Sorry for the hiatus. I’ve been a bit busy prepping for the new school year and have officially started my Welcome Week this week at Western University. I’ve been meaning to report back to you all about the 626 Night Market, a bit earlier, however, things have been a bit hectic. Anyhoo, moving on!
The 2nd round of 626 Night Market was held on Saturday, July 28th at the Centennial square in Pasadena. A group of friends joined Justin and me on our food adventure and we made a night out of it. A good friend of ours moved to Korea this week, and so the 626 Night Market doubled as a goodbye to our dear friend. To celebrate, we played some food games (not as successful as we would have liked) and tried a lot of different things.
Before I get into the food, I just want to comment on the venue and the event as a whole. The event was really great! There was so much more open space, a lot of different vendors and a lot more crowd control! It definitely was a lot safer than the last event, and it was easier to access different types of foods. There were volunteers at the more popular booths, controlling the lines while ensuring the safety of the vendors. Some vendors had a ticket system where you could pay for your meal in one line, grab a ticket, then pick up your meal in another. This seemed to work in favor of the vendors. It didn’t take too long to wait for the food for pick up either. There was also a LOT more accessibility to parking structures. I noticed a vast improvement in terms of traffic coming to the event. Definitely did not take me 2 hours this time to find parking or to event exit to the venue. I just want to congratulate the 626 Night Market staff for making this event so successful. I really do hope there will be another one in the future.
One of the things that we got to try were some yummy lamb kabobs. To be honest they were a bit on the dry side and not as heavily seasoned as lamb usually is. However, it had a nice spicy kick to it, which I loved.
Since we had a fairly large group, we split off to line up for different booths and returned to one central location to share the food. We tried Indonesian sate (which of course isn’t new for me, but it was for some), deep fried stinky tofu with pickled vegetables, spicy stinky tofu in a soup, fried fish skin chips, egg waffles, ginger juice rice pudding, fish balls, candy covered strawberries, and different types of teas.
I think my favorite thing of the night was surprisingly the stinky tofu. Why? Oh dear, I made such a terrible face when I first tried it. I was just so shocked by how it actually tasted “stinky,” but it was weird! I actually enjoyed it. There’s something about it that is just really addicting. I don’t get it at all.
If you have never tried stinky tofu, I suggest just trying it at least once! The smell is hard to handle, but you get used to it after a while. Trust me, it was surrounding the whole event for miles.
So I communicated with Aileen, the marketing coordinator, after the event and had her answer a few questions I had in regards to the night market and plans for future events.
Did the event live up to the coordinators’ expectations?
Aileen: I definitely think that everyone is incredibly happy about the event—the event lived up to our expectations and MORE because it was surprisingly smooth. There was minimal parking/traffic issues, and the crowd was manageable. We’ve heard great reviews so far so that is what makes it all worth while.
How was the turn out this time around in comparison to last time in terms of numbers?
Aileen: Jonny spoke to the city and about 40,000 people came out this time. Last time was hard to gauge but there were probably about 35,000 who actually made it to the event.
Are there plans for another 626 Night Market?
Aileen: I can’t give you anything concrete, but we definitely hope to host another 626 Night Market. I want to say sometime in the Fall, maybe Sept/Oct. Hopefully if the demand is there, we can have a monthly or bi-monthly 626 Night Market!
Thanks Aileen for that feedback! Overall, I think it was a successful event. It was a lot of fun and we ate a lot of great food! I hope there will be another 626 Night Market event coming soon!
p.s Calvin from plaidbag.org tweeted a picture of me during the night market, which actually won him a pretty nifty t-shirt. Yay! Glad I could help someone win free stuff