On a beautiful comfortable Friday night on April 30th held Lucky Rice’s Night Market, hosted by David Chang. This night market event is based on popular nighttime markets throughout Asia, found in Taipei all the way to Kuala Lumpur. Typically speaking, these night markets feature various cheap street foods, shops, and fun games.
In its first year, Lucky Rice was able to secure 26 different restaurants for the Archway, where the main event was held, and eight alcoholic beverage vendors located in the Loft. Being a passionate Taiwanese foodie, I was very excited to see how this event would come into fruition. The Archway under the Manhattan Bridge provided the perfect awning for all vendors to place their stands and prepare their street foods for the masses. Traditional and non-traditional restaurants highlighted Asian street food in small portions. All the vendors provided free samples and optional foods for purchase ranging from $1 to $3. Some highlights of the night included:
Mantao’s Spicy Pork Sandwich was nicely marinated, and the mantou (aka. Chinese steam bread) with sesame seeds on top offset the saltiness of the meat. It is quintessentially an Asian mini burger. Mantao’s partnership with American Airlines provided discount coupons for flights and a fortune cookie.
I really liked Kuma Inn and Uni Nom’s “Adoba and Atchara” Pork Belly. These days it is pretty easy to find pork belly in a dish, but I found that they did a particularly good job in marinating the meat – soft, oily, and salty. They provided small amounts of fatty goodness, which made it a perfect amount for me to enjoy without feeling too overwhelmed with the oily portions.
The Setai’s (South Beach, Miami) Crisp Fried Pork Belly served with Kimchi and Island Creek Oyster was different than Kuma Inn’s but just as good. It was important to take a bite of the pork belly FIRST and then slurping your oyster afterward. The oyster refreshed my palette from the fattiness of the fried pork belly. Check out this traditional kimchi recipe for some amazing Korean flavors.
Of course I had to get Baohaus’s Stinky Tofu since stinky tofu is one of Taiwan’s traditional dishes. The constant reaction was, “Oh my gosh, that really smells”. However, in my mind I believe that the smellier the tofu, the better the taste. Even though it was not the best stinky tofu I have had, I was glad that Baohaus was serving it. The stinky tofu certainly brought me back to my memories eating this street food in Taiwanese night markets.
The Malaysian Pavilion, located in a small section right before the Archway, was open to the public and featured 11 restaurants where small samples of food were sold. I didn’t eat anything here though I am sure there were plenty of good eats. Yet, I did explore one particular stand – the free photo booth where you can dress yourself in traditional Asian accessories like a fan or red umbrella. You were provided with a free souvenir picture so my friends and I went twice.
There was definitely too much good food to mention all in one post. Lucky Rice did a great job encompassing what a night market truly is – good street food and drink mist bright lights enjoyed in pleasantly warm weather. The Night Market revealed the beauty of the Archway of the Manhattan Bridge decorated with lantern and night-lights. I am looking forward to next year’s night market, and prepared to eat my heart out.
And more food pictures of the night for your pleasure.