There are always lots to do on a Friday night in Los Angeles. Folks usually attend one of the many events happening in and around the city – like listening to live street buskers at the Santa Monica Pier, watching a live comedy show at Laugh House in Hollywood or eat freekishly good foods at the 626 Night Market, which is where I ended up with my friends one Friday night.
The 626 Night Market is a food truck haven located in Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. Popular trucks make their way there and set up shop, leaving their thick aromas to permeate throughout the complex, drawing salivating visitors to their mile long queues, to eventually enjoy bewilderingly delicious foods that one can only find in Los Angeles, California.
Some of the highlights of the 626 Night Market are AB Sorbets, Boba Bear, and savory sorts like Evan’s Smokehouse or Gangnam Food, just to name a handful. Whatever you choose to eat, one thing is for sure, you’ll blow a lot of moolah, wait in line forever and become uncomfortably full by the night’s end. But that’s the fun of it, baby, cus this is LA, the city’s culture and there just ain’t no otha way about it!
So, the average price you’ll pay for a meal is about $12 – $15 on top of the $5 admission fee. Trust me, though, it’s worth at least one night of your life on Earth.
The portions are decent and then some not so; it’s honestly like playing Russian roulette, but the best thing to do is just watch, listen and observe. You will usually find a magical moment occurring right in front of your eyes, during which a hungry patron takes their first bite into something delish – like the soft and chewiness of a fatty piece of slow broiled teriyaki shanks cut into devilishly thick slices on top of a Himalayan salt block. Yum! When you see something like this happen, though – you know, the eyes rolling to the back of someone’s head, their face paralyzed with the flavor bomb occurring in their mouth and time seeming to stop all around them, moment – then, that’s the place you want to eat. Trust you, me – eat there.
Another way to scope the best places at which to eat is to find the longest lines – I’m talking those pain in the ass type lines that seem crazy to stand in. Well, to be honest, the crazy thing is not to stand in those lines because you’ll pay for it by chancing and losing to a shit hole meal from a shit hole truck. That’s the way the cookie crumbles in LA, though, especially when you’ve become a street food snob along with everyone else. You can thank the whole essence of LA for this because authenticity is nonnegotiable when it comes to our food – after all, we’ve got the whole world and every culture in between here and they keep the authenticity real. Mmmkay?
Moreover, in LA, it’s not likely you’ll find an incredible gem of a place if their line is shortest. After all, this city is a world of foodies and culinary elitism that everyone understands even without the background or the budget. For example, my living in Koreatown, Los Angeles, a known food Mecca, has literally tainted my life’s existence with food snobbery. I’m just being honest with you. Because I am surrounded by culinary gems, I have become the literal most biggest pain in the ass to bring anywhere because, let’s be honest, nothing can compare to the food you’ll find in KTown… nothing.
Anyway, since I was hanging out with friends, Carl, Sean and Thuan, who grew up going to the 626 Night Market, they helped me scope out the best trucks with which to try some delectable eats.
First off, we had a savory hunk of teriyaki shank… yes, exactly the one I described above. It was delish and probs the best thing we ate all night. The portion was alright but not enough, to be honest, and the cost was $15 out of pocket. Sorry, no pictures to flaunt here. I was obvs in “the moment”.
Then, we ate an assorted kabob plate from Kapamilya Filipino Restaurant. This meal was $15 bucks too and pretty flossin’. Our assortment included some pig ears, chicken teriyaki, pork teriyaki and cow intestine – all of that meatiness lathered in some malt vinegar and BAM – culinary dreams! I’ll be honest with you, never in my life had I tried something as wild as pig ears or cow intestine and although the pig ears were pretty good, I don’t think I’d fancy having it again. It just didn’t fit my palate. And the cow intestine… yuk! Not the food truck’s doing, because my friends thoroughly enjoyed it, but I could not handle the intensity of that flavor. The intestine is an extreme flavor experience and I felt like I was sucking on a cow pie the whole while which, with the visual, was not a good combo. Oh well, the most important thing is that I tried it.
Later on, I washed everything down with an aquas frescos de mango and it was bomb dot com. Not too sweet, not too iced down – just perf and made me feel like I was truly living up the summer in that very moment.
Next, we walked around the 626 Night Market for a bit and played a game of bottle ring toss. This was one of the more popular game booths at the market and honestly, I didn’t see anybody win a single round. LOL! Betta luck next time, suckas!
Ohhh and I loved this idea: the instagram food booths. They had lights and a light box with backdrop and it was so cool! Definitely reflective of the day and age we live in.
Alas, we discovered the funnel cake folks. Such delectableness with creamy vanilla ice-cream, powdered sugar, a dollop of whip and finely chopped nuts. Go ahead, appreciate this!
Oh yeah, and worth mentioning is the fermented tofu joint. They literally reeked up the whole market, although they offered one of the healthier food options available. Nonetheless, they were fit right next to the funnel cake folks, which I think the market organizers did them dirty for that because funnel cake sponges up the aromas and “tareware” of its environment, but we were lucky that we didn’t taste the stench in our cake. We did get whiffs of it as we ate it though, which wasn’t cute. But no biggie, cuz this ain’t no Michelin star dining, after all.
After eating so much at the 626 Night Market, because the food is always heavenly heavy, we were pooped. We walked around for a bit to walk it off and enjoyed watching the young people flirt and do whatever young people do nowadays, but the night was done for us. On our way out, I discovered these peculiar looking Dr. Seuss trees, but alls I could think about was my home and bed just waiting for me to face plant it like I do at the end of every damn good day well lived.