07 October 2017

New Market City Level 1 Food Court - Chinatown

Market City have completed the renovation of their food court in Chinatown, moving it down to Level 1. A makeover brings it up to date and there's a few things lost and gained in the new location.

Last year Market City decided to close down it's Level 3 food court and move everything downstairs to Level 1. We were saddened by the news, we loved sitting upstairs in the light filled space with a view over the rooftops of Dixon Street. It was one of the only Chinatown food courts that had a little space, some room to have a quieter meal.

The new space feels darker and a little more crowded and noisy. It's like a Westfield or Galleries make over, with low lighting, gold highlights, groovy lighting and lots of dark tiles and panelling.

Shiny white tables are close together, this is an area made for eating solo, eating quickly and moving on. There's also no bar area, so no more beers with your food unless you slip out to the Macau Tavern.

The fit out is a little dark and gloomy, with touches of lighting that illuminate your bowls of noodles. No more natural light (it sure makes it hard to take a decent photo as well!) Our tip: there's another eating area just near the entrance to Market City Tavern that is a little quieter and has great light for photos.

There are mostly new stalls in the fit out, some came from the upstairs food court and others are brand new. Vale Thai Thai Thai, Ugly Bob Stylish Korean Food, Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam (moved to the Mountbatten Hotel), Eastern Experience, Hakata Maru (still open in Chatswood), Top Choice Sizzling Hot Pot, 100% Juice, Market City Food Court Bar, Asagao, R&S Flavour of North India and even Leonardo's Sandwiches.

Other places next to the food court also closed like Takaru Poporo and Nandos, while some stalls on Level 1 also closed in the renovation include Asakaze, Pho TK, and Rotikon.

We'll be trying these new places as we can, there's just one thing stopping us getting into them with more gusto - disposable plastic bowls and cutlery! All of the stalls, with the exception of Kaedama, serve their meals in thin plastic plates and bowls with disposable plastic cutlery and bamboo chopsticks. We hate it, not only from the sustainability issue but the taste and experience is really inferior compared to melamine and metal cutlery. There is no health order or requirement that we could find that demands this needs to be in place. Eating World still uses the real deal, while Sussex Centre and Dixon House verge on half and half. No sir, we don't like it.

Entering from the Thomas St entrance, here's a rundown of the new food court contenders.

Kaedama Ramen Bar. One of the last places to open, it has a wrap around eating counter like many ramen bars in Japan which makes for a 'if I close my eyes I might actually be in Tokyo' moment. The ramen here is Hakata style and is served in a ceramic style bowl with large bamboo soup spoons (yay, no plastic). Serve yourself free shredded gari and spicy takana at the counter.

Golden Tower. One of the oldest food court stalls in Chinatown. Originally on Level 3, they seemed to have lost the MC on the way down. This stall has revived the long lost hot food bar, with a bain-marie-of-love with selections at the front counter. They're still offering their noodle soups and with-rice dishes.

Super Chef BBQ. This Cantonese stall also moved from Level 3 and offers roast and BBQ pork as well as shiny hanging roast duck served either on rice or as noodle soups. Stir fried noodles, rice, steamed green vegetables are also on offer.

Gleaming duck and sweet BBQ pork ready for the chopper.

Jorjarn Thai. There's a hot foot bar here too, with a sliding scale of one, two or three choices with rice. Made to order dishes include the northern favourite khao soi, as well as pad Thai, tom yum kway teow soup and the intriguing larb chicken wings.

Lao Dong Beef Noodle. Started in 1950 in Taiwan, this noodle chain specialises in beef noodle soup. The soups have a number of different broth styles, including signature, supreme, tomato and curry with a vegetable option as well. There's a number of side dishes (fried chicken, seaweed salad. fried tofu, soy eggs). We love the serve yourself 'spicy butter' and chopped pickled mustard greens that really add a punch of chilli spice and sourness to the soups.

Sushi Ko. Pretty much stock standard sushi bar with the addition of almost every other type of hot Japanese style dish including udon, ramen and curry. There's a big trade in takeaway bento boxes that are reasonably priced under the $10 mark. 

Happy Chef Noodle Bar. Another stall from Level 3, they've dropped the 'seafood noodles' from their name and become more pan-asian. They still offer the Phnom Penh noodle soup (with either soup in or on the side). 

85 Degree Celsius Daily Cafe. Taiwanese bakery chain (sometimes referred to as the Starbucks of Taiwan) with self service trays and cakes behind perspex covered shelves. This is a good grab-and-go spot for a quick lunch or snack.

Thai Kee Supermarket has expanded to a large fruit and veg section at the front of the store and revamped their entire layout inside. With the closure of the dedicated butcher and fish shop, this is the only place to get groceries and fresh goods inside Market City, otherwise you need to head downstairs to Paddy's Market. 

Taste of Cho relocated to the Hay St side of Level 1 and the queues are as long as ever. This is a takeaway only Taiwanese stall that has an always changing and always good range of dishes made into a bento style lunchbox.

The old Level 3 area is bordered up, without much happening yet. All the food outlets have been closed on this level except for The Eight.

As well as the food court, there are also a number of other food stalls scattered around the centre. Nuts & Nuts kept it's position near Red Bottle liquor store. There's a number of competing coffee and drink places, including Doolies Coffee & Juice, New Zealand Natural Ice Cream, Central Cafe and Chat Time.

Market City is at 9-13 Hay Street, Haymarket. Food court is now on Level 1.


  1. does anyone know what will become of the level 3 area? Please don't tell me more fashion outlets :(

    1. The Eight is still up there, who knows what will become of it. Still no sign of life or any idea of what it will be. Half expecting the food chain stores to move in (Din Tai Fung, Burger Project, Guzman, Gelato Messina) and make it like every other shopping centre in Sydney.

  2. I agree with you re: the plastic bowl and cutlery. I complained to Lao Dong regarding this issue since it is very unhealthy to eat such hot soup in a chemical full plastic bowl and finally they provided me with a reusable melamine bowl which is a bit better. Other than that, the beef noodle soup is lovely though especially with the pickled mustard greens.

  3. Sadly the move to plastic bowls, plates and cutlery seems to have become a trend for food courts. Most stores in Hawkers Lane Chatswood Westfield also only offer plastic stuff, and eating from it feels cheap.

    1. I agree on the cheap feel, especially when some of the dishes are getting close to $15. The taste is 'cheap' too.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

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