We’ve heard about the 626 Night Market in Los Angeles (Arcadia) but we haven’t had the chance to go. According to their official website, 626 Night Market is the original and largest Asian-themed night market in the country. This time, we heard about the OC Night Market, which is produced by the same folks at the 626 market. It was our first time and we had a great experience!
Let’s discuss what to expect, some tips before you go, and look at what we had at the OC Night Market!
Look no further if you want to experience the unique cuisines of Asia. You will find modern, traditional, and fusion Asian food here. Thai, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Hawaiian, and Filipino. Even Mexican!
The OC Night Market is located in the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa where the OC Fair also takes place. The market does not occupy all of the fairgrounds but there are still a lot of vendors. Honestly, you could spend a lot of money if you try more than three of these places so I suggest looking around online or asking friends what they recommend. Since you’re here, let us share our favorites with you. (Scroll down for our favorite grubs)
The OC Night Market
The OC Night Market opens at 4pm and ends at midnight. We came a little early to avoid the dinner rush! We suggest that you go around 4pm as you’ll experience shorter lines and faster service.
Here are some great tips:
- Before you go, get some cash at the bank. There are ATM machines around the area but they will charge you!
- Cash only for parking and entrance. Parking is $8 and admission fee is $5.
- Wear comfortable sneakers. Jessica forgot to change her heeled sandals and it wasn’t much fun after we called it a night!
- Go with a large group and have everyone try different kinds of food. You can all go to town by having a bite of each other’s food.
When you enter the OC Promenade, you’ll see many artsy vendors. We found these things interesting:
(Below) Apparently, these flowers are supposed to last forever and does not require much “caring.” We were told that they were real flowers. To know more about these and how it works, visit their website.
On to the food and festivities!
There are so many food vendors in the OC Night Market and you’ll find yourself confused, excited, and eager – all at the same time! We had to circle around a few times just deciding on what to eat! This is the exciting part. This blog post does not do the place justice when it comes to the different aromas of umami. I mean, there’s the scent of sautéed garlic, grilled meat, sweet desserts, and of course the sweet Orange County summer air. It really is a sight to see!
Some of the vendors
They had this Ramen food truck which had a pretty cool concept. They’re called, Shake Ramen. They put the Ramen and all the ingredients in a cup. You shake it up and you pretty much have Ramen to go. As much as we love Ramen and wanted to try this, it was a pretty hot day in Southern California. (Below)
We also found these cookie cups that. It was pretty cool but we didn’t get to try it. You can check it out at The Dirty Cookie. (below)
Also, we really don’t know why McDonald’s was in the area. Oh yeah, right; they were sponsoring the event! What we really don’t understand is why people are lining up for burgers when there’s so much great food around!
OC Night Market also gives a stage for local performers to showcase their talents. It adds to the festive vibe of the place!
What we had for dinner
We had Tuna Poke at the Sushi Studio Arts. Being fans of sushi, we were really interested in trying this out. The nice man told us that all their fish are line-caught and they do not use commercial fishing techniques. Whatever that means, the point is, this was actually amazing and tasted so fresh. You can call it our, “appetizer numero uno.”
Appetizer #1: Tuna Poke
Here’s a photo of a guy preparing our delicious Tuna Poke:
Appetizer #2: Squid Balls
Then we moved on to get some squid balls. I enjoyed having fish and squid balls, buying them almost in bulk from Filipino street vendors in the Philippines. So, why not try the squid balls at this Taiwanese place called “Popcorn Chicken.”
Main Course: Adobo Fries
Most noteworthy is the Adobo Fries. Let me just say that this was one of the best things we’ve ever had in a very long time. Being Filipino, pork and/or chicken adobo has always been a “staple” in our home. My mom would make great adobo and I can never refuse it. It’s just so good. But this one is amazing as well.
For those of you who are not familiar with Adobo. Adobo is a way of cooking something; it’s to cook something in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. Filipinos love their vinegar and most of all, we love our adobo!
But this is kind of weird but amazing at the same time. They served the pork adobo on top of fries. They topped it with scallions and aioli sauce. It was just very delicious! You must try this!
(Below) This is where we got our Adobo Fries. They also sell lobster corn dog, hot fries, and halo-halo (Filipino shaved ice with delicious ingredients)
Dessert: Rolling Ice Artisan Creamery
The menu is definitely interesting. A good-sized cup of Rolling Ice ice cream is $7. Honestly, it’s really not a bad price since they put some kind of art and love into making it. They also add toppings that take the ice cream to a whole’nother level. While the price was reasonable, the wait was rather long. We pretty much had to wait about 25 minutes for our ice cream. Here it is though! (not the best picture, legs were getting tired!)
Here’s the Ooh-Bae (Ube) Ice cream. It’s a purple yam ice cream. Due to my Filipino upbringing, I’ve always been a big fan of Ube. It’s as Filipino as you can get! Rolling Ice might not be a Filipino business but this ice cream appeals to us Pinoys!
Overall, it was a great time!
Ultimately, we had such a great time at the OC Night Market. The place was crowded and there were really no places to sit and enjoy the food but standing there in the middle of it all is part of the great experience. The OC Night Market will be back at the OC Fairgrounds on the weekend of August 26-28. Make sure you check them out!
Looking forward to checking out the big 626 Night Market in Arcadia, CA this summer! They will be there on July 22-24, August 5-7, and September 2-4. It should be a great summer for foodies!
Have you been to a food event like this? What was your experience like? Please leave us a comment below!