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Sunday, June 15, 2014

OC Night Market 2014

Last year, my favorite event I went to was 626 Night Market. I practically wassailed through the stalls, sampling foods from all over the world: Japanese takoyaki, Chinese bing tang hulu, Taiwanese bubble tea, and more hapa fusion food than you can imagine.

This year, the team behind the 626 Night Market got even more ambitious and brought the night market experience to Orange County in May.

I wanted to share my experience with you, because I am excited that their next stop in their smorgasbord is downtown Los Angeles this weekend, June 20th and 21st.

Since undoubtedly I talk way too much, I'll be doing small captions and mostly photos for this post, with a short bit at the end about my overall experience at the OC Night Market. All of the food posted was so good, I'm almost glad that the OC Night Market was only one weekend because I would get huge if they were regularly available all in one spot.

Yiran Grill served up spicy squid and my favorite candied covered fruit, Bing Tang Hulu
Squid Roe had the juiciest fried squid I've ever tasted, I loved the "Mild Asian" seasoning!
Mama Musubi served up some of the tastiest gourmet (onigiri) rice balls I've ever had!
Luckdish Curry had the cutest airstream trailer set up and served amazing curry nachos!
Some of the smaller booths had the most amazing stuff! Pop cakes with egg and cheese!

Share Mii's snow ice, Green tea with condensed milk and fresh strawberries.
Banzai Jerky: friendliest guys working that both, and the bacon jerky is a little too tasty!
My biggest piece of advice is to try a booth with no customers in front of it. You will get to try something overlooked by others, and I'm willing to bet you will discover something delicious you didn't know about. Seriously, these Pop Cakes rocked so hard, I was tempted to buy a ton and see if I could reheat them in the toaster oven for breakfast.

My second piece of advice is if you HAVE to try that trendy food item, be it a mason jar lemonade or ramen burger, get there early. When we went about a half hour after the event started, we walked up to Squid Roe without a wait. Later in the evening, the line was enormous.

Third, carpool! My biggest complaint about the OC Night Market was the parking. On Saturday, the OC Fair didn't update on their marquees the fact that they had closed one of the gates, so I waited in a queue of cars only to be waved by the closed gate. I ended up parking a good 15 minute walk away, and I blame the OC Fair rather than the OC Night Market for that one. I wasn't too miffed, because I figured I didn't have to pay parking and the walk meant I could eat more, right?

There's an entrance fee that varies by the location, but I hope to see you this Friday at DTLA Night Market where it is $7 presale. A quick word about the entrance fee: I hate when people complain about the entrance fee to the 626 Night Market. Yes, in Asian countries they usually don't have an entrance fee, but that's because the city usually helps subsidize the cost. This is Southern California, and it's expensive to host an event, especially of this size. I will gladly fork over $3-7 dollars to support the Asian American community that gives the opportunity for entrepreneurs to do business. Sorry for the soapbox rant.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the Night Market team did give me a press pass and free parking for the first day (Friday) of the OC Night Market. In the spirit of total gluttony, I paid for Saturday and Sunday and spent an obscene amount of both calories and cash on food. I have way too much fun at these events, I did not need any encouragement from the Night Market team to write a review.

The DTLA Night Market
1150 S. Figueroa St (between 11th and 12th Streets), Los Angeles, CA 90015
Fri and Sat, Jun 20 and 21: 4pm - 12am

The 626 Night Market
Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Dr  Arcadia, CA 91007
Fri and Sat, Jul 18 and 19: 4pm-1am
Fri and Sat, Aug 15 and 16: 4pm-1am
Fri and Sat, Sept 12 and 13: 4pm-1am

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