Hello everyone! This will be my first official Trip Report on MiceChat, and today I'll be sharing my trip at the "626 Night Market" at Santa Anita Racetrack! Hopefully the pictures will show up since I wanted to create a new, separate flickr account so that I would be able to share my trip report photos. I'm working out the kinks so please bare with me if the photos don't show up immediately!
If you don't know what a "night market" is, it is basically an outdoor street market held at night time and it is very popular in Asia. It is not a market per say but more like a street fair where people can shop, buy food or treats, and sometimes even play games! The "626 Night Market" basically replicates the idea of Asian night markets and bringing it to the San Gabriel Valley area (hence the 626 area code in the name). The "626 Night Market" features local businesses, entertainment, restaurants, vendors, and food trucks, and is usually held a few times during the summer. This report is about the last "626 Night Market" held this past weekend at the Santa Anita Racetrack. Let's get started!
DSC_3130 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
I arrived at the Santa Anita Racetrack at about 5:30PM and was greeted by a giant sign at the entrance in case I forgot why I came here for. While parking was free, I had to pay a $2 admission to enter (it's $3 after 6:00PM).
DSC_3131 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
I was meeting up with a few friends and was told to meet them at the Stinky Tofu area. The Stinky Tofu area was opposite from where the entrance was located so I took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring as I made my way there. The venue for the "626 Night Market" was held outside of the Santa Anita Racetrack. It's a really nice venue with lots of green topiary and winding paths that vendors were able to set up shop along the side. Despite the nice blue sky, it was actually really hot and the weather became really humid as the day wore on.
DSC_3136 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
I eventually met up with my friends at the Stinky Tofu booth. Some of my friends already bought some food when I got there, and one of my friends bought himself a "ramen burger!" I wasn't able to take a photo of the burger since he pretty much finished eating it by the time I got there.
The Ramen Burger by Thelemoncookie, on Flickr
This is not my photo but this was what it pretty much looked like. Instead of buns, they replaced the buns with semi-panfried ramen. My friend said it was actually really good! It must of been since the vendor was sold out of "ramen burgers" after being open for only 1.5 hours!
DSC_3137 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
After finishing his "ramen burger," my friend decided he wanted some "stinky tofu." It definitely was stinky and I could definitely see why it was secluded in it's own corner at the night market. I've been told that people either love or hate "stinky tofu." Since I've never had it before, I decided to give it a try. I did not like it at all If I had to give it a rating, I would give it a 2/10 (and I think I'm being pretty generous too).
DSC_3140 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
While waiting in line to get the "stinky tofu," my other friends decided to wait in line for other food. One of my friends got "Okonomiyaki," or Japanese pancake. I believe it usually has octopus in it. I'm not a big seafood fan, but I have a policy of trying everything at least once so I decided to give it a try. It actually wasn't that bad. I would give it a 5/10.
DSC_3144 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Another friend of mine decided to wait in line for some "tornado potato." There were a few vendors selling "tornado potatoes" at the night market but we decided to wait at the "Hotato Potato" booth since the line was relatively short. However, as soon as we got in line, the line immediately extended behind us! We were really lucky beating the crowd!
DSC_3155 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
If you don't know what "tornado potatoes" are, it's basically a whole potato on a stick, cut into a spiral, and then fried.
DSC_3146 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
At this vendor, you had a choice of seasoning too. You also had the option of choosing a sweet potato instead! I forgot what seasoning my friend chose.
DSC_3156 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Here's my friend modeling his "tornado potato." It was actually pretty good! It kind of reminded me of mojos from Shakey's but way better. I would give it an 8/10! I liked it so much, I decided to get my own later at night!
DSC_3159 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
With our food in hand, we decided to walk around the night market to see what else was on sale. We saw "Boba 7" while walking around, famous for their alcoholic milk teas. If you don't know what milk teas are, it's basically tea mixed with a bit of milk usually served with tapioca balls, or boba! The vendor wasn't selling its alcoholic beverages but they were selling other unique teas though!
DSC_3162 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Another interesting vendor we saw was the "Crinkled Dog" which appeared to be waffle corndogs. It sounded interesting, but we didn't buy any.
DSC_3163 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
I eventually got really thirsty so I decided to get myself some "Tastea." The drinks at "Tastea" are pretty similar to the idea of milk teas but it's more fruit based. "Tastea" is not very common around where I live but it's pretty common in the OC area.
DSC_3164 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Here's my hand modeling the "Peach Me Sweetea" with "green boba!" I'm actually not sure what "green boba" is since normal boba is usually brown/black. The drink tasted pretty good though! 7/10!
DSC_3171 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
While walking around some more, we eventually saw a vendor selling "eggettes." I believe it's a Hong Kong dessert. The reason why they're called "eggettes" is because the puffs look like little eggs clumped together!
DSC_3175 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Here we see them pouring batter into some sort of iron press.
DSC_3183 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Once the batter is poured, the iron clamps are closed together for a few minutes to let the batter bake.
DSC_3188 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
DSC_3189 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
It looks like it's ready! See, they look like little eggs!
DSC_3192 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Here's my friend again modeling his "eggette." I thought it was pretty good! However, according to my friends, there are better versions out there. The "eggette" kind of tasted like a waffle cone. The puff parts were nice and soft but it was also slightly crunchy around the outside. The vendor was also selling different types of batter too. They even had red velvet! But we opted for the original version. I would like to try the other flavors though since I really enjoyed it. I give it a 7.5/10!
DSC_3195 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
After eating our "eggettes" and waiting to meet up with a couple more friends, we continued our stroll through the night market. Other vendors at the night market were selling merchandise, like these "Adventure Time" hats. I love "Adventure Time!"
DSC_3198 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
During our stroll, we saw a lot of vendors selling "Takoyaki." It's basically octopus rolled into a battered ball. I'm not a huge fan of "Takoyaki" (since, as I said before, I don't really like seafood) but my brother LOVES them.
DSC_3204 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
We eventually found ourselves back at the main food area. We all decided to get some last minute food before we called it a night. At this point is when I decided to get my own "tornado potato" with garlic Parmesan. Mmmm, it was so good! While waiting in line though, I saw a giant fire. Curious, I went to investigate. It turned out that one of the vendors was grilling octopus! I'm not really sure why he was grilling octopus, but he sure was causing a show with his fireball!
DSC_3213 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
Once we all bought our last snacks, we decided that we just had to take a picture with the biggest cup of boba milk tea in the world! Here is a picture of me and my friend trying to steal the cup. We failed miserably I was actually really surprised it was an actual giant cup of boba milk tea. I thought it was a giant inflatable balloon!
Once we took our pictures, we decided to head back out. We left with our wallets a little lighter but a belly full of yummy food. I am a bit of a foodie and love eating all kinds of food and this was a great event to try out some new things. Overall, we had a great time and would definitely go again! Sadly, this was the last "626 Night Market" of the year as it's usually held a few times in the summer (I think). However...
DSC_3128 copy by ajkim20, on Flickr
... it looks like they have plans to expand! I saw this sign when I was first entering the night market. It looks like the "626 Night Market" will be heading to the LA and OC area! It's amazing how far the "626 Night Market" has come. It originally started off on a small street in Pasadena to eventually expanding to the Santa Anita Racetrack. And now, it's crazy to see this night market idea expanding to other cities and quickly becoming a popular SoCal attraction! It was even featured in an episode of "Top Chef Masters," which I absolutely love! Oh how I would have loved to have been there when they were filming!
It's definitely a lot of fun for the whole family or with friends. Check it out next year in a city near you!