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Markets, festivals, special events

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In Los Angeles there is El Mercadito a latino market in East LA with mariachis and food stalls, there is also Thai food stalls on random weekends at the Wat Thai temple in the valley, or a church in South Central that serves BBQ on Sundays.
Does anyone know similar attractions in the Bay AREA? Ethnic or regional markets or festivals? Neighborhood type deals? Im looking for foodstalls of any type of food, or markets with different products, and more exotic, or specific than 99 ranch. I want to crash the sort of events that no one is suppused to knoe about besides the community it is in, or just find some good cheap food. Thank you.

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  1. The Thai buddhist temple comes to mind. In Berkeley, just a couple blocks west of Berkeley Bowl. You missed the Oakland Greek Festival.

    1. "I want to crash the sort of events that no one is suppused to knoe about besides the community it is in" -- I'll give you a research pointer.

      If you make a list of the ethnic groups that live in the Bay Area, use that list to find ethnic or regional societies or communities, then join (often you don't have to be from the place in question, you only need to be an admirer of their culture) or get on their mailing lists. Many of these organizations have social events that include tasty "native" foods. Also, many of these organizations have websites with a resource page that include events, festivals, restaurants and food stores that specialize in their particular cuisine.

      One example: http://www.usajapan.org/

      This idea was actually inspired by one of my husband's great uncles. I went to his funeral a few years back and all sorts of people where there. It turns out he liked to dance and "party" so he joined all these different groups. Everyone laughed and said "oh, we knew he was Mexican, not Swedish, but nobody cared 'cause he was great fun and danced with all the ladies." I thought "What a great way to live!" It was only after I started looking into these organizations that I realized I was getting access to interesting food as well as interesting people.

      1. Churches are good for that information. Usually the food is free. St John the Baptist in El Cerrito has about 60 nationalities and there is often a festival going. Unfortunately they don't put them on the website, so picking up a buletin is the only way to know.

        Often picking up papers at ethnic ... leave me alone .. there' s not a better word ... stores or markets have ads for that type of event. Restaurants often have that type of info on the wall.

        That's how I found out about the Brazilian Festa Junino which you just missed.
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46568

        Also in June/July are the Portuguese Festas
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/410126

        In October is the Nigerian Yam Festival
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40497

        Just before Christmas there is the Filipino sunrise Simbang Gabi
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41731

        In early December there is Guadalupe Day
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42007

        There is Nooroz, Persian New Year in March
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/380828

        Here was a link about local Festivals
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/315408

        BTW, Chowhound changed their url's so the above will contain broken links. To fix them, remove the word 'show'
        Broken
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
        Fixed
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/20924

        Hanging around churches on Sundays, especially Latino, usually turns up food
        http://www.chow.com/digest/2397
        http://www.chow.com/digest/877

        There's a Polish Fesival in Walnut Creek in September I keep meaning to check out.

        Be sure to report your finds for the rest of us.