Our generation has witnessed the rise of a new type of writer: the foodie. Through the ever-expanding world of online journaling and blogging, people from all parts of the world have been freely able to express their appreciation of food in all its forms. Here in Philadelphia, crowds of these passionate writers swarmed Chinatown Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. for the Night Market in Chinatown.
The Night Market is an evening festival of restaurants and food trucks from all areas of Philadelphia. The event took place at 10th and Race street in Chinatown for the first time. Previously the Night Market has taken place at other locales around Philadelphia, such as University City (June 2011), and Mount Airy (August 2011).
The festival featured food trucks as well as trucks representing more prominent chains and restaurants. For instance, food trucks such as Foo Truck, Chewy’s and Crepewalk were ready and waiting for hungry passers-by, while representative stands of restaurants such as Cuba Libre and Capogiro were also providing samples of their specialties for publicity. In addition, markets local to Chinatown set up stands to sell produce and other grocery goods. The Food Trust and Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. hosted the event with sponsorship from Citizens Bank, State Farm, PNC Bank and many other prominent organizations.
The vendors stationed their stands and meals-on-wheels along the sidewalk borders while space was left throughout the center strip of the streets for walking room In some areas, tables and chairs were provided for those dining. The beauty of the event was the variety that the legions of food trucks and stands presented. Various ethnic foods were available all around the sectioned-off festival grounds. Food and beverages for all types of appetites were available. Just a few of the options were Vernalicious, known for German sausage; Nomad Pizza, preparing brick-oven pizza; Maru Global, featuring Japanese takoyaki and octopus pancake balls; Crepewalk for savory and sweet crepes; and Sweetbox, selling gourmet cupcakes. Other eatables and drinks included, but were not limited to, hot cider, vegetarian dishes, traditional Italian cuisine, Indonesian specialties, gourmet coffee and specialty hot dogs.
An unfortunate consequence of such a wondrous gathering of culinary creations was the staggering ratio of visitors to square feet of space available. From the moment the clock struck seven, the streets were packed with crowds of people, and for vertically challenged individuals such as myself, maneuvering through the crowds was a feat in and of itself. Just as in every well-known amusement park, lines stretched all along the streets. The time it took for one to make an order severely limited the number of trucks and stands an individual could sample.
In spite of this, the Night Market was a remarkable event of cultural enrichment, and the festival served to nurture greater appreciation of the diversity of cuisine that is the foundation of foodie passion.