After hearing much hype over the 626 Night Market, I finally decided to check out the third and latest night market setup this year.

In Taiwan, pushing along a claustrophobic cluster of loud vendor/shop owners and sweaty customers in an often dirty, narrow street was one of my favorite things to do. For those who have not had the opportunity to experience it, this probably sounds like a nightmare; however, what made night markets worth the trouble includes late hours, cheap shopping, and best of all, delicious comfort street food.


Unfortunately for us, this does not quite translate properly in the United States. We often expect better customer service, and the first night market was touted by many as a disaster because of poor planning. Since then, there has been some improvement. The third night market took place at the Santa Anita Park, right next to the famed horse-racing track.

Santa Anita Race Track at Night

Embarrassingly enough, though I have lived in the area my entire life, this was my first time at the Park.

Cash & Bet Any Window
Betting Room

Lines were predictably long for the better booths, especially for skewered meat, some of which I believe were lamb. You could spot these from the large clouds of smoke emitting from the sides of the tents, especially during the slight drizzle of rain.

Woman Cooking Lamb Skewers.

In the middle of the area was a fountain surrounded by food trucks. Since we opted not to wait 30+ minutes for food, we tried The Mighty Boba Truck (better boba than Flour + Tea, but not the best), Yeh’s Food (simple, but delicious mince pork rice and tea eggs), and Mama Musubi (decent Volcano handroll).

The Mighty Boba Truck

A majority of the booths had brick-and-mortar shops around the area, though there were a few smaller start-ups. Prices, of course, cannot compare with night markets in Asia, and also reflect the novelty of a night market in the United States.

We also saw an interesting character wielding a foil-wrapped (styrofoam?) sword.

Mysterious Character

Conclusion: An okay experience, bettered by the bumping into of friends. Parking was easy to find, but Asian drivers are notorious for a reason. The map is not 100% accurate for vendors; the event is still somewhat disorganized, particularly with the lack of line control, tables to eat at/sit on, and signs labeling/pointing towards certain areas and exits. Yes, lines are long, especially for the better booths, and food can run out early; but this should be expected. Comparison to night markets in Asia for authenticity is moot, given the differences in culture, location, and regulations. As many of the vendors did have physical locations, it is more worth giving the start-ups and places you have not heard of before a try.

Good night.