For the past week, I've been in Singapore for the first annual World Street Food Congress, which included a quick run to stay one night in Bangkok—yes, you can sing along. I am a little misty-eyed at the thought of leaving behind the hawker centres of Singapore and the night markets in Bangkok.
I’ll miss slurping wanton mee at the Lavender Food Centre at midnight, or digging into a plate of barbecued stingray; I won’t be able to replace the sights, sounds and smells of competing boat noodle stands surrounded by the Bangkok hustle of the Chatuchak or Chinatown’s Yaowarat markets.
But, wait, there’s a cure for what ails me—the 626 Night Market is back this summer, starting this weekend at the Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens! The event promises over 90 food vendors serving a variety of Asian street foods from our own San Gabriel Valley and beyond. Just like the night markets in Asia, there will be shopping, music, and entertainment for the whole family.
626 Night Market founder Jonny C. Hwang said that the street food offerings will draw from food inspired by Taiwanese and Chinese night markets, but there’s also going to be Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, and Burmese dishes.
You can expect to sample celebrated street food dishes like Taiwanese stinky tofu, Vietnemese banh xeo (savory pancakes), skewers galore—it’s not a night market without them—Japanese takoyaki (octopus balls), and Burmese kima platha (crispy flatbread stuffed with beef). There’s even a vendor serving peking duck tacos—a nod to L.A.’s own street food culture.
It’s a chance to get to know one of L.A.’s hottest area zip codes—the 626—and to take a street food tour of Asia’s night markets without getting on a plane.
626 Night Market, Santa Anita Paddock Gardens, 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, June 8- 9, July 6-7, and August 3-4, 4PM to 12AM on Saturdays and 4PM to 10PM on Sundays, Free Parking, $2 / person 4PM-6PM, $3 / person after 6PM, Free for ages 12 years and younger, 626nightmarket.com