Three summer weekends, six nights, one mondo food-and-stuff happening: The 626 Asian Night Market returns to Santa Anita on June 8-9, July 6-7, and Aug. 3-4.
A night market is a daily -- or nightly -- occurrence throughout Asia. If you've never been to one, or have yet to take that dream trip to Hong Kong or Singapore or Taiwan, you've likely seen one, or many, on a travel show. They bustle well after sunset with visitors aplenty, all of whom seem to be eating a truly delicious-looking dish.
We're not jealous. (Okay, a little bit.) Visiting an authentic night market is high on many world traveler's lists, as it should be, but we have one of our own here in Southern California: The 626, which returns for three summer weekends on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9.
A summertime happening, The 626 Night Market takes its inspirations and flavors directly from the great markets of Asia, and some of their size, too. Meaning? About 150+ vendors show, serving everything from boba to ginger cakes to deep-fried tofu specialties to Beijing sugar-candied strawberries.
Seriously, food. Just one word. Wait. Let's add a few more: delicious, delicious FOOD. All caps necessary.
And now the dates and the update. Let's start with that update first. Past outings for the 626 have been busy, in every definition of the word. Parking had its challenges and crowds got crowdy. One desires a bustling, vivacious element to a night market, of course, but one also desires to get their food in a timely manner. Understood on all sides.
But organizers have been refining, and this year a new space within a previous location should provide some solutions. Yep, it's still at Santa Anita Park, but look for the market in the Paddock Gardens and not on the infield.
And the other dates? As mentioned, June 8 and 9 will kick things off, but The 626 will return on July 6 and 7 and Aug. 3 and 4.
And the times? Nicely late. Things don't start before 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, wrapping at midnight on Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday. You'll get your sugared strawberries, for sure, but just arrive earlier. Don't wait for the moon to be too high in the sky.