Break out the stretchy pants, because between now and Christmas Melbourne is offering up a feast of yummy festivals and markets. We’re talking two Asian hawker-style markets, multicultural festivals featuring food from Mexico and Germany, plus events devoted to cheese, dumplings and vegan food.
Night Noodle Markets
Melbourne’s Night Noodle Markets are back from 7-24 November, bringing a bustling hawker-style market vibe to Birrarung Marr. There’s so much more than noodles on offer, from bao and okonomiyaki to fried ice-cream and the Korean shaved-ice treat called bingsu. This pan-Asian feast is accompanied by a free soundtrack of live music and DJs and springtime vibes.
Melbourne International Dumpling Festival
From gyoza and xiao long bao to pierogis and ravioli, cuisines the world over have their own take on the dumpling. Stuff yourself with favourites and discover some unfamiliar bundles of joy at the Melbourne International Dumpling Festival on 4 November. This delicious day also has multicultural performances, DJs, kids entertainment and of course, dumpling-eating competitions.
World Vegan Day
Vegans rejoice! Head to the Melbourne Showgrounds to celebrate World Vegan Day on 10 November. Expect vegan food stalls, including treats-to-go and new vegan products, cooking demos and speakers covering everything from nutrition to ethics. Plus, there’ll be market stalls selling vegan clothing and accessories and live entertainment for all ages.
Holey Cheese Festival
Melbourne, get ready to melt with delight at Queen Victoria Market’s Holey Cheese Festival on 22-27 October. From blue to brie and cheddar to chevre, sample some of the finest local and imported products from the market’s cheesiest traders. There will also be guest pop-ups by the likes of 400 Gradi (mmmm, pizza) and The Cypriot Kitchen (hello, halloumi chips), and even cheese-friendly cocktails. How about an Old Fashioned paired with smoked gouda? Yes, please!
Now in its 15th year, the Polish Festival returns on 17 November for a day of live music, dancing, and colourful folk-inspired arts and crafts. Of course there will be plenty of hearty Polish flavours to discover too. Try traditional cakes, pastries, bigos (stew) and kielbasa (sausage), and sip a piwo or two – because beer is good in any language. Maybe then you’ll be ready for Polish dress-ups at the interactive photo booth.
Hawker 88 Night Market
Soak up the scents, sights and sounds of Asia at the Hawker 88 Night Market. There’s free live music and cultural experiences, weird and wonderful stalls to browse, and street food from Vietnam, India, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and more. Spice up your Wednesday nights until 23 October at this seasonal market. There’s the Bali Boracay Island Night, Diwali Bollywood Sri Lanka Night and finally the South East Asia Fest.
It’s not all about the beer – short of flying to Deutschland, Oktoberfest is also the best chance you’ll get to enjoy German cuisine. Choose from a variety of celebrations throughout October, like Oktoberfest in the Gardens (19 October). The menu at this all-day festival of Bavarian-style good times features pretzels, pork hocks, kranski and apple strudel. Other options for bratwurst-and-sauerkraut frenzies include Milk the Cow’s Annual Oktoberfest Supper (24 October) and Oktoberfest at Hofbrauhaus, Melbourne’s original Bavarian beer hall (until 26 October).
Arriba! Melbourne Mexican Festival
Still saving for that trip to Mexico? No hay problema amigo, because it’s coming to you from 26-27 October at the Arriba! Melbourne Mexican Festival. Browse market stalls, try dishes from Mexico and other Latin American countries, catch Day of the Dead parades and enjoy live music and dancing. Say hola to a whole lot of empanadas, enchiladas, burritos and five styles of margarita. Salud!
More yummy multicultural festivals
Indulge in Indian street food at the Victorian Festival of Diwali (19 October), and tuck into Eastern treats at the Taiwan Festival (27 October). Feast on pasta, pizza, gelato and more at Carlton’s Melbourne Italian Festa (17 November), then all things Greek at the White Tower Festival (24 November). Don’t miss the chance to connect and sample cuisines from across the Muslim world at SalamFest Festival of Peace (29-30 November).