The 626 Night Market has returned to Santa Anita Park for year number six. While this bustling bazaar offers plenty of merchandise, crafts and art vendors, food remains the main attraction. Come hungry and bring plenty of friends so you can take full advantage of 626’s seemingly endless array of stalls which focus predominately on pan-Asian eats. Even though this is a night market, plan to arrive before the sun goes down if you want to avoid long lines for the most popular bites.
626 Night Market Los Angeles
Santa Anita Park
285 Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91007
Dates: July 21-July 23; August 11-August 13; September 1-September 3
This Korean mandu specialist serves over-sized dumplings with hearty fillings housed in colorful wrappers. Workaholic offers rotating options which could include beef bulgogi, shrimp and garlic, or pork and kimchi. It’ll be tough to choose just one mandu, which is why the Instagrammable combo bowl is your best bet. Don’t worry, the accompanying salad with help balance out all those carbs.
No stranger to the Los Angeles food scene, Shrimp Daddy makes its 626 debut this year bringing a taste of Hawaii to Arcadia. Shrimp, shockingly, is the main attraction here and they’re cooked to crisp perfection. The signature garlic butter sauce is beyond addictive and their sides of pineapple, rice, and classic Hawaiian-style macaroni salad ain’t too shabby either. If that’s not enough, Shrimp Daddy also offers Dole Whip, the popular pineapple soft serve made famous outside Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
This Orange County-based seafood specialist serves up fresh oysters and above-average poke bowls that certainly warrant consideration. But the star here is the live uni bowl which is as awe-inspiring to look at as it is to eat. The uber-fresh urchin is served in its own shell, then topped with sushi rice and masago. The cool, sweet creaminess of the uni provides the perfect contrast to the warm rice and salty fish roe for an unforgettable flavor combination.
If the lines don’t draw your attention to this local fermented tofu purveyor, you’ll definitely notice the smell. Don’t let the pungent aroma discourage you from enjoying these delightfully funky cubes of soy-based goodness. The fermented tofu comes in three varieties: fried, grilled, and boiled spicy. Opt for the latter, which features the tofu bathed in a peppery broth that elevates this delicious yet stinky snack.
BBQ of Tian Jin
Charcoal grilled skewers of all sorts are available throughout the 626 Night Market, but perhaps the best are found at this northeastern Chinese stall. Popular snacks like oden and pancakes are on offer but the BBQ is where it’s at, particularly the juicy cumin-spiked lamb kebabs. Priced at only $5 for four skewers, it’s no wonder there’s always a mass of people huddled around Tian Jin’s grills.
It may be tough to save room for dessert, but the halo-halo at mix•e is sure to provide a satisfyingly sweet conclusion to your 626 Night Market experience. The signature Filipino dessert, which translates to “mix mix” certainly lives up to its name, offering condensed milk-soaked crushed ice accompanied by a kitchen sink assortment of goodies including flan, coconut strings, jackfruit and red beans. Just start with the scoop of ube (purple yam) ice cream and work your way down. Though each bite of halo-halo may be different it is consistently delicious.
Article by David Klein.