The popular Night Noodle Markets are coming to the capital. Photo: Supplied
It's one of Australia's most popular food events - and now the Fairfax Night Noodle Markets are coming to Canberra for the first time in March 2015.
And the street-food markets will be held during the Enlighten festival, bringing crowds, atmosphere and plenty of food and drink to the lawns of King Edward Terrace, surrounded by colourfully lit national institutions and galleries.
The event has got the thumbs up from restaurateur and chef Mork Ratanakosol, who owns upmarket Thai eatery Morks on the Kingston Foreshore.
Excited: Mork Ratanakosol of Morks restaurant in Kingston. Photo: Jay Cronan
Ratanakosol said he would be very interested in participating in the markets come March. "It's really big, and very exciting news," he said.
The Night Noodle Markets, which are part of Fairfax's Good Food Month festivals, drew more than 800,000 visitors in Sydney and Melbourne in the past 12 months.
In Sydney last month, more than 550,000 people thronged Hyde Park, which was filled with glowing lanterns and stalls selling everything from ramen and dumplings to artisanal ice-cream from Gelato Messina.
When the markets came to Melbourne's Alexandra Gardens for the first time in 2013, twice as many people as expected flooded the venue and the crowd totalled 283,000 over 13 days.
A parade of the world's biggest celebrity chefs have also taken part in the markets and the broader Good Food Month festival which is also run by Fairfax.
The new Enlighten Night Noodle Markets will be held over 10 nights from February 27 to March 8 and the ACT Government hopes many of Enlighten's 150,000 fans will make a night of it, sampling wok-fried noodles, duck buns and other dishes from fine dining restaurants to casual eateries.
The markets will act as a taster event next year and in 2016, The Canberra Times Good Food Month will shift from October to March to run alongside Enlighten.
ACT Tourism Minister Andrew Barr said the markets were a new concept for Canberra and would give visitors a unique cultural experience during the festival.
"The market is another great addition to the ACT's event calendar over the coming months, giving Canberran's the opportunity to enjoy our city whilst attracting interstate visitors to the nation's capital."
In a statement, Fairfax Media's head of marketing services Andrew McEvoy said he was delighted to bring the Night Noodle Markets to Enlighten and said the event would champion Canberra's regional produce.
"Set amongst our national institutions, the Night Noodle Markets are the perfect showcase of Canberra's diverse food culture, which brings produce from around the region to create dishes from across the globe," McEvoy said.
Good Food Month national director Joanna Savill said the markets were a good way for some of Canberra's best Asian inspired restaurants to share their dishes with a broader audience.
"And of course the street food aspect is important too - after all, it's an outdoor event with a strong emphasis on grazing and dishes that are easy to eat. The additional excitement comes from the lights, music, installations and roving entertainment that really makes the Noodle Markets the place to be for everyone from families with kids to friends getting together after work," she said.