A couple weekends ago, I finally made it out to the 626 Night Market in Arcadia. The night market was first described to me a couple years ago as a vibrant, Asian food market that includes entertainment and performances by local artists. I imagined the night market to be like a big “matsuri” (Japanese summer festival) which I have fond memories of when I was a kid, so I hoped to re-live my childhood memories by going to this market. I decided to take my camera and shoot on my 24-105mm lens which I think captured the essence of the market, but there were many moments when I wish I had my zoom lens to capture those candid people eating shots 😉
Mike and I arrived at the market when it was still light out, so fairly early in the event. After paying our $3 cover fee and stepping into the market, we were amazed at how large it was! We felt like kids stepping into Disneyland for the first time, except everything around us was food related! My first thought: “we’re going to be here all night!!” and we didn’t know what to try out first! Most, if not all, of the food vendors operated through food trucks which can really be a hit or miss, but most items were priced fairly low so we were willing to try things we haven’t heard of before. My first go-to was the infamous Ramen Burger; and yep it’s exactly what it sounds like. The meat of the burger, topped with mayo and ketchup, was sandwiched between two semi-hard noodles. It was… interesting… Let’s just say that I was glad we split a burger between the two of us, and I can now say that I’ve tried it, and I wouldn’t want to have one again. That’s the end of that.
Throughout the night, we also had beef musubi (rice ball), okonomiyaki hotdog, beef skewers, some extremely sweet drink that we both regret, dumplings, and little round donut balls. Unfortunately, none of the food was really all that great… Sure, it was interesting because it was different (I’ve never seen/heard of an okonomiyaki hot dog before!) but taste-wise, it wasn’t anything special. I think we finished every meal with a “meh, that was okay” expression.
I did, however, capture some fun pictures of other people eating! I found it very surprising that NONE of the people I photographed even noticed my camera; I suppose the idea of food is much more empowering than the happenings of their surroundings (I don’t blame them). Asians also love taking pictures of their food. I knew this before, but the 626 Night Market definitely confirmed this.
After sundown, the market held a graffiti contest where three local artists competed for the best piece of art work, voted by the attendees. Other live entertainment included break dancers, live music, and fair-type games in which I only stopped to take pictures of people and not to play. By the time it was dark, the night market was PACKED! We thought about walking through the food section one last time, but from a distant, it looked like a wave of people crashing into each other so we decided not to go down that path and called it a night.
I think it’s worth the visit at least once! I would recommend going fairly early (it opens at 4pm) as it gets very crowded later in the evening. Go while there’s no line to try the different food vendors 🙂