For the last two Saturdays running (and many previous), I have woken with anticipation, quickly brushed my teeth and hopped into the car to drive to Eveleigh Markets in the inner-city suburb of Redfern in Sydney. While the thought of organic produce, fresh bread and hot coffee is my main reason for the early start, a close second is the nightmare that is trying to find a car park.
Once you have somehow managed to squeeze your car into an undersized spot without the use of a shoehorn, the morning takes on a more relaxed vibe as you follow your nose and head towards the smell of coffee at Eveleigh Markets / Carriageworks. My morning meander around the market usually takes on a similar pattern from week to week. First, I line up at one of the few coffee stands and order my first heart starter, a double-shot flat white. As I sip and wait for the caffeine to take hold, I slowly shuffle up one side of the market looking at the produce, allowing the creative juices to flow while I plan out a meal for that evening.
Once the caffeine kicks in, my mind is made up and I purchase some Dutch carrots here, some fresh Pappardelle pasta there and a sourdough baguette for good measure. With all the colours, smells and freshness assaulting my senses, I feel the need to warm the belly with my one true love: dumplings. (See my previous post on The Wonton Production Line)
The dumplings at Eveleigh Markets are not just any old dumplings… They are made and served fresh every single week by the one and only Kylie Kwong (of Billy Kwong and more recently, Masterchef fame). Upon ordering, the dumplings are pulled from what must be the world’s biggest steamer, added to a small cup and then doused in a concoction of soy, vinegar, ginger and fresh chilli – the perfect thing to warm you up on a winter morning. If you are feeling particularly hungry or have a friend to share with, I recommend the fresh pancake; a mountain of fresh herbs and pickled vegetables on a fresh pancake and fried egg, to accompany your order of dumplings.
By the time I have finished eating, the urge to indulge in another coffee consumes me. With flat white number two in hand, it is now time to explore the remaining stalls, try the multitude of free samples and buy those things that catch your eye. Whether it be the Alpaca Sausages, the stall dedicated to Gluten-Free baked goods, the small servings of Vietnamese Pho, bottled Truffle oil or the fresh organic Falafels, there is something for everyone at Eveleigh Markets. My only advice is to get there early to not only secure a park but also to beat the dumpling rush as they sell out every week.
Welcome, one and all!