Markets of Melbourne: The Esplanade Market, St Kilda

Hello there, lovely people. I realised that in all the absence and then some action, my Markets of Melbourne feature has been very badly ignored. And I feel horrible. Truly, I do.

So keeping you all as witnesses, this I solemnly swear that henceforth, I shall not ignore this series. As promised, every 2 months, I shall take you all on a jaunt around Melbourne via its charming and vibrant market life.

The weather hasn’t been all that great these last few weeks, and try as I might, I hadn’t been able to make a trip to the market that I really wanted to share next with you all. However, the gods were kind, and finally the week before last, the sun shone through and I ran to get my fill of the Esplanade Market. 

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With a location that adjoins St Kilda beach on one side, and the bustling Acland Street with its cafes on the other, the Esplanade Market couldn’t be a more fun experience for a Sunday morning. So read on for some of the things that make this market different from some of Melbourne’s other markets.

Esplanade Market, St Kilda

 Established in the year 1970, the St Kilda Esplanade Market was originally known as the Art Bank,  serving as a showcase venue for art and craft. The market is held every Sunday from 10 am onwards, and is one of the best places in Melbourne to source curios and souvenirs which are different from regular commercial establishments. Being purely an arts and craft market, you are bound to find interesting knick knacks as people showcase their super creative talent. Seeing all those wonderful stalls, I was quite amazed that there are such myriad ways of showcasing your talent to the world. Just goes to show that no idea is too big or too small. 

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Read on for the things that caught my eye at the Esplanade market. There were tons of delightful things but these were the ones I found the most unique. Head on over to the market in case you feel curious enough to discover the other quirky curios.

What I Discovered at The Esplanade Market:

I. Woodooldo

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Creative artist Imbi makes these cute and super quirky pieces from natural material like wood, gum nuts, and seed pods. She fashions these raw materials into cute little animals like owls, rats, or even little fairy huts, and mushroom homes.

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How cute are they? And in case you’re wondering how the heck do I pronounce the name of the shop, just wood will do real fast and you are there my friend. thatoldo too.

II. Jolly Wagtails

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Aah, the pets my dreams are made of.. Dogs. Whenever I come across anything pooch related and cute, I feel so happy. And the Jolly Wagtails (how adorable is that name) stall at the Esplanade market offers a myriad of all things nice, and all things bright for our pet pooches. Described as a Moroccan bazaar for dogs, the stall offers customised collars, pet coats, pet soaps, and the like. But what caught my eye was this colorful holdall that actually serves as a bed AND carry-all for your pet.

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Simply lay it down for your precious (and tiny) dog to lie down in, and when you want to stroll down the market, just pick ’em up. Brilliant. And so pretty!

III. The Timber Shack

Enlarged photo prints on recycled wooden frames. How ingenious is that. And environment friendly too. Plus looks quite vintage too. And that is all the rage nowadays.

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I want the one with the superheroes on them. How old am I!

IV. This yummy looking Banana Milkshake candle

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V. Anatolian food

Image Source: Kurbside Kravings Facebook Page
Image Source: Kurbside Kravings Facebook Page

Are you thinking what I was thinking? What is Anatolian food?? Well, I had no clue too. But there was a food truck there called Kurbside Kravings specialising in Anatolian food and I was curious. One look at the menu and I knew I wanted some. They were serving Anatolian street food with a twist, and the options were a good mix of lamb and seafood with the middle eastern type yogurt based sauces that I really love. I got me a grilled fish sandwich with tons of salad and a sauce that was very much like tsatziki, while Arjun tried a chicken and cheese burek from another stall. One bite of the sandwich and I was hooked. Anatolian street food has a new fan, me!

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VI. The Mug Men

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The market website says that these mugs are Lord Of The Rings inspired but you know what they made me think of? The little tea cup in Beauty and the Beast. I know I am definitely picking one of these up in my next saunter to the market.

VII. Flamin’ Signs and Boxes

I love wooden boxes. And especially wooden boxes with carvings. Reminds me of the stuff I used too buy with my mom in the markets of Srinagar, or the ones my aunt and cousins would buy for me from Lakkar Bazaar in Shimla.

But at the Esplanade market, I discovered a whole new type of carving on wooden boxes. Flamin’ carvings, made right there in front of you by Mick, based on a design you want or customised to any of the multiple stencils that Mick has to offer. The designs are carved on to the boxes and signs by using a hot wire, so we have a bit of the theatrics happening as designs are being made too. Quite unique, I must say, and definitely a good idea for a birthday or going away gift. Mental bookmark made.

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VIII. Flattened Glass Bottle Art as Cheese Boards

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I saw these flattened bottles way back in 2012, in a craft market at London, Camden if I remember correctly, and went crazy about them. Got them back for friends, got one back for my future house (unfortunately that broke :( ). However, at the Esplanade market, I saw them being used in a novel manner: as a cheese board.

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Looked gorgeous. My only concern was how functional were they really. While Arjun Singh was more curious about how they managed to remove the labels so neatly off the bottle and then adhere them back to the flattened bottle. (yeah, my husband has a thing for taking off bottle labels and pasting them all over the house. He was just trying ti get more professional about it!)

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So there you have it. My trip through one of Melbournes favorite crafts market, the Esplanade Market at St Kilda. If you liked what you saw (and read), and are curious for more, head on over there one of these Sundays.

Have any of you been to this market? What did you like the most? What all did you buy?

If you liked this post, please do let me know by leaving a comment below or sharing this on social media. I might be lazy but I do make it a point to acknowledge your appreciation.

I am  linking this post to the #TheWeeklyPostcard hosted by the lovely Lyn. This week she talks about beautiful Venice and you have to show her some love.

 

A Hole In My Shoe

Markets of Melbourne: Night Noodle Market

Hello Hello, and welcome again to my monthly feature on the Markets of Melbourne

Last month, I took you sauntering around Prahran Market, which is mostly a fresh produce market.

This month, I am rewinding the clock back a little and taking you along to this wonderful market that I visited last year, when the days were long and the residents of Melbourne didn’t lock themselves indoors post 6 PM. A fairly new market on the Melbourne scene, launched in 2013, this is an annual event market called the

Night Noodle Market

When I first heard about it, I honestly thought that there are going to be gazillions of noodle vendors on display, and it is going to be ramen heaven. However, this market is basically a giant picnic venue for the entire city to enjoy in. When I visited, in November 2014, it was set on the banks of the Yarra river and the bright summer days were just the perfect setting.

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I am so looking forward to the 2015 edition, but it’s a long wait. Until then, you can relive the experience via my post. And hopefully, line up a Night Noodle Market must-do list

Things I Discovered at the Night Noodle Market

1. Mr Miyagi’s karate-chopped Fried Chicken

Haha, just kidding. Mr Miyagi has not abandoned the Karate Kid to find his life’s calling in fried chicken. A popular Japanese food restaurant in Prahran, Mr Miyagi’s specialty is supposed to be their succulent fried chicken. Finally got to try it at the market, and boy was it juicy and just the right amount of spicy. Plus you get a free life lesson with your purchase. Hai-Yaa!

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2. Ramen Burger

Ramen noodles can be used for making an almost cold-sticky-Maggi-like burger bun. Innovative, hell yes. Easily eat-able, hell no. Just eat it as 3 separate pieces in a dish; bun, burger, bun

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3. Not just Noodles

There were like 3 noodle stalls and tons of eateries from all across Melbourne CBD. And not just oriental, but Indian, Sri Lankan, Australian etc. So if you aren’t a noodle fan (sacrilege!), fret not, there are tons of other options

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4.  Melbourne-ians love their food

.. and long summer days. Check out the crowds. If you ever wondered where are all the people in Australia, I found them for you. They are all at the Night Noodle Market. (or any such market, haha)

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5. Some of us come to these markets to eat, drink, and be merry. While some of us just want to get a good tan

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Thanks a ton for reading. Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour. Now I am off to find the next market to explore for you guys. And myself, of course.

Markets of Melbourne: Prahran Market

You know that feeling of a kid in a candy store? Well I feel something super akin to that when I visit farmers markets. It’s like I go crazy with the wondrous possibilities of the tons of fresh produce I can buy. And not just vegetables and fruits, there is an abundance of other stuff too; olives, cheese, dips, spices, sweets, meat, poultry, seafood, yada yada yada.

And one of the best things about Melbourne? It has an endless variety of markets in and around town. There are the old behemoths like the Queen Victoria Market and the Prahran Market, and then there are the seasonal ones like South Melbourne Night Market which happens during the bright and endless summer nights here. Every town that I have visited in and around Victoria has a special Farmers Market where everyone gets together to enjoy the sun, each other’s company, and take back with them a variety of produce and goods.

It is this variety of markets plus my over enthusiasm for them that has made me want to start a monthly series Markets of Melbourne. It is my aim to cover as many of these markets as I can and share them with you too. Arjun Singh thinks it’s just another excuse to visit these markets, and well, if it means fun for me, and content for you, who’s to complain.

So, presenting the first post in my Markets of Melbourne series, in which I am going to introduce you to

Prahran Market

A lot of people, including me, might have believed the Queen Victoria market to be the oldest market in Melbourne. But na-uh, I present to you Prahran market, which has been an ever-present steadfast favourite in the South Yarra area since 1864.

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Prahran Market: Established 1864

 

Much like a typical spacious farmers market, Prahran market has it all. The fresh produce stalls selling countless varieties of vegetables and fruits, the meat, seafood, and poultry stores and delis, the million-varieties-of-olives stores, the fresh pasta shop, and the ever-present German sausage cafe. The unique thing about Prahran market is that it has a dedicated market square that allows for visitors to eat, catch up some live entertainment, have a coffee, and generally relax around the venue.

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Live band at the market square

 

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Pop up food store; March treats were Malaysian and Argentinian, let’s see what April brings

 

7 Things I Discovered at the Prahran Market:

  1. Chicken Gozleme: To the Indian in me, it was like eating a crispy chicken paratha, but to the finer tuned palates, Gozleme is a Turkish treat, made with pastry dough brushed with egg and butter, stuffed with a variety of toppings, and cooked on a griddle. The classic fillings are spinach and feta (*sigh*), and minced lamb/beef/chicken. I opted for the minced chicken stuffing, and it was satisfyingly yummy.PMwhatiate.jpg
  2. Tequila and Lime Stuffed Olives: How good does that combination sound? If you are thinking that great, let me get a pack for those and my Friday night high is taken care of, let me stop you right now. These olives are more suited to the snacker who likes a little bit of tang combined with the sour-brine soaked olives.
  3. The Essential Ingredient: A treasure trove of cooking ingredients, accessories, and equipment. That’s what this store was for me. I spent a good half an hour here just browsing around the endless aisles of seasonings, bamboo chopping boards, sauces, pastas, the cooking pots and pans, serving dishes *sigh the serving dishes*, the knives, etc etc. There were like 20 types of Balsamic vinegar available in house. I know where to stop when I need any exotic Champagne Vinegar, in case I ever do. (doesn’t hurt to know my options)
  4. Chocolate Gnocchi: I discovered it exists at The Fresh Pasta Shop and it is on my HAVE TO HAVE eat-list for the year
  5. Prahran is a relatively expensive farmers market, if you compare it to Queen Victoria market, and even your local grocery stores. Could be the area it is located in, the South Yarra area is definitely not known for affordability, or could also be that unlike the QV market, there are only a limited, small group of suppliers (9-10). Just guessing.
  6. Closing Hour Deals: However, even though it is an expensive market (I bought a small box of olives and a small box of feta cheese for 20 dollars!), if you stick around until closing hours, you might just end up going home with a bargain or more. The sellers just want to get rid of their produce for the day so they start offering you 1 dollar deals. Whatever is on certain tables, goes off for 1 dollar. I actually got a box of fresh Zucchini flowers (6 to a box) for a dollar and a kg of strawberries for 5 dollars. Yayie! (now if I just knew what to do with them)
  7. I am not really adventurous: Okay, so it’s not a discovery and alright, so there is nothing super adventurous about picking up a camera and deciding to photograph a market to add to your blog. However, I think I just get a bit conscious and shy. It took me a while to get the courage to ask a few of the shopkeepers if they were okay with me taking a few pictures, and they actually didn’t mind at all.  So I got a few normal shots of the market just to give you an essence of the market. Hopefully, with each post I get a bit more confident. (and click better shots!)

 

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I would buy that cheese only to get the tin
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The smell of the coffee beans fills up your senses
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Nuts, nuts, more nuts, and spices
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Prosciutto and pasta; Yumza heaven
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Rows of fresh grapes
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Fresh fruits
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Tomayto, Tomahto; it’s all the same
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Salad leaves: Oz staple

 

Hope you enjoyed this post on Prahran market. If there’s something that you would like to know more about this, or other markets in and around Melbourne, do drop me a note below.

Thanks for reading :)