ACT News

Crowds down for Night Noodle Markets 2016

Crowds were slightly down for Canberra's much-anticipated Enlighten Night Noodle Markets this year, but it came with less queues, more space and double the food.

Just fewer than 120,000 people flocked down to Reconciliation Place from March 4-13, which was about 30,000 less than in 2015.

Rarnie Knight,15 and Darcie Matthews,15 both of Eden enjoyed their first experience at Night Noodle Markets.
Rarnie Knight,15 and Darcie Matthews,15 both of Eden enjoyed their first experience at Night Noodle Markets. Photo: Melissa Adams

Fairfax Events' head of food James Laing attributed the drop in numbers this year to last year's crowdedness. 

"A lot of people last year came in and took one look at how busy it was and said 'no thanks' and left," he said.

"So I find that once you have a busy year you have a little bit of a drop off, but when people realise they'll have a more pleasant experience this time they come back."

He said feedback from visitors was positive, after some noodle-lovers at last year's event complained about lengthy queues.

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And with double the amount of stores this year, market-goers had plenty more Asian and non-Asian dishes to indulge in.

Bao Stop's peking duck fries, Hoy Pinoy's skewers and Black Star Pastry's watermelon cake were all crowd favourites, according to Mr Laing.

"The interesting thing for local businesses is whether they get flow on business post-event," he said.

"So that's what you kind of hope for, is that people get to try the food and then go to the restaurants once the event has wrapped up."

As for improvements for next year, Mr laing admitted the event would need more shaded seating areas.

Last week, The Canberra Times reported on a number of food poisoning cases possibly linked to the Enlighten Night Noodle Markets.

Mr Laing said it would remain unclear if the food poisoning was caused by the stall until the test results come back on Tuesday.

"These things are always unfortunate and we were straight onto ACT health," he said.

"But we will soon find out exactly what the cause was."