It looks likes 2012 might well be remembered as the year of the Asian-inspired "night market." After a successful second round of Pasadena's 626 Night Market, New York-based festival LuckyRice hosted its first L.A. market at the Helms Bakery complex with help from Lukshon chef Sang Yoon.
Guests were invited to sample a variety of modern Asian street foods, including mortar-mixed papaya salad, five-spice pork belly bao buns, spicy lamb bacon with corn, and silken tofu with togarashi spice. More than 20 chefs from New York and Los Angeles, including Top Chef/Top Chef Masters alumni Susan Feniger, Susur Lee and Angelo Sosa, were on hand to serve a lively crowd that included former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy.
It was the crew of Los Angeles chefs, though, that took the spotlight -- Sang Yoon offered a flurry of inspired dishes, as did the Spice Table's Bryant Ng, Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market and Jet Tila of the Charleston. Gin cocktails, also in abundance thanks to sponsor Bombay Sapphire, flourished with things like lemongrass straws and coconut milk.
The success of this weekend's night market, which sold more than 1,000 tickets, is validation for a city that, despite a large Asian population and a wave of nouveau Asian cooking, had not yet played host to such an event.
Along with recurring events in Las Vegas and New York City, the company plans to expand to cities like San Francisco or Miami. According to founder and former fashion exec Danielle Chang, it also hopes to have another celebration in Los Angeles before next year.