Many SoCal residents look forward to the summer weekends that bring local vendors and attendants together for an event that replicates the famous night markets in Taiwan. They are known for having a crowded and fast-paced atmosphere combined with loud entertainment, yelling vendors and lots of good food.

626 Night Market kicked off a fourth season of their Asian-themed event this past weekend hosting the OC Night Market at the OC Fair Grounds in Costa Mesa, Calif.

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The entrance banner shows the three different night markets that 626 Night Market hosts. Photo credit: Jayna Gavieres

They feature hundreds of food, merchandise, crafts, arts, games, music and entertainment attractions in one jam-packed weekend of festivities that appeals to all ages, according the 626 Night Market website.

The original and largest night market in the United States aims to empower the community by serving as a platform for showcasing local entrepreneurs, businesses, artists, and talents. They have three different events around the Los Angeles and Orange County areas which include OC Night Market, DTLA Night Market and their flagship event for 626 Night Market at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

The hustling environment of night markets can be felt immediately after stepping onto the fair grounds as the music blares and the people scurry around.

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The OC Night Market crowd gets bigger as the sun sets. Photo credit: Jayna Gavieres

One might think that these night markets would be cheap like those in Taiwan, but don’t be fooled because this is still America. Going hungry can be good or bad for those attending these events because one could quickly spend a lot of money trying a variety of delicious food vendors.

Crasians, a Korean-inspired food vendor, sold little deep-fried baos (buns) that were filled with a choice of beef or pork, cilantro and Sriracha mayo. Although they were very tasty, a $6 bun that was practically half the size of a human palm wasn’t really worth the 30 minute wait. One can get a similar type of concept in a Vietnamese sandwich that is three times the size and three times less the price.

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Crasians 'kalbi bun' filled with Korean beef, cilantro, and Sriracha mayo. Photo credit: Jayna Gavieres

Oh, but it didn’t stop there… They were selling elote for $4 a cup, lemonade for $8 a jar, plain vanilla ice cream topped with Oreos for $5 a cup and overly cooked egg puffs for $6 an order. If you’re the type of person that gets filled up on small bites, then you’ll have no problem spending only $20, but for those who can eat a lot with their curious taste buds can easily look to spending around $40. That’s a pretty expensive dinner for a night market, but can one put a price on experience? A student might able to.

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One of the longest lines of the night went to Lobsterdamus, which appealed to many attendees because of their $12 grilled half lobster. The line was consistently long throughout the whole event and seemed to only grow as the night carried on.

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The Lobsterdamus food tent grills their $12 half lobsters Photo credit: Jayna Gavieres

The crowd started to thicken with every passing hour filling the event with families and friends gathering to share this “Asian” experience with one another. People were walking around eating finger foods like fried squid on a stick and potatoes spiraling down a stick, but it was hard to miss the huge servings of beer that were sold all over the fairgrounds that many were sipping on.

Fanny Pang and Dexter Yam, first-time attendants to the OC Night Market, said that the 626 Night Market wasn’t as exciting because it was mainly local foods that they had tried already. They said it was nice to visit because of the different food vendors and eagerly expressed their willingness to come back again next year, like many loyal fans of the event.

626 Night Market definitely has a great thing going on, bringing the residents of SoCal an experience like none other in California. The food is delicious, the entertainment is exciting and the vendors offer a lot of memorable arts and crafts. Some might compare this event to other food festivals around Southern California that are hosted throughout the year, but this one is special because it’s aimed at Asian food lovers.

If you’d like to visit this event feel free to check out their website to see the other dates and cities that the 626 Night Market will be hosting!

www.626nightmarket.com

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