Friday, 3 August 2012

Eating Veg at The West End Markets

Whether you're a local, or just visiting Brisbane, you're no doubt presented with a great dilemma come the weekend: to go to the markets or to not go? And if to go, then to which one(s)?

We're a little spoiled for choice in Brisbane, but, for us, the choice is almost always The West End markets. Partly because we're creatures of habit, but also because of the delicious food. Considering markets are usually a juxtaposition of cholestafest with "farm-fresh!" fruit and veg, there are a surprising number of options for eating vegan (and no, that doesn't mean buying a bag of (albeit delicious) apples).

The markets are on Saturday mornings from 7 (perhaps even earlier? do such times exist?) until around midday (but I've been informed that they run as late as 3pm, when people start running out of things to sell).

Is it a park? A protest? No, it's the West End Markets!

If you hate markets, worry not! We usually walk around the outside then break through the stands, rush into the crowd, grab our food, then run back to safety. But if it's your first time, get your brave pants on and battle the crowd, because everyone else has to. Kind of.

Just one important note: almost everyone is cash-only. Even though there's an ATM there, it only had a dial-up connection, only gives 20s, and there's always a huge line (but it's always there if you're desperate!), so come prepared with cash (there are ATMs all along Boundary Street if you forget until you're nearly at the markets).

So get on your gumboots (don't ask me why...), grab your ridiculously broad-brimmed hat, whack on your zinc, and come with us on a tour of the West End markets!

Y Killamoocow
This is always our first stop in the markets. If you're a patron of The Green Edge, you'll already know of their No Bull Pies and Pumpkin and Barley Rolls ($4.50 each).


While these are certainly delicious, you're coming here for one thing: a dagwood dog. Also known as a pluto pup (maybe only just to me), (or a hotdog-on-a-stick, if you're a New Zealander - HOW DESCRIPTIVE - The Dilettante). This is a batter-coated hot dog, deep-fried then dipped in tomato sauce. As such, it's pretty much The Dilettante's dream food (and only $4). But be aware that they only start dagwood dogs from around 10am, so if you're an early bird (unlike us) start elsewhere and work your way back.

umm...


They're generally made on demand, so you may have to wait for a little while; in the mean time, grab a samosa, No Bull Pie ($3.50), or Pumpkin and Barley rolls ($3; make sure you get it with sweet chilli sauce!), or duck across to get some Sugar Cane Juice. But remember to save some room; there's still plenty to go!

Who says vegetarians aren't friendly?!

Sugar Cane Juice
The Dilettante thinks this tastes like grass; I think it's absolutely brilliant. You can get plain sugarcane juice for $4, get it with lime juice for $4.50, or with lime juice and ginger for $5 (only $1 more for 200x deliciousness? Yes please). Perfect way to wash down all the fried food, freshly squeezed (extracted? it sure looks painful) before your eyes. Once it's ready, walk back across and grab your dagwood dog, then escape take a moment to have a sit down in the park before the journey continues.



"Brisbane's Best Falafel" at eat-a-pocket
I am by no means a falafel connoisseur (though I've sure had some awful ones in my time), but I do not doubt this stand's rather bold proclamation. If you're not sure if you'll be able to fit much more in, just grab a box of falafel (6: $5.50; 12: $10.00), but if your stomach just can't be satisfied (or if you skipped the dagwood dog!), stretch for the falafel pocket ($10.50): a pita pocket filled with hummus, falafels, salads, tabouli, pickles, tomato salsa, tahini sauce and (optional) chilli.

The falafel pocket: get in mah belly.



It's a bit of a wait (mainly because everyone else eats there), but it's worth it.

If falafel just aren't your style, they also offer a hummus pocket ($9.50) and a selection of plates (breakfast, hummus, mezze, baba ganoush).


Hungarian Style "Tócsni" (Potato Pancake)
Don't be scared off by the funny hats; these pancakes are a cross between hash browns and savoury pancakes, and have the best of both worlds. They offer a number of garnishes (when we first went, they only had the veg option: they've now added animal products, but they shouldn't add cheese unless you ask for it!). $9.



Empanada
Only one or two stalls along, this empanada stand offers (shock-horror!) veg empanadas! They're pretty delicious (and surprisingly, consider they contain cauliflower and sultanas), but they're no longer hot by the time we get them, so get in early!


As you enjoy your empanada/Hungarian pancake/paella, enjoy the... mellow sounds of (arguably?) folk music wafting over the hustle and bustle of people. If you've never gone to the markets before, persevere (and try not to punch anyone), but if you've seen it all before, dart back to the crepe stand and take the shortcut past the club house to come to our next stop...

Black Star Coffee "Soy Deluxe"
Though it's easy to be put off by the copious facial hair/thick-rimmed glasses/... ok, all the hipsters, don't let this distract you from the coffee: after eating and eating or, well, anytime, Black Star Soy Deluxe Cold-Pressed Coffee is absolutely wonderful: smooth, creamy, and just a little sweet, it's the perfect way to end (or at least take a break from) your eating frenzy. $5. Sometimes, they also sell a delicious stuffed (often with spinach and potato) Afghani bread called "Bolani", which The Dilettante thinks is delicious.



From here, it's all pretty standard market fare, but you can go either way:

1. Head back to just before the Fish Tent of Death (what horrors lie within I dare not tell...), where a large stand overflows with delicious red and green apples, tomatoes, and capsicum, a small stand has various herbs for sale, among with plenty of other specialty stores. There is also a new place that does vegetarian paella ($6).

Mmmm, paella...

Otherwise;

2. Continue on to finish the loop of the markets. The left-hand side is mostly knick-knack type stalls, whereas the right is a mix of fruit and veg stores and some very odd book stands. In this direction also lies the stand for Chi Tea, where you'll find some fantastic teas and some ridiculously cool (and amazingly well priced) tea wares (pots and tea sets, etc).


As usual, markets are an ever-changing landscape, so there's almost always a new place here or a place that has disappeared there, but the places listed above have been there pretty much every week for the last six months (if not longer), so they should be there when you visit.

If you know of any stalls serving awesome veg food, either at the West End Markets, or any other markets that you go to, let us know! (We'll do our best to update this post with prices/info)

11 comments:

  1. Wow! Perfect timing - I'm planning on going to the West End markets for the first time tomorrow morning. I must admit I decided to go because I had heard about the Pluto Pup (no, I call it that too) and wanted to try it out. However that falafel looks amazing. Thanks for the info!

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    1. Hope you liked them! We didn't get there today, but we can't escape the call of falafel, cold-pressed coffee, and dagwood dogs for long! Glad we're able to help :)

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    2. I loved it! Had the dagwood dog (brought back some childhood memories) and bought a falafel pocket to bring back home for later. It was really really good! Just as good as the falafel I had at "Da Falafel King" in Honolulu. You've saved me the airfare back to Hawaii for some good falafel.

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  2. sounds good, do you know if the potato pancakes are gluten free?

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    1. If you look at the photo, the sign says they are. Matt thinks they're boring, but I thought it was quite tasty; what's not to like about a hashbrown pancake?!

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  3. So many great veg options - and I love the name Y Killamoocoo - I am not keen on the crowds but sometimes they are there for a good reason

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    1. Absolutely; crowds are a pain, which may be a reason to get there earlier, but we never learn! :P We're pretty lucky; not so many at other markets, but we may have to visit some others so we can do posts on them.

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  4. I'm starting to regularly go to the West End markets as well!

    They actually run much later! They usually start packing up and people start running out of things by about 3pm!

    I tried the seafood paella last week which I just found overly salty and the rice almost mushy. They do pack in a lot of rice for $10 (from memory). It only has prawns in it though, not a traditional mix of seafood plus chicken/chorizo.

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    1. We go every week for about a month, then don't go for a few weeks, then go everyday for a month... but it rarely disappoints!

      3pm?! Gosh, that'd be fun in summer, especially going through the seafood tent :/ But good to know (especially for us late risers :P); I'll add it in.

      The paella we had was alright, but we've made it better at home. But good that there's the option there, and the serving did seem pretty big, from what I remember.

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    2. Most of the veg stuff is well gone by 12, though!

      The paella was pretty boring... and uncrispy.

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    3. Even by Brisbane 'winter' afternoon sun the seafood tent was looking a little sad and struggling.

      Of course, as with any market, going early is best though ;)

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