Recap – 2014 Seattle Night Market

2014 Seattle Night Market

I’ve been going to the Night Market for years. Last year, the amount of food trucks increased. The event has evolved over the years. In 2012, I remember 4 trucks being there. The great thing about the event is that it benefits tons of businesses in the International District. It’s also nice to be able to have a HUGE variety of trucks in one place. Aside from food trucks, there are a lot of other food and craft vendors.

From my perspective, comparing this night market to others worldwide is not a useful exercise. If that is your goal in coming to this event, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s like comparing Mardi Gras to the celebration in New Orleans – it’s simply no comparison. This night market, as others globally, is a reflection of the community.

My recommendation for this event, is to arrive early. I know, I know, I always say that. This is really one event where it’s important if you don’t enjoy crowds. If you love crowds (literally being unable to move around without touching a stranger) then this is the place for you. If you can’t get there early, try to research the food ahead of time so you can make decisions about which lines you want to stand in or come with a group to divide and conquer. Getting around will be very difficult about an hour into the event until the end. This is because the food is restricted to one street – 5th Avenue South. If you have a good idea about what you want to eat, you’ll be free to explore the rest of the market – breakdancing, carnival, putt putt golf, etc. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was late. That meant I didn’t have a clear idea of what the $5 dishes were or or have a chance to see if trucks were running their full menus versus event menus. That was my bad. I spent a lot of time near the mainstage and it was fun as always. Something about being around loud music, happy dancing, and getting my beat on that makes me smile.

My newest dumpling

My favorite purchase of the night was a stuffed dumpling. I’m a kid at heart and many items take me back to my childhood. I’m (slightly) embarrassed to say that I fell asleep cuddling it Saturday night.

Hallava Falafel
Fried Brussels Sprouts

In terms of food, I hit up Hallava Falafel since I heard they had fantastic brussels sprouts. They did not disappoint. The brussels sprouts were portioned well – what I mean by that is some were cut in half and some were whole, making for uniform sizing throughout the dish. Additionally, they were seasoned well. Lack of seasoning is where I believe half of all brussels sprouts fail. I was loving the seasoning! Next, brussels sprouts need to be fried crisp. There’s nothing more disappointing than soggy little bits of veggies that have reincorporated oil. These were crisp and stood up well against oil and the sauce. Overall, I loved it! Topped it off with a Vimto (one of my faves) and all was well with the world.

Fish Basket
Lobster Roll (picture taken on 8/31/14)


Next on my list was Fish Basket. It was only a few weeks ago that I got to try their lobster roll for the first time. It’s quickly become one of my favorites. Nice, toasted bread stands up well to the lobster mix. Large, hearty chunks of lobster is everything I dreamed of and more! I’ve had challenges finding a good lobster roll in Seattle. Typically, I find people who use more filler than lobster. That is absolutely not the case here. Rest assured, you ordered lobster and you’re getting lobster as the STAR of the show! Simply having good seafood is not enough. You have to understand balancing flavors that are complimentary. When you taste this sandwich, there will be no doubt that it has been thoughtfully crafted to give you a memorable experience. Fish Basket has elevated their food to challenge your conceptions of what a food truck is compared to a restaurant. If you can find a better lobster roll for a mere $15, you should buy it. And, let me know where that is because I don’t think it exists in Seattle.

Hawaii’s Donut
Cream filled donut

As a native of Hawaii, anytime I hear of someplace making anything remotely like a malasada, I’m there. Hawaii’s Donut is one such place. Often, places in Seattle tend to make malasadas that are more reminiscent of Okinawan donuts. I’m from an island that makes arguably the best (some say it is 2nd best) malasadas in Hawaii. I’m not a fan of mixing up the two. Hawaii’s Donut makes more of what I would call a malasada. However, I saw the “dough” they were frying. From my perspective, they do not make their own dough but instead, use refrigerated, pre-made, purchased dough. Now, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that as I’ve been using the same trick for years. FYI…making malasadas from scratch is a pain and anything using yeast automatically drops to the bottom of my cooking list. I like the donuts here. However, I believe the price point of $15/dozen is not appropriate. If you would like to know how to make these at home, just let me know.

I also stopped by Full Tilt’s truck. I’ve gone to it a few times but this time, they had my favorite – ube! If you haven’t had ube ice cream, I highly recommend it. Don’t let the purple color turn you off. It has a flavor that reminds me of vanilla but with a twist. It was a nice way to cool off on a warm summer night.

Contigo

With all the dancing going on, I had to get another drink. Luckily, Contigo was on hand with my favorite habanero lemonade! This is something I could drink every day! Sweet, spicy, and cold – that’s my jam. I like that they use habanero since jalapeno is a bit overdone nowadays. I must say, I was tempted to get the mushroom crema tacos (they’re my current fave) but I was so full I didn’t think I’d be able to enjoy it properly. Suffice to say, I’m a meat eater and I LOVE this taco! The flavors are top notch. Each time I get a variety of tacos, I find myself wishing that I had gotten a bunch of mushroom ones.

Dance party on the mainstage

There were tons of other food options at the market and I didn’t get to most of them. Lucky for me, most are accessible one way or another in Seattle. For some of the vendors, there are restaurants in the International District and around the Puget Sound area. For some of the trucks, they offer both daily routes as well as catering and some of them have restaurants. If you’re fascinated by food trucks, consider supporting them all year round. Check them out for lunch one day or do a tasting for a special event such as a wedding. Also, many trucks can be found at farmers markets weekly as well as other community events. If you need help finding trucks check out SeattleFoodTruck.com. For more information on large food truck events, see Mobile Food Rodeo or Seattle Street Food Festival. You can also get a preview of yummy food truck cuisine from my Flickr page, which is also featured on SeattleFoodTruck.com’s phone app.

See you next time I get my food truckery on!

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