This past weekend, 626 Night Market held their 2nd of three flagship events at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. 626 is a weekend affair that revolves around empowering local businesses — both food and retail — nurturing local talents, and celebrating Asian culture. The largest of its kind, the night market showcases over 200 vendors, features live entertainment and art from local artists, and even holds a cosplay contest on the last night.
Admission into the market is $3 with children six and under getting in for free. Free parking is also provided. The real price, however, comes later with the overwhelming assortment of food and merchandise. Walking around 626 feels like being in a lively nighttime bazaar with music and energy pulsating throughout.
At the second event, some of the longer lines at 626 were for Keizo Shimamoto’s ramen burgers and Lucky Ball’s rice bowls and BBQ pork, beef, and chicken skewers. In some cases, lines would block the walkway becoming difficult to navigate your way past. It is recommended to come earlier in the evening to avoid long lines and crowds.
Other than this, the night market was very well organized in terms of separating the food from the retail and craft vendors. The market is organized into six zones: A-C for retail and craft vendors, the art walk, and the main entertainment stage, plus D-F for food vendors. Food trucks, like The Great Food Truck Race winners, The Middle Feast, are interspersed throughout the market. The event’s website offers a helpful directory of the exact locations of vendors, and although there is an excellent variety of options, prior research into the choices may help you avoid mindlessly wandering around the market on an empty stomach.
We tried Rakken’s garlic crab fries ($10), and a pair of filet mignon tacos ($8). The crab was finely chopped and the fries came with an excellent tartar-like sauce.
After quickly scarfing down our main course, we tried Quenelle’s funnel cake ice cream sandwich ($6). Ice cream — strawberries and cream or cookie butter oreo — is sandwiched between two freshly fried funnel cake buns. To avoid maximum meltage, consume quickly. Its recommended to end the night with a refreshing watermelon slush from the Watermelon Slush Stand, or a Lychee Butterfly Pea Tea from Pop’d Up, an ‘urban sweet bar.’
Whether you go for your established favorites like milk tea boba or venture something new like Oko Cafe’s bamboo charcoal KURO burger, 626 Night Market is guaranteed to provide your next culinary adventure. 626 Night Market will have its last flagship event of the year during Labor Day Weekend, September 4-6, 4 PM-1 AM.