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Jul 12, 2011 08:28 AM

Night It Up and Waterfront Night Market 2011

2 Asian-style Night Markets coming up: Markham July 15-16 and downtown Toronto July 21-24 Which one is worth visiting, on which day and at what time are the crowds and lineups generally okay, and what to look out for other than stinky tofu and octopus balls?

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  1. They say they're expecting 30,000 people at the downtown T & T. Sounds like lineups to me.

    1. The downtown one will be less crowded/smaller, uptown one will be a zoo. It usually gets super rammed right when it gets dark as folks prefer the feel of nighttime.

      You'll see way more younger asian kids uptown as that's where they all live. Parking will be hell as 95% of the people will be driving to the Markham event.

      I assume we'll see the murtabak folks, fresh beef/pork jerky, xinjiang lamb skewers, grilled squid, hk style egg waffle, etc....

      2 Replies
      1. re: aser

        The vendor list is up for Night It Up.

        What stood out to me; oyster pancakes (ke zai jian), murtabak, bing tang hu lu.

        1. re: KerryL

          I haven't had oyster pancakes in years! I would love to have a good one sometime soon but I will not brave the masses for this one. If you have one do report back!

      2. I went last year to the T&T one, some of the line ups were stupid (like the stinky tofu) but I had a 10 buck lobster with just some lemon was so good I want to go back (with hope they have it again) . My friend did not like it due to the crowd

        1 Reply
        1. re: bsv

          The downtown market definitely has lobster! And no lineups for any of the stinky tofu (3 different vendors).

        2. What would you like to see there?

          4 Replies
          1. re: KhaoSanRoad

            We have decided to go to the downtown one on opening day at opening time this coming week to beat the crowds if possible. CTV report says the Markham one is expecting 60,000 over 2 days (yesterday and today). Either sound overwhelmingly crowded but delicious.

            I don't actually know much about asian street food, having never been to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok, etc. I suppose I'd be willing to try just about anything on a skewer, or non-messy finger food, or anything cool and refreshing for summer. Anything that you can't readily get at a restaurant in the GTA would be welcome.

            1. re: Food Tourist

              I went last night and indeed it was super crowded. I knew that going in so it didn't bother much, but if you're easily annoyed with crowds..........

              Some stalls were great, others were clearly a ripoff because of poor product. Prices seems to be escalating each year. You will pay 1.5 - 2.5x more than a comparable stand serving the same food at Pac Mall/1st Markham Place. I think that rings true for most food festivals.

              Although housing less vendors, the T&T market gets a lot of the same stalls as Night It Up. You should enjoy it.

              I wish more people on the white side of things would give this event a chance as it's 99% Asian attended. Yes I know it's in Markham, but it's still a part of the GTA. It's a prime example of the supposed multiculturalism in our city. Yes we're multicultural but racial lines are clearly drawn still.

              This can be seen from the top down. Conventional media give little coverage to one of the most successful foodie events in the GTA. Key emphasis would be the food nerd blogs that is "whitey" restaurant centric and followed by many of you as evident by posting patterns seen here. Nary a mention on any of them about Night It Up. A comparable example like the food truck event draws a great deal of press. The difference is night & day.

              If using location as an excuse, the Toronto Rib Fest is similar in nature (suburban, car-centric), yet again generates more press.

              I'm happy people are paying more attention to this street/food truck trend of late, but night it up's been doing for a good few years before it became trend du jour.

              Toronto Life is a key example, which again speaks of the waspyness of their editorial slant.

              1. re: aser

                The Star had an article yesterday providing a good history of the event and its young organizers.

                1. re: aser

                  The T&T Waterfront Night Market has about 40-50 more vendors than NIU

            2. Two words to sum up most of the stalls at Night It Up:

              Amateur Hour.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Crispier Crouton

                Fortunately, I have easy parking to most of these events and do not have to worry about parking. We go mostly because it's something to do on a summer night.
                But agree find it difficult to understand why folks would line up for 1 hour or more to pay 2X the price for simple street food made by 'students' (?) or non-restaurants that you can get at Pacific Mall or other places. We used to go for stinky tofu but lineups are too too long. Diana's oysters if lineups are short. But lining up for fish balls, lamb skewers, oyster pancake and rice rolls in a crowded parking lot does not appeal to me.
                Still a great event as they are very popular and packed. When I went to the Market Village one a few weeks ago, we walked there. got there late and still was able to enjoy the free concert and buy some funky jewellry. So we had fun.
                Maybe if there are more frequent, would have less crowds and be more enjoyable. I remember a few years ago, I thought Vancouver had weekly night market on weekends.

                1. re: caitlink

                  This applies to any of the food fests in Toronto. Whether it's Taste of the Danforth or Ribfest, I just don't see any logic in lining up in sweltering heat to eat food served on styrofoam at the same price (or more) than what you'd pay in a restaurant.

                  1. re: sbug206

                    If you break it down to its simplest element of ribs served on styrofoam, I can see your point, but these summer festivals are so much more than that. Personally, I look forward to Burlington Ribfest each Labour Day weekend. "Canada's Largest Ribfest" may not be a culinary masterpiece but what is does provide is a great day or night out for a group of friends to gather in a park, sample a wide variety of ribs, have a few brews, listen to a couple of good bands and soak up some atmosphere. All this while contributing to a good cause, i.e. helping the local Rotarians raise funds for charity. So while I enjoy a fine night out a Colborne Lane, Splendido or Blacktree... Ribfest also has its place in my culinary calendar. And the ribs are pretty darn good too!!