London Street Foodie On Tour: Melbourne street food part 1
“Oh you MUST go,” people kept saying about the South Melbourne night market. “It’s wonderful… there is sooo much food there,” they drooled, saliva almost falling out of their gobs onto the floor.
The night I went it was cold and blustery and not at all the kind of evening you would want to spend outside; after a long day of city sightseeing, really I’d have been happy sitting under a duvet with a hot soup – but I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to finding street food. Hungry for something warming and different from the usual fare, I bypassed the man making bretzels (a kind of giant pretzel rolled in icing sugar and dipped in an assortment of chocolate or sweet pieces), breathed in the cloying but delicious smell of crepes being made on a hot plate by a French man, wiggled about to the beats of a cheerful electro swing band, and finally found what I was looking for: piping hot gozleme.
Now for anyone that doesn’t know, this is a Turkish style of thin pastry that sandwiches a number of different fillings from feta cheese and spinach to spiced chicken, mushroom/onion/capsicum/dill and Turkish spiced mince meat. The dough, often made with plain and whole meal flour, is rolled and rolled and rolled out until paper thin, the fillings are balanced on top, the flour is lightly battered with butter and eggs, and the whole pocket is put onto a hot grill.
Here I met Taylan Aksoy, young, plucky and helpful and with big ambitions for Turkish food in this city, who runs the place with his father and has plans to open a gozleme-only shop in Melbourne’s CBD next year. Like many of the restaurants along this stretch of the market, he had set up a little street food stall selling a smaller version of the menu offered opposite. The ladies I found beamed at me as I chatted to them about the business. One, a very smiley person, was responsible for rolling little mounds of dough out onto a floury surface and didn’t seem to speak any English; the younger, shiny-cheeked lady was Taylan’s mother and she was helping him out. It looked like hard work.
For $10 AUD I had a giant board of these little flat pillows of pastry stuffed with mince meat, garlic, onions, paprika and and cumin. Sitting alone on that particular evening, amongst people also stuffing their faces, I sat there scooping it up in my hands and licking the oil off my fingers. It was comfort food for someone out of their comfort zone.
Stuffed, I left the warmth of the gozleme shack and its heated seating area and headed off home to find my radiator.
Next: I try out more Melbourne street food at the Queen Victoria food market.
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