Rush hour: Crowds at last year's opening night. Photo: Wolter Peeters
The pungent smells of herbaceous curry, fish sauce and pork broth will be wafting down the city streets from Wednesday evening as the annual Night Noodle Markets prepare to set taste buds on fire.
Chefs will be stirring giant pots of steaming broth, folding Peking duck pancakes, and tossing noodles in flaming woks in 40 hawker-style stalls dotted around Hyde Park.
Organisers are expecting 200,000 people to descend on the park over 16 nights for the signature event of Good Food Month, which has now expanded to Saturdays.
Specialty: Zilver head chef Cheung Ling prepares Peking duck pancakes. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
The markets were fashioned on the hawker-style food hubs that featured in many Asian cities, said festival director Joanna Savill.
''At heart, Sydney is a very Asian city and a lover of great Asian street food,'' she said.
Traditional favourites from the classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup to lemongrass pork rolls will be served but look out for the modern take on the Japanese ramen.
David Yip, owner of On Ramen in Haymarket, experimented for 2½ weeks to achieve the ramen burger. It's made up of two compressed crisp noodle discs, in lieu of bread buns, a meat patty and a leaf of iceberg lettuce.
The original was invented by chef Keizo Shimamoto in August, and sparked a craze across the US that month. Mr Yip will flog the original beef ramen burger and a miso-tofu vegetarian burger for the most adventurous of foodies.
On the more traditional front is the Peking duck pancake, which will be prepared at the Zilver restaurant stand. Head chef Cheung Ling will carve up a glistening duck on site, and insert the slices of meat into pancakes with onion and hoisin sauce.
Peking duck is the most popular dish at the restaurant, marketing manager Zoe Hui said. It goes through 60 ducks a week.
''The dish has a 600-year-old history and was served to emperors,'' she said. ''We ordered 30 extra ducks for each week of the markets.''
Restaurant heavyweight Din Tai Fung will return with a menu featuring Taiwanese dumplings. The two-hatted Longrain will deliver Thai treats. Smaller players but enduring favourites Chat Thai and Mamak have secured their grassy patch.
An array of delectable Thai and Chinese desserts will also be available.
Savill recommends people start their noodle market experience early - at about 5pm - or later at 8pm to avoid rush-hour queues. Upon arrival ''find a spot, then go out and divide and conquer,'' she said. ''And then share. Do the Asian thing.''
The markets are open every night except Sundays until October 26.