Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Before Sunset

There are snippets of time and space which present as opportunities.  Amongst the fugue state of chronic pain, the limited motion, the scrabbling of the mind to be anywhere but here, one turns to our friend the Internet for comfort and distraction.  That's why I read newspapers on my HTC smartphone at 4am, teeth gritted, waiting for the effects of ibuprofen/paracetemol/whatever works to take over the body, allowing possible sleep.

So, those opportunities I mentioned... while looking through The Age, this caught my eye.  Summer is here and the Suzuki Night Market is back.

This means Good Food In The One Place And Lots Of It.

At this stage I had been shut in for about 10 days, without the ability to shop for and make meals.  Sure, The Boyfriend has abilities.  He is capable of a making perfectly nice asparagus and tomato omelette.  His pancakes are divine.  However, his talents are no match for The Madness.

The Madness is probably best explained by Gabrielle Hamilton in her book Blood, Bones and Butter.  Chapter 19, specifically.  I won't recount much here as you should just buy the book, it's very, very good.  But the main thing is this - hungry leads to cranky which leads to crazy, compounded horrifically by a hardwired hunger for specifics. 
To quote Hamilton -  "I do not get vague or generic appetite, which will be satisfied, more or less, with just anything that is handy.  I will skip a meal rather than eat the corner joint's interpretation of eggs Benedict with spinach, button mushrooms, and 'blood orange' hollandaise sauce.  I don't eat that kind of shit."

If you've got that plus a big handful of 'bitch-be-crazy' when blood sugar levels drop - well, let's just say I'm surprised that The Boyfriend is still my boyfriend.

I mean, last night I was saying shit like, "I want something dark... savoury, but not chicken or a vegetable.  Like the crispy edge of a seared steak, but this some lightness too.  Know what I mean?"

Seriously?  Seriously.

This isn't a problem when I'm in charge of the kitchen, which is nearly always. But with current circumstances being a tad disabling, the most I've done is put the kettle on.

So damn the dull ache creeping from my lower back, snaking its way down my hip and thigh.  Damn the fogginess and hint of nausea brought on by medication.   I was Going Out To Eat at the Suzuki Night Market.

Little pig, little pig, let me in.  The wolf has arrived.

Fortune favours the famished (in this instance at least) and I found parking easily.   After rendezvousing with The Boyfriend, we headed for the food, set up in hawker-stall fashion at the centre of the market.  Long collapsible wooden tables and chairs were set up everywhere, giving the whole place a real street-eats vibe.

First stop - takoyaki.  Freshly made, crispy-on-the-outside, searing hot takoyaki may not seem like a big deal, but it is because you often unknowingly get served the frozen stuff.  Making takoyaki is a deceptively simple art, but it does require fresh batter, shrewd timing and lightning fast hands in order to flip 16 or more perfectly spherical balls of batter using only a skewer.  If that discount sushi near your work starts to offer takoyaki as well, chances are it's probably this stuff.

And what you really want is this:

Luckily, the takoyaki stand at the market does the real deal, which gives you a damn tasty plate of this:


They also do a prawn variation, which I've yet to try.  They also make traditional taiyaki - a fish-shaped cake with sweet red bean filling.  Another item to come back for.

Then it was onto the sangria and paella.  They were ingested with much gusto and deemed Rather Excellent.



The sangria is particularly well suited for those who don't like their alcoholic drinks tasting too alcoholic.  It's verrryy easy to have more than one cup!  The paella was loaded with saffron and there is a good rice-to-bits ratio.  We had the seafood one and there was plenty of it. 

A great appeal of having paella at the market is that that you don't have to make it yourself.  Sure, I understand that paella making is well-honed tradition and quite a special and manly thing to do.  However, I imagine that paella is one of those things that if you screw it up, you'll hate yourself for days afterwards.  If you are merely mortal and don't want to bugger up A Very Special Dish, then paella is a lovely treat to have when dining out.
We also shared some lovely grilled chicken on a stick with peanut sauce.  It was advertised as satay, but it was not satay.  I shall not go into what is satay vs. what is not satay, because this post is already far too long.  Nevertheless, the meat was very tender and juicy and the sauce quite light and a little bit sweet.  A very nice grilled-chicken-on-a-stick-with-peanut-sauce.

The Boyfriend, The Madness and I came away with full bellies and good cheer.  The hunger beast was slayed and put (temporarily) to rest.

The Suzuki Night Market at the Queen Victoria Market
On every Wednesday from 16 November 2011 to 29 February 2012 (excluding 28 December 2011).

Oh look, they also do that Tweeting thingy.

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