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Asian Night Market to Open in Pasadena


As much as I’d to watch people gag on balut or contort their face at the first whiff of stinky tofu, is it possible to have a successful Asian night market in any city outside of Asia? Videos of the Richmond Night Market in BC looks weak. Predictions?

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  1. Richmond B.C. night market is great. But I share your skepticism about anything down here. I think there's too much night life, plus it not THAT hot here at night.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      And Pasadena is an odd place to have it.

      Close off parts of Valley Blvd between San Gabriel and Del Mar -- and use the Focus Plaza as an anchor -- and then you really might have something.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        that's a traffic nightmare waiting to happen.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          +1. It would be a logistical nightmare, though.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            It's actually a great place and they have even better locations then the one they chose. If they can get bigger in the future there is the alley above the goldline right of way which is completely empty and extends about three blocks and has other connecting alleyways as well

            There are tons of asians in the area as well as non-asians (myself one) who have traveled and love the concept and only wish we had something like it.

            1. re: Harrison71

              I don't think people are arguing that it's not a great place. It is a great place, that is why it has such horrible traffic patterns, which is why a night market would be a bad idea.

              1. re: choctastic

                I have to agree: it's really not very ideal if you're hoping to absorb the number of people likely to come through. Slew of bus stops but no close Metro stop means that most will be encouraged to drive and there's very little parking in that area unless everyone decides to swamp the Paseo lot.

                I've been periodically checking on the site to see if they've added transit/parking directions? Nope. HUGE red flag.

                I think most of this board would be behind this idea in principle but I think many of us have also seen, through experience, how good intentions + massive crowds + insufficient planning = a bad experience.

                1. re: odub

                  I'm inclined to agree with you. I think focusing a night market around a metro rail stop is an amazing idea, albeit certainly not an original one, since this is often how these kinds of things work in Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia.

                  Look at the metro-adjacent Shilin night market in Taipei for a prime example of how to bring the large groups of people in and out of the market. Look at the photo I've attached-- you want to bring more cars than you need to into that environment? (That's why a huge number of Taiwanese drive motor scooters.)

                  From Wikipedia:
                  Tourist traffic has increased in recent years due to the opening of the Taipei Metro system. The night market is closest to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line (Red Line) as it's known by locals. From the platform of Jiantan Station, riders can see the enclosed food court located across the street from the MRT station.

                  I was told by the people at Huge Tree that the organizer drives a Lamborghini, which says to me that he's probably not thinking about public transportation the way he should be in organizing an event for the masses.

                  But I remain hopeful, and hope to be proven wrong.

                  Mr Taster

        2. i don't really see what restaurants (if any) are signed up to participate in this thing yet. looks like they have some retail stuff for sale though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: andytseng


            No food vendor listed save for 1 dragon beard candy guy? I'm afraid for this "event".

            1. re: TonyC

              I don't see how this will work. Being in Pasadena, it likely won't attract the vendors that could provide the "real" night market fare.

              Recall last year how the Taiwanese tourism board was talking of setting these up around LA (they had one in Hollywood)? So, this is an indy producer doing the same?...seriously wonder about it.

              1. re: JThur01

                There’s enough buzz that I’m sure there will be a large crowd...should be fun. However, I think foodies from the 626 will be disappointed standing in line for bites that the mother restaurants down in Alhambra or SG can pack for you to go in 5 minutes.

          2. This has potential, the key is how lax the food department will be with the food vendors. I doubt they'd let them get away with the stuff they do in asian, which in some cases is a shame. Anyway, as far as the asian population of the 626 goes, what do they do? they aren't really big into clubbing out on the westside, so what are the options? Bowling? Movies? hanging out at a friends place? if the night market plays this right, they could be on to something.

            I've been to the night market in richmond, it's nice but the stands are basically food, clothing or cell phone accessories. If they could diversify this a bit more, make it fun for everyone, then who knows...

            1 Reply
            1. re: chezwhitey

              "I doubt they'd let them get away with the stuff they do in asian, which in some cases is a shame."

              Asian penchant for suing the pants off of everyone and anyone with deep pockets doesn't rise nearly to the same level it does here in the (S)U(E) S of A... ;-D>

            2. You should have labelled this thread "Dragon Beard Candy Vendor signed up for Pasadena Asian Night Market". That really would have caused a stir on the board.

              1. I was actually thinking about opening a stand but I think I'd rather wait and see how they do on their first run to see if there are even any vendors and what the crowd will be like.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Johnny L

                  There might not be a second one :)

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      thanks for being "that guy". I didn't wanna be "that guy".

                      That said, "6th Taste" SGV seems to be doing well.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        It'll be fun to see how horribly unorganized this is for a first time event. Who knows it could surprise us.

                  1. Hmmmm, on Oakland between Colorado and Union. Isn't Oakland and Colorado one of the big Le Cordon Bleu campus', real Asian food or culinary students' approximations?

                    Oakland and Colorado: http://goo.gl/6XVCe

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ChinoWayne

                      Considering the enormous Chinese population of the San Gabriel Vally, I am confused why everyone thinks Pasadena is so off base. Mind you, I avoid Old Town like the plague, so there is that.
                      I have been to the Richmond Night Market a lot - great food.

                      Pasadena is such a food desert, I welcome anything that might make an improvement!!

                      1. re: mendogurl

                        > Pasadena is such a food desert, I welcome anything that might make an improvement!!

                        Agreed, though the desert has more oases than it did a few years ago::


                        1. re: mendogurl

                          I like the choice in location, just outside of old town so the parking shouldn't be too bad, but close enough if you want to walk over. I don't see what's wrong with adding some different cultures to pasadena. If you build it, they will(might) come. Some one has to do it and I commend them for giving it a shot. That being said, I could see this also doing well in alhambra off of main street, perhaps where they have their sunday farmer's market. Another location that might be interesting is Temple City just off of Las Tunas.

                          1. re: chezwhitey

                            I don't think Temple City would work, today's Camelia festival already created a clusterf*** of traffic of people trying to avoid Las Tunas combined with crazy Asian drivers.

                      2. Half of me is skeptical. The other half is excited. Skepticited.

                        1. And the organizers answer the skeptics by listing available food items on Eater:

                          "Beef noodle soup
                          Beef pancake rolls
                          Chinese donut sticks
                          Chinese sausage combo
                          Crystal rolls
                          Curry chicken rice
                          Curry fish balls
                          Curry squid balls
                          Dragon Whiskers Candy
                          Filipino inspired tacos/burritos/fries
                          Fresh coconut drinks
                          Fried turnip cake Chiu Chow style
                          HK style egg waffles
                          Indonesian BBQ satay skewers
                          Indonesian fried noodles
                          Japanese dangos
                          Japanese red bean pancakes
                          Lamb and squid skewers
                          Marinated eggs and beancurd
                          Mixed cold plate (pig' ears & tofu)
                          Oyster & intestine vermicelli (mien xian)
                          Peanut sauce cold noodles
                          Satay beef noodles
                          Shao mai
                          Sticky rice
                          Stinky tofu
                          Taiwanese crepes
                          Taiwanese fried chicken filets
                          Taiwanese sausages
                          Taiwanese spaghetti
                          Zhong zi "

                          I'm unrelated. Wish them well. Of note: something like this happens every year ( http://asianamericanexpo.com/ ), also at various SGV cities during Chinese New Year/Tet, also during Moon Festival (Puente Hills Mall), except it's during day time.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: TonyC

                            I feel the Asian American Expo is relatively unknown to the non-Asian crowd while this even is a bit more visible. I've never seen ads for the AA Expo outside of the SGV.

                            1. re: Johnny L

                              Also, a trade show has a significantly different feel from a "night market" held on the streets. If I remember correctly from going to that Expo when I was a kid... a lot of vendors are large companies selling pre-packaged food, not local businesses/restaurants.

                              I'm excited for this event and hope they can pull it off! :)

                              1. re: matikin9

                                The Expo now has two rows of outside booths with food being prepared - aside from the one bldg solely devoted to sampling of food and beverages for sale. It is definitely one of my favorite annual events.

                                1. re: shebop

                                  I think the biggest advantage of this particular event will be the time. All the Expo/New Year Festivals are held in the morning. This one is sexier because it'll be at night.

                                  It'll be hard for them to have as many food vendors as the Expo though, IMO.

                          2. Just a reminder-- it's this Saturday. My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ and I plan to be there, along with a small gaggle of Tasterlings®.

                            I was chatting with the people at Huge Tree Pastry this weekend and was told they they were approached to be vendors for this, but it would mean they'd be working 18 hour shifts, and the cost outweighed the benefit. Too bad-- they'd be a great addition to the night market scene.

                            Mr Taster

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Especially because HTP's gonna BLOW THE F UP after their TV debut in May.

                              1. re: TonyC

                                Thanks for the heads up. Details?

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    Tony, any info on this?

                                    Was at HTP yesterday. No unusual activity.

                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                      I do. But I got conned into an NDA.

                                      Ask 'em about it. It's coming in May.

                                1. re: TonyC

                                  You give us a taste of honey yet no proof of the honeycomb?

                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                  I'll be there and add me in the "half excited/half skeptical" crowd. I just think this thing is going to get swamped and you're going to see similar logistical problems that other food festivals have experienced: crazy long lines, running out of food, etc.

                                  I also don't know if you can remotely capture the feel of a night market in Pasadena but I'm willing to look past. I'm mostly just wondering at what point will this tip over and become a fiasco (even though I'm hoping it won't).

                                  1. re: odub

                                    I applaud the effort to put something like this together and hope it works out.

                                    What gives me the most pause is this photo:


                                    Note that it's at the Chefs Center of California in Pasadena. This suggests that many of the food vendors with not be practiced artisans, but enthusiastic, fresh-faced neophytes. As we've seen with food trucks, this hasn't always resulted in chow-worthy food.

                                    That said, I'm rooting for the success of this event, and hope somehow it all comes together.

                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                      As I noted above, the venue is right in front of Le Cordon Bleu, coincidence?

                                      1. re: Peripatetic

                                        Ah Peripatetic, it's true. At my mother-in-law's interview at the US ETNAE (Embassy-That's-Not-An-Embassy) in Taipei, the applicant ahead of her in the queue was scheduled to attend an organized tour in the US, but was denied a Visa because she listed her occupation as chef. "Too many chefs from Taiwan immigrate illegally," the officer said. I think this is the reason that Taiwanese street food in LA has never really risen to any level of greatness. The Taiwanese that are here seem to be largely monied professionals and business people, not great cooks. We have yet to find any Taiwanese street food that rises to any level of greatness... my wife's favorites- the glutinous meatballs, the stinky tofu, the bloody rice cakes, even the best ones in Rowland Heights are really quite mediocre in the grand pantheon of Taiwanese snack foods.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          > even the best ones in Rowland Heights

                                          Stinky Tofu King for tofu of course, but where do you go for acceptable glutinous meatballs and bloody rice cakes?

                                          1. re: Peripatetic

                                            Honestly, we stopped trying years ago... I think the last bloody rice cake we had was at Dolphin Bay, but I don't remember where we had the meatball... I think it might have been at Yi Mei but I wouldn't swear to it.

                                            Mr Taster

                                          2. re: Mr Taster

                                            Is it still possible to get bloody rice cakes here? I'm not a big fan of the stuff but I remember the staff at Sinbala told us years ago that certain ordinances prevented them from offering it on their menu anymore.
                                            And thanks for this bit on Taiwanese street food-my recent trip to Taiwan made me realize that it was lacking here in the US! I tried my best not to complain too much when I got back from my trip because I'm sure my friends would get sick of hearing "food is so much better in Taiwan" stories.

                                          3. re: Peripatetic

                                            From what I’ve heard, they’ll have combat experienced cooks such as those from Mama’s Lu. However, I wouldn’t go to a night market just to eat foods I already know. I wanna eat food from the greenhorns…sure, it may suck, but isn’t that the adventure of such an event?

                                            BTW, Ding Tai Fung started with someone who had no prior experience in any five star restaurants. Who knows, perhaps the seed of the next DTF empire will receive its first drops of water this Saturday.

                                            1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                                              > Ding Tai Fung started with someone who had no prior experience in any five star restaurants.

                                              I didn't say lightning won't strike. I'm just not expecting it to. I hope it does (metaphorically, of course).

                                      2. Did anyone actually got to this? Care to comment?

                                        2 Replies