When we think of night markets, major cities in Asia come to mind. From Seoul to Singapore, these market-places offer everything from widely beloved comfort foods to specialty dishes to jewels of culinary brilliance. Saturday Night Flavor, the second event of the LA Times Food Bowl night market weekend, was packed with people yearning to eat their way around the world on Paramount Studios’ back lot—just as it was for the venerable Taste LA food festival before 2020.
Although it took up half the space of its earlier iteration, Saturday Night Flavor (along with the Smoked Soirée BBQ extravaganza the night before and the Backlot Brunch on Sunday) not only reminded attendees of what they missed most about travel but also the fact LA’s diverse restaurant scene provides real sustenance and substance in good times and bad. Every enclave and neighbourhood bringing Thailand, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and others to LA’s backyard drew impressive queues. While those in line were rewarded for their patience with generous portions, chefs and servers looked like they had a lot of fun receiving both loyal supporters and newcomers.
Even with all of the amazing, aromatic Asian fare (Park’s Barbeque, BB.Q Chicken USA, Lum Ka Naad, Banh Oui, Katsu Sando, the Brothers Sushi, Go Go Gyoza), it wouldn’t be a Los Angeles night market without street tacos (Tacos 1986), pizza slices (Gino’s East’s Chicago, Apollonia’s Pizzeria), Somali fried rice (Flavors from Afar) and more. The wildly eclectic Wanderlust Creamery offered an ideal way to finish off a celebration of the eclectic LA restaurant scene with such globetrotting flavours as Japanese Neapolitan (matcha, hojicha, and black sesame), Mango and Sticky Rice (house-made rice milk, coconut cream, and swirls of alphonso mango) and Ume (purple yam) Malted Crunch.
Main Stage cooking demonstrations, meanwhile, allowed glamourous Los Angeles Times food columnist Jenn Harris banter about how-tos with a variety of chefs (some featured on her show, The Bucket List: Dumplings) and curate a selection of dumplings from CHD Mandu, Go Go Gyoza, Hui Tou Xiang, Lunasia Dim Sum House, Monta Factory, and others.
Among the non-profit organizations the Food Bowl raises money and awareness for, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is noteworthy for its fighting hunger in Los Angeles County for almost 50 years and providing more than 1,500 million meals to those in need.
For more information on future LA Food Bowl events, visit lafoodbowl.com.