Disclosure: I attended the previous courtesy of Melbourne Racing Club
March is almost upon us – and you know what that means – it’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival time! It officially kicks off on 27 February, and one of the first events happening is the Flavours of Asia Market Festival at the Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day at the Caulfield Racecourse.
On Thursday I attended a preview of the event. On the actual day, vendors will include Hammer & Tong, Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao, Overdosa, Lankan Tucker, Uncle, Gogi and Eat the Chicken (menu at the bottom of this post) and a few of them were at the preview event to show us a sample of their food.
To start the evening we sat outside overlooking over the racecourse, with canapes and drinks. The feature cocktail for the festival is the Market Mule with a Kick – a fusion of vodka, dry ginger ale, lime and chilli.
I presume the kick refers to the chilli and if so, yes, add chilli to everything, I highly approve.
Foodwise we kicked off with Hoy Pinoy’s Lechon Kwali – slow braised & crispy pork belly with buco, chilli and yemma sauce. The pork belly had been braised until tender and then fried. It was pretty damn delicious.
Hammer & Tong’s Red and Black rice salad was something a bit lighter after the pork belly, with lots of different textures in the cup.
Wonderbao’s steamed pork bao had a good ratio of filling and soft bun.
After the first round of food, Hoy Pinoy’s bbq coals were hot and ready to cook some skewers. They served two kinds Inihaw na Baboy – pork belly skewers in banana ketchup glaze, and Inihaw na Manok – chicken skewers in traditional soy glaze.
Oh man. The chicken ones were good, but THE PORK BELLY. YES. They were similar to Chinese char sui, except with the added bonus of being pork belly.
After that we moved inside, where we had more Wonderbao: tofu bao with pickled carrots and daikon.
And braised pork belly gua bao with pickled mustard, coriander and crushed peanuts.
Looking at these photos and the menu, I notice that I put the incorrect pickles in each bao. Whooooops. Well, they were still tasted good, even with rebellious pickles.
The last savoury item was Hammer & Tong’s soft shell crab burgers – deep fried soft shell crab with coleslaw in a brioche bun. It was a shame that this was the last item because I didn’t have the space to fully appreciate its brilliance.
For dessert, there was Wonderbao’s ice-cream gua bao. The bao had been deep fried, filled with ice cream (sesame?) and drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of nuts. Wow this was great, the deep fried bread was like a sweet Chinese donut and underneath the exterior there was still that bao softness. I liked it a lot.
So it seems like it’s going to be a fun and tasty event, judging by what we previewed. A sample menu and more details are below:
Hammer & Tong
Serving: Soft shell crab burger
Serving: Inihaw Na Manok (BBQ Chicken); Inihaw Na Baboy (BBQ pork belly)
Price: 1 skewer $6, 2 skewers $10
Serving: Pork & Chives Bao, Choi (veggie) Bao, Pork belly Gua Bao, Fried Chicken Gua Bao
Price: $5 – $7
Uncle St Kilda
Serving: Chicken Banh Mi, Tofu Banh Mi, Prawn & Chicken slaw, Sweet Potato fries
Price: $8 – $12
Serving: Classic potato malasa dosa, Spicy tamarind pumpkin dosa, Lentil peppers, The Bombay burger
Price: $6 – $10
Serving: Crispy bites w/coconut sambal, Beef roti rolls, Sri Lankan devilled sausage
Price: $5 – $8.50
Eat the Chicken
Serving: Pad Thai (option of prawns, crispy chicken or vego), Fish cakes, Bangkok bites, Bangkok platter
Price: $5 – $12
What: Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day – Flavours of Asia Market Festival
When: Saturday 28 February 2015
Time: Gates open 11am – 6pm
Where: Caulfield Racecourse, Gate 22, Station Street, Caulfield, VIC, 3145
Cost: Adult $20, includes admission to the racecourse and the Flavours of Asia Market Festival. Tickets available via mrc.racing.com