As a big foodie myself, I couldn't resist checking out the goods at the summer annual 626 Night Market held in the Arcadia Race Track. When I first came to check it out in 2012 I could hear my stomach grumble from the mere sight of the extravaganza. Asian comfort food from all different cultures filled the air and I was immediately hit with the smell of meat skewers, ramen, stinky tofu (unfortunately), and sweet hoddeok (Korean pancakes filled with syrup and nuts). I couldn't contain myself. I went from vendor to vendor shoving myself through the massive crowds and lines to get my fill of my favorite snacks and meals that by the end I did not have any room to think about dessert. However, like any honest food lover I made room. I ate Taiwanese shaved ice topped with decadent fruit, jellies, and condensed milk and to finish it off I got to witness the largest cup of boba be revealed and get a free cup.
I left with nothing less than a humongous food baby that was bulging out of my shirt before I could even say "I'm stuffed". And I've returned every year since.
The 626 Market not only provide an abundance of local vendors based in restaurants in the Los Angeles area, but a wide array of shopping and activities. You can buy clothes, jewelry, posters, music, and more while watching performances from up and coming Asian American YouTubers, artists, and dancers. What this market represents is the rising of Asian and American culture in the Los Angeles area and through this market it gives everyone an experience that gives an insight to how food is such a large part of our culture. I was surrounded by families and friends within the swarming of people of so many different cultures and amidst the hustle and bustle, the music, the shoving, I heard laughter. I heard the satisfied groans of taking that first bite of succulent fried chicken. Finally, I heard the bringing together of a community through the universal language: food.