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There were many parts to the 626 Night Market, ranging from anime, art, plush toys, and live music.


After all the savory food, it was time for something sweet and cool to end the day:)

 I chose Hawaiian shaved ice, half pineapple, half lilikoi 🙂

 

After all the food and crowds, I wandered over to the Santa Anita Racetrack directly behind the festival.

Time to say goodbye 🙂

 

 

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Although I have traveled to about 18 countries, I’ve never been to Asia. 626 Night Market brings a bit of the flavor of the bustling open air food stalls to the US, and like a tourist, I explored for the first time this past week-end. (There will be 3 more week-ends this Summer if you want to go). I took so many pictures, I will be posting a Part 2 tomorrow, but in the meantime, enjoy today’s photo journey 🙂

I went as they opened, so it wasn’t quite a “night” market, but the crowds grew so big by the time I left 2 hours later that I was glad to have missed the long lines I saw later in the evening.

The only downside to going early is that many of the vendors were not set up yet.

I don’t know if they had not yet put up any signage in English or if this it….

A few had displays of their food.

 

Some places gave out samples.

It was fun to watch some of the preparations:)

I decided on grilled squid for my first bite and just as in Asia, none of the cooks spoke English.

The squid on a skewer for $6 was HUGE and delicious with a spicy BBQ sauce!

After walking around all the food stalls twice, I settled on a steamed bun for my next bite.

This was the biggest bun I’ve ever eaten, at least 6″ in diameter and very very hot.

I chose seafood with a side of garlic sauce for $5.50 and it was a very savory filling choice in a pillowy fresh bun with a medium sized shrimp in the center.

Time to get some more cash before continuing my adventure….

Living in the center of town means that musicians meander beneath my windows when there is a festival, so this year’s European Heritage Festival began when I saw and heard this 🙂

I walked the two blocks to the center of my neighborhood to see all the booths.

 France was of course represented by wine and champagne,

local honey,

 as well as handmade soaps.

 Italy was prominent with masks,

glass jewelry,

glass gifts,

 and of course food.

 Poland had a handcraft stand along with a food stand.

Spain displayed and sold their famous jamon

 at prices befitting the high quality of pork fed only acorns and aged for 2 years.

Most stands had both crafts and food like Romania’s,

 which had a line around the stand for the grilled meats.

Sweden showed off warm clothes.

 Poland displayed their handmade bags.

Belgium sold their waffles and beers.

England had tea and jam,

 and Scotland sold their famous marmalade.

 Musicians roamed the streets all afternoon,

making it a street celebration all day long 🙂

A good day for me begins with blue skies, warm weather, and a live band like this heralding the European Market Festival in my neighborhood. These guys gave me a concert directly under my window, one of the perks of living on a pedestrian street!

Instead of the usual market held three times a week in the enter square, today was a European market day with booths representing food, crafts, and information from various nations in the European Union.

I’m not sure which nation this guy comes from, but he seemed pretty happy high above the crowds.

This troll didn’t look mean or scary at all, maybe because he was the mascot for the beer bar below.

France showcased products like local honey and pollen

to the hearty bacon, potatoes and onion dish, Tartiflette.

Neighboring Spain had sausages and ham from Ibérico carved to order,

the Italians showed off Murano jewelry and glassware,

and the Hungarians sold traditional clothing.

Wandering around made me hungry, so I stopped at the Portuguese booth for some bolinhos de bacalhau (cod), meat, and chicken, all under 1.5  each (about $2 US)

My favorite was the chicken, second to the bacalhau, but since they weren’t hot, my opinion may have been different if I had heated them.

Deciding I wanted hot food, I stopped by the Romanian booth for some grilled meat. The bottom is an uncased sausage called mititei, made of lamb and beef that was slightly spiced with black pepper, thyme, paprika, and garlic. It’s very good on its own or you can dip it in mustard. They served it between bread if you preferred a sandwich, and the grilled pork end was a free appetizer with my order that cost all of 2€ (about $3 US). They also offered a taste of Romanian wine which was quite good for only 5.50 per bottle (about $7 US); it was my first taste of Romanian wine and I intend to explore more.

There was plenty of beer and cider for sale as well as wine, and some of the stands even had presses and refrigerators.

There were desserts to go like waffles, or these mini crepes from Brussels, ten for 3€  ($5 UD)

or more refined sweets from Malta or Cypress.

With tables and seats set up throughout, you could sit and enjoy the fountains

or watch children build Eiffel Towers

before the end of the festival

when of course there was also music and pageantry:)

 

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