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There’s something about food festivals that really intrigue me – maybe it’s the different smells that linger in the air, the different acts of entertainment and of course the vast array of food on offer; it’s these little things that all add up to the making of a good experience. The Lunar Markets at Pyrmont this year is no exception. Held between January 27 – February 5, this particular festival put out all stops to make this a memorable event. From the dragon dancers, the Chinese decorations, to the diverse lineup of Asian cuisine, it exuberated so much energy that it could immediately transport you to Asia. Now I know that with so many options available, choosing what to try may become a #firstworldproblem for most of us. Not to fear though because we have found 5 items (in no particular order) that you MUST try at this years Lunar Markets, and with the help from Menulog ordering at the markets has never been easier. 

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‘Hoisin Goin Bro?’ Burger – Chur Burger

Now, when has a burger from one of the OG burger juggernauts of Sydney ever been bad? Fusing both Western and Asian flavours together, this burger consisted of a grilled beef patty, hoisin bbq sauce, cheese, 5 spiced glazed bacon, spicy pickles, lettuce and aioli. Everything in this burger just worked and melded together so harmoniously. From the hoisin bbq sauce that was both sweet yet robust, it matched well with the 5 spiced glazed bacon that added not only texture but a certain complexity of flavours that highlighted the spice from the pickles, which was all mellowed down with the creaminess of the aioli.

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BBQ Chicken Skewers – Hoy Pinoy

As a Filipino, of course I have to support the only restaurant that is putting our nation’s cuisine on the map 😂 😂 😂. What I love about these skewers is how it instantly takes me back to my childhood. This was a staple at all family parties and would be the first thing that you would smell as you walked into the door. The Inihaw na manok or BBQ Chicken Skewers at Hoy Pinoy are pretty reminiscent of what I’m used to and if this is your first time trying Filipino cuisine, these skewers are a great way to get a little taste of what it has to offer. With strong soy and subtle sweet notes, what I find truly incredible is the intensity of the smokiness from the charcoal that will have you craving for more. I would suggest getting in quick to try these because Hoy Pinoy is notorious for the long lines and crowds.

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Prawn Dumplings – Gingergirl

Bringing The Star’s new pop-up outdoors, Gingergirl is run by The Star’s signature chef – Teage Ezard of BLACK Bar & Grill. The Prawn Dumplings here were quite different to what I have previously had, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The prawn filling really celebrated the natural sweetness and incredibly juiciness of the prawn while the ginger flavour was not too overpowering for my liking. The dipping sauce worked so well in adding extra strong notes of flavour and rather heightened the natural flavours of the filling.

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Asian Mushroom Mix – Happy as Larry

Taking another fusion turn to the mix, The Asian Mushroom Mix pizza from Happy as Larry was also quite a surprise. Consisting of Foir di late, smoked scarmozza, oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, shitaki mushrooms, button mushrooms, fresh herbs and truffle oil; this pizza showcased the versatility of mushrooms and really put it front and centre. With the assortment of mushrooms evenly dispersed on the top of the pizza, every slice had a little bit of each mushroom. The mushrooms were so filling and still had a slight texture to them, which contrasted the smoothness of the melted cheese. The pizza base itself was also a winner in my books with a crunchy exterior and a firm bite.

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Vietnamese Pho-Guette – Luke Nguyen Street Food

I love Pho and I love Banh Mi (I live near Cabramatta like c’mon), put them together? Of course it would work! Add Luke Nguyen to that equation and you are in for a culinary treat. With braised Pho wagyu beef brisket, Asian basil, coriander, pickled bean sprouts, spring onion, chili and hoisin sauce all encased in a Vietnamese baguette, this was definitely one of the upscale Banh Mi’s I have ever had. The braised wagyu was the hero in this dish, being ridiculously tender with robust soy notes. Despite holding it’s shape once you took a bite it instantly melted in your mouth. What I love about Banh Mi’s is how balanced it is; the spring onion and coriander brings the freshness, while the bean sprouts were the crunch element and the chili adds the heat. All these ingredients layered on top of each other equate to a harmonious bread roll that you just can’t say no to.

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Overall, though you may go for just the food (confession, I did) the vibe of the festival mixed with great weather really sets the tone for a great night out. So grab your family and friends to sit back, relax and experience an atmosphere like no other.

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The SMH Lunar Markets will be held at Pyrmont Bay Park from January 27 until February 5. For more information, go to lunarmarkets.com.au.

I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Menulog

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Justin believes that some of the best places you’ll ever try are the ones you don’t even know you’re looking for. Though an admirer of good music and film, Justin’s main aspirations lie within his passion for food. With an obsession over doughnuts, he devotes his spare time eating his way through Sydney’s latest food trends. In the rare case that he is not thinking about food, you’ll find him out and about - photographing whatever captures his attention. Never turning down an opportunity to try new things, Justin is always on the search for a new food taste sensation.

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