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Melbourne Street Eatz Summer Foodie Food Truck Festival

Melbourne is well known for it's delicious, creative, and ever expanding restaurant scene. Restaurants and eateries are usually in brick and mortar locations or permanent street stalls so I was surprised to see advertisements on Instagram for Melbourne Street Eatz. Melbourne Street Eatz is a food truck and street food festival nestled along the Southbank of the Yarra river. Seeing that it was food trucks sparked my curiosity since they aren't commonly found in Melbourne so I was eager to see what treats could be found.

Table tennis table. Top of the table is black with the logo "Melbourne Street Eats" and line drawings of hamburgers, hotdogs, and french fries in bright neon pink, yellow, and blue. The edges, legs, and net of the ping pong table are bright pink.
Fun in the sun at Street Eatz (photo by TravellingFool.com)

The Melbourne Street Eatz event is located just to the right of the Melbourne Convention Center's front door on Clarendon Street. It's open from 11am-11pm everyday and I happened to stop by around 7pm on a Saturday. As I approached the entrance I noticed in addition to the banner with the Melbourne Street Eatz logo there was a sea of sandwich boards. Each sandwich board sign had a different color, logo, and theme which made me realize that each of the eateries inside the fenced area must be advertising to try and lure people into the event. It was a bit perplexing given the amount of advertising I saw but I suppose it's a good tactic to get the attention of people walking around the area or exiting the casino across the street.

After traversing the sea of signs and entering the fence gate I was immediately greeted by a wide dirt path flanked by a hodge podge of what I'd describe as food stands. Some of the eateries were in trailers, up-cycled shipping containers, DIY converted box trucks, and there was one that was just a bunch of industrial white plastic folding tables and a collapsible nylon sunshade. As I walked down the soft dirt path taking in all the different smoothie/juice stands the song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" played and it felt like I was at a 1980s carnival as German sausages, Nepalese dumplings, fresh gnocci, Columbian arepas, and West African spices filled the air.

Green grass lawn with patches of brown dirt. In the center is a steel drum with a vinyl wrapping decorated with bright blue sky, white clouds. On top of the steel drum is a round, thick, wooden table top.
The cutest cocktail table I've ever seen (photo by TravellingFool)

The place was a little more empty then I expected on a sunny Saturday in January. Most of the stalls had one or two people in front of them but many were empty including devoid of employees as I noticed the huge open windows of the food stalls with not a soul to be seen inside. At first I wondered where everyone was then I walked a little further and there were lots of picnic tables filled with lots of groups chatting and enjoying their dinners and beers. Everybody made it look like a good time but as I looked around there really weren't many open options for grabbing a seat and enjoying a bite except for the adorably painted standing tables made out of steel drums with beautiful wooden tops. They looked so cute I briefly thought about trying to drag one home with me to my apartment.

Large brown patch of dirt on a green grass lawn. A row of 3 white adirondack chairs is in the foreground. In front of them are more rows of white adirondack chairs and white umbrellas. In front of all the chairs is a large freestanding tv screen with a tennis player on it.
Tennis viewing party in the sun (photo by TravellingFool.com)
Amongst the 12 different food stalls there were lots of solid options like juices, burgers, kebabs, all the usually Australian foods you'd want to enjoy on a lovely summer evening on the river. The picnic tables sat near the white plastic fence along the riverside and there were even black ping-pong tables with neon colored decorations. At the end of the area was a large screen playing one of the Australian tennis tournaments and rows of white plastic adirondack chairs facing the screen. There were a few people watching the post-match interview on the screen but most of the people sitting in the area were trying to balance plates and containers on their laps as they ate. 

To accompany the sports playing on the big screen there were two bars. In a city like Melbourne where you can have four seasons in one day, it seems like an unfortunate planning decision to sell food and drinks on a grassy lawn. There must have been some very good times in the bar area combined with the recent rain because as soon as I got within 10 meters (30 feet) of the bar my foot got sucked into the Melbourne mud. For a brief moment I thought I was going to lose my shoe in it the mud was so thick.

Corrogated steel storage container with a colorful mural of a woman in a headscarf on a green farm under a red and yellow sky with clouds. In the center of the structure is an open window showing a stainless steel kitchen with shelves and counters inside.
Ama's Delishes Jollof Truck smelled AMAZING! (photo by TravellingFool.com)

After getting lose from the mud and walking back exclusively in the grassy parts of the area instead of the dirt path I stopped for a third time at "Ama's Delishes" which was a jollof "truck" - it was a storage container that had been converted into a colorful portable kitchen. The smell wafting from the jollof truck was an enticing blend of spices and meat that made me feel like a cartoon character floating on the breeze towards a delicous bowl of meaty rice. I was about to grab some but $22 for a container of food to takeaway felt steep. That's the kind of price you usually see in sit down eateries here!

At the end of the day I would recommend a stop by Melbourne Street Eats. At the very least it breaks up the normal monotony of burgers and chips and has spectacular riverside vibes. The Melbourne Street Eatz food truck festival is open January 5-February 25 from 11am-11pm.


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