a police car trying to ram its way through a very crowded Murray Street Mall where the City Food Fair was taking place.
(line for satay sticks late into the night)
I loved the effort that had been put into livening up Forrest Place to create the atmosphere of a hawker market with lanterns everywhere and roving entertainment from chefs on stilts and jugglers. However, calling this event the Twilight Market Hawkers is a little misleading. This event would be more aptly called the ‘Twilight Street Food Market’. Hawker food is traditionally associated with Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine, and although I saw Singaporean noodles advertised I didn’t see stalls selling any. Whilst the Twilight Hawker Markets don’t provide a lot of ‘true’ hawker dishes, you can consume a wide variety of food from many different cuisines including Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, Indian and Columbian. I think this is to the benefit of all, as it allows people to explore street food from around the world and taste delicacies from different cultures.
One of the best things about the Twilight Hawker Markets is that it brings people together. Food brings people together, but this casual outdoors style of dining even more so. We love having barbecues right? Like me, it appeared that everyone had planned to meet friends here after work to check out the hawker market and grab a bite.
There are around ten stalls at the Twilight Hawker Markets but I only tried two stalls on the first night so I am looking forward to going back again this Friday and the following Fridays in March to check out the rest. The ‘Twilight Hawker Markets’ is where I want to be every Friday after work, it’s a great way to start the weekend.
Other Eat Drink Perth 2011 posts