After a number of unsuccessful attempts to acquire an iPad 2 on launch day last Friday – I was clearly delusional when I thought there was any chance after getting out of work after 5pm – I decided to meet up with Juji and Jay at the final Twilight Hawker Market, in Forrest Place in Perth city. If you haven’t heard about the market, it was on every Friday in March from 5pm to 8pm as part of Eat Drink Perth, Perth’s food and wine month. See the links at the end of this post for more info and Twilight Hawker Market write-ups.
After narrowly missing out on a full serving of paella at the first Twilight Hawker Market, and then missing the second and third markets due to work, I wasn’t going to miss out for a fourth time! Missing out on an iPad 2 and paella on the same day would’ve been too much to bear!
I immediately joined the queue at the paella stall and walked away a short time later with two piping hot serves of freshly cooked paella, absolutely chockers with seafood. I sat on the steps at the front of the GPO building and waited for Juji and Jay. The paella was delicious but extremely messy to eat – a fork was supplied but I also needed my fingers to peel the huge king prawns and extract crabmeat from the shells – eating the rice around the seafood obstacles all created an interesting eating challenge. To my delight, I discovered two pieces of chicken buried in the rice too – more finger-sucking goodness. I’d have welcomed a Twilight Hawker Market bib or poncho and one of my mum’s recycled junk mail bone containers.
Juji turned up bearing pork belly sliders (a version of kong bak pau – Chinese braised pork sandwiches) from Red Hot Spatula. “The nice lady at the stall recognised me from last week!” she exclaimed excitedly. I picked the fresh coriander off my bun (we’ve discussed my dislike for coriander (cilantro) previously), took a bite, and wow! I could see why Juji had fallen in love with these the week before. The soft, sweet chewy pillowy bun, tender braised belly pork, fresh fragrant greens… these would be perfect for breakfast or anytime snacks.
Jay joined us for a mouthful or two of paella on the GPO steps before braving the hungry hoards pick up our empanada order from Marcelita’s Empanadas. Juji grabbed herself a slushie from Boccelli’s. Me, I kept working steadily through my paella.
The empanadas were as delicious as the first time. I’d read on Twitter that Matt and Marcela cooked the meat using a pressure cooker for the first time (according to Matt: “6kg of pork shoulder reduced to quivering soft shreds in about half the time it took in the oven” – how awesome does that sound? I’ve been reading that description over and over again). The guacamole was fresh and creamy, made with lots of lime. I ate my pork empanada with lashings of guacamole, then devoured my beef empanada dipped in romesco sauce.
My savoury stomach was pretty full by now, but my sweet stomach was demanding attention. I knew I couldn’t go home without trying Brazas Churros. While Jay and Juji waited in the churros queue (thank you, guys!), I took the escalator to the upper level of Forrest Place to take some photographs of the market from above. On my way to the escalator I stopped to take a photo of the accordion player who gave me a wink and a smile without dropping a note.
It was evident that the market organisers had listened to the feedback from market-goers in the previous weeks. The market was much more spread out than the first one we attended, where clearly the organisers/stall holders had not expected such a tremendous turnout. Although it was still crowded with long lines at most of the stalls, traffic did flow noticeably better with this layout. Stall holders also adapted their operations in response to the feedback: I noticed that the paella stall had multiple giant paella pans on the go and many of the stalls had more helpers and cooks so they could prepare and serve up their food much faster to meet the demand.
Next to the bustling food stalls, Forrest Place was peppered with tables and chairs, a much smarter use of the open space in front of the GPO building. Families and friends were having a great Friday night out in the city. The atmosphere was vibrant, with street performers and the wonderful sights and smells from the busy street food stalls.
I still reckon there could be even more tables. The steps in front of the GPO and all around Forrest Place were swarming with diners too.
These seagulls watched the activity from a safe distance. Maybe it was just a bit too crowded for their liking.
I went back downstairs and rejoined Juji and Jay, just in time to watch the batter being formed into the distinctive long ridged doughnuts.
The freshly deep-fried golden churros are rolled in cinnamon sugar.
A sign at Braza Churros explains: “Churros are doughnuts which originated in Spain, but it was the Brazilians who have improved the way to make them by adding a delicious yummy filling. The filling can be Doce de Leite (Caramel) or Brigadeiro (Chocolate).”
My mouth watered in anticipation as I watched our churros being filled. Juji chose caramel, I chose chocolate.
We ate our churros as we walked to the bus stop. They were fantastic! A lot thicker though not as crisp as Chocolateria San Churro, but really tasty! Beware – the caramel and chocolate inside the churros is like sweet molten lava. Whatever you do, don’t tip your churro as the hot liquid filling will run straight out! And be careful not to burn your mouth like I did…repeatedly! We swapped churros for a while and then swapped back again (that’s what sisters are for, right?). They were both good, but I liked the chocolate-filled one better.
Filled churros vs non-filled churros: which do you prefer? Personally, I’m not fussed as long as the non-filled comes with chocolate or caramel for dipping.
Find out where Braza Churros will be next at their website: www.brazachurros.com.au They don’t just do markets; they do events like school fetes and birthdays. Imagine having fresh hot caramel or chocolate filled churros at your birthday party!
Show your support for a regular twilight hawker market in Perth
I said in my first post about the Twilight Hawker Market that Perth appears to have a voracious appetite for a hawker-style food market.
After this fourth market, supposed to be the last one, I invited my readers to express their support for the Twilight Hawker Market to become a regular feature in the City of Perth. See the comments (and great suggestions for further improvement) below from my Facebook page:
From what I’ve heard, there is a possibility the Twilight Hawker Market will be extended beyond Eat Drink Perth, which is really good news. I reckon any encouragement from us will help make it a reality, so let’s show the event organiser and the City of Perth how much support there is out there for a more regular Twilight Hawker Market! If you’ve already expressed your support, good on you!
Feel free to add your comment at my Facebook page too, or leave a comment here at the blog.
The Twilight Hawker Market was a highlight of the City of Perth’s Eat Drink Perth festival. The market was on every Friday in March, 5pm to 8pm in Forrest Place (at the intersection with Murray Street mall) in Perth city. See my write-up of the first Twilight Hawker Market. Other food bloggers’ posts about the market:
Eat Drink Perth ran throughout March.