Monday, May 12, 2014

OC Night Market


This year, I feel like I'm finally getting in touch with my Asian/Japanese roots. I've always been the "whitest" of my friends and, to be honest, it never bothered me. Thanks to (mostly) Annie and Wendy, I'm being reintroduced to the joys of Asian food. I had boba for the first time, have a new appreciation for ramen (beyond the instant packaged kind) and gorge myself on sushi. Annie even promised to take me to try pho sometime in the near future.

So anyway, we went to the 626 Night Market's weekend pop-up in Orange County, which is modeled on the night markets in Asia with food and entertainment. We ate a ton and even had a chance to catch the tail end of the hip hop dance performances (I wish I could dance like that!).

It was such a fun experience, and I'm hoping they come back to Orange County again so I can try some of the other vendors we were too full to go to (like the red velvet egg puffs and the glazed fruit on a stick that Annie was obsessed with finding). 

Here were some of the highlights:

The biggest draw for me was the original ramen burger by Keizo Shimamoto.

Delicious, fatty ramen burger. It was a little chewier than I imagined, and the patties weren't quite as crisp, but it was delicious. I got the original with bacon, and it came with a shoyu glaze that was the best thing I had all night.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to try any of these (sent them home with Annie before cracking open the box), but it was so much fun watching the demo at the booth. Who knew honey and cornstarch could turn into hair-like pieces of candy?

Waited in line to take our picture with the world's largest boba. Cute Annie! Would have been better if the glass was transparent to actually see the boba.

Large potato spiral on a stick. Crazy idea, but I don't think we got the popular one. The flavor was delish, but the potato itself was kind of soggy. I loved the concept though!

I was actually expecting spam musubi and had never gourmet rice balls existed, but these were good—but a little pricey at $3.75 each. Annie loved the 24 belly (pork belly, top image), but my favorite was the barbecue beef (bottom).

Delicious smells coming from this stand, mingling with the not-so-awesome stinky tofu. I think that's one delicacy I'm not interested in sampling in the slightest.

So simple, but delicious. These are kind of like milky buns served with a subtle coffee glaze that's baked onto the bread. I really liked the one without the cream cheese center, but both were good and very warm/fresh!

This was our big disappointment of the night. Despite the long line, the lemonade was not good—and I mean seriously not good, at all. I spent $8 on a jar of strawberry lemonade, and I don't think this is something I would have normally spent even $1 on at a restaurant. It was like drinking pink-colored sour water with a hint of lemon.
Luckily, the juices came in adorable mason jars. Annie got the watermelon mint (this picture is before we took the first sip ... can you tell? Hers was overpoweringly minty, with just a little splash of watermelon.

If I could do anything, I would ... travel the world. No time or hands to write on the board, but this is a beautiful idea. The opposite side of the night market had arts and crafts and other merchandise vendors. That whole area had a very Stars Hollow feel, like I had just walked onto the set of "Gilmore girls." Loved it!

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