MPK Night Market in Monterey Park
on.aol.com

The Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the MPK Night Market. This is a once-a-month event on a Friday along side the Monterey Park Farmers’ Market in Barnes Park. The event is held on the field and courts. The aroma of all of the food cooking and grilling will drag you to the park like zombies for brains. Seriously! The next MPK Night Market is scheduled for Friday, November 21, 2014, from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with FREE admission.

  • Travel tip: Try to arrive early. The parking is very limited and you may need to walk a few blocks to the park if parking in the residential area surrounding Barnes Park.

Here’s a sampling of what you might expect at the next MPK Night Market:

TaNoTa Takoyaki defines takoyaki as “A ball-shaped Japanese snack made of wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan.” It is typically filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger, green onion, and tempura crunches.” The guys are in the front filling and turning the takoyaki out like there is no tomorrow. Awesome assembly line, but don’t be disappointed if you still have to wait. It won’t be that long. The Original with Takoyaki Sauce was quite tasty. They really loaded on the bonito flakes for a salty fish flavor to add to the mix. Mentaiko with spicy cod roe sauce was my favorite! I loved the spicy cod roe. These were cooked a little fast and were still a bit liquidy inside, but the flavor was so ono! I can’t wait to have another order of these tasty balls.

Ice Cream Lab uses liquid nitrogen to make instantly frozen ice creams. It’s an awesome show to see when they are making it. The liquid nitrogen flows into the mixing bowl as a blanket of fog drapes the surfaces around. The mixing paddle starts and churns the ingredients into instant ice cream. Blue Velvet is vanilla ice cream mixed with blue velvet cupcake and cream cheese frosting. It was light and creamy. The cream cheese frosting was very subtle. I would pump it up a bit more. But the blue velvet cupcake addition is very inventive and made an awesome presentation in the cup. I might have to try the Salt Lick Crunch next time. You had me at “sea salt and caramel”!

Aunty Merry serves up Indonesian Street Food. The Grilled Corn was grilled perfectly with a swipe of their own sweet sauce. It was good, but would be better with some salt sprinkled on. Strawberry Lemonade was a colorful cup with strawberry and lemon slices. It tasted more like fruit infused water versus lemonade, but good nonetheless. If you keep your cup, you get discounted refills. Happy Soda was awesome! It tasted like a creamy coconut soda and I love coconut! They also included these awesome flashing color cubes in their drinks. Check out the video on OC Food Diva’s Instagram. When we were driving home, it was a like a disco in the car.

Rice Balls of Fire is a Korean take on the musubi. Japanese make musubi as a creative touch to rice. Sometimes, they are filled with ume or meat filling. But most of the time, they are just rice pressed into a tightly rounded triangle shape with nori decoratively wrapped around it. In Hawaii, musubi is a portable meal like a giant nigiri sushi with layer of pressed rice on the bottom, meat layer (usually spam, but could also be chicken, fish, teri beef, hot dog, etc.) and then wrapped in a sheet of nori. Rice Balls of Fire’s Spam Egg Kimchi Musubi was disappointing. It was very dry. The rice didn’t stay together so one bite made it fall apart. The eggs needed shoyu and the spam needed sauce. They should wrap in a full sheet of nori if they don’t want to pack the rice tightly. It will help keep it together. The Pork Belly Kimchi Rice Balls were also disappointing. At first, it wowed me with the sheer size of each rice ball. I should have just ordered one. Again, the rice was too dry and the rice ball just crumbled. I needed a fork to finish it. There was lots of kimchi inside but no pork belly was to be found. I’m not sure I would order from this truck again.

What the Funnel makes, you guessed it, funnel cakes. The original with powdered sugar was very light and crispy. The powdered sugar just made it sweet enough for a great end to the evening. I might try one of their savory funnel cakes like the Honey Chicken next time.

All and all, a great food experience is bound to be had by all. Next time, I want to look through the farmers market as well. Someone had a giant squid on a stick that I just have to have!

For more information:
MPK Night Market

Like them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter and Instagram