Every year in Costa Mesa there is a gathering of some of Southern California’s most interesting food stalls. The OC Night Market has become an annual tradition for me, a place where I can go and be around other gluttonous foodies; a safe spot where the heroic amount of calories I consume is appreciated and applauded. It’s the promised land of my people:
The entrance fee is only $5, but it’s cash only so be sure to hit an atm beforehand so you don’t pay those oppressive fees. Luckily, most of the food stalls will take card. Be sure to take some time in between food to peruse the vendor village. You can find some interesting local art and crafts.
The Food of the OC Night Market
Alright friends, we don’t need to get into too many erroneous things like words, So we’ll keep it short and have a picture heavy post. Don’t say I never gave you nothin’
Melted Cheese Corn Cakes
have you ever had an Arepa before? neither have I. Good thing WeZZarepas was there to open up my world. This Venezuelan/Colombian snack is a sweet white corn cake grilled with cheese.
Elotes have become an essential part of California street food. You can find several stall at the OC Night Market who make them with their own twist. I opted for the standard with Cotija Cheese, mayo, and butter. If you’re feeling festive, try it with flamin’ hot cheetos or “unicorn style” with purple sprinkles of cheese.
From the Rated R Burger booth I tried my first ramen burger. With Wagyu beef patty, mayo, spring greens, tomato, cheese, and a grilled ramen patty, this was an interesting mix of chewy texture with juicy beef. It was good, but I don’t think I’d ever actually crave a ramen burger over a traditional one.
What’s a Ramen burger without fries? The Infamous Fries booth serves extra long french fries with your choice of Lobster, Bulgogi, bacon, nori, takoyaki (octopus balls), or nori (seaweed). We went with the bulgogi fries, with sweet marinated beef, kim chi, spicy sauce, and a side of mayo. The texture on these fries was odd, they were soft like mashed potatoes. You definitely need a fork for these guys.
It was also a long wait, so use that time to let things digest and track your blood pressure.
Baby Bottle drinks
There are all manners of drink receptacles floating around the OC night market, one of them being giant baby bottles. For $15, you can get yourself a mid sized baby bottle with unlimited refills. The drinks range from various iced teas to fruit flavored waters. Find someone you don’t mind sharing with and stay hydrated with sugar while you eat all that salty goods.
The Non-Traditional Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches may very well be proof of the existence of a loving creator. There’s never a bad time for the crispy edged, gooey melted goodness of a grilled cheese. You can find them all over the OC night market, ranging from decadent to simple. Rainbow grilled cheese isn’t really my thing, but I did partake in a pizza version.
It was good, but I should’ve tested out some of their more interesting selections, like the Jalapeno Popper sandwich, pesto, or Lobster grilled cheese.
Our friends at The Sandwich Society dominated the grilled cheese sandwiches with their Ramen Grilled Cheese sandwich:
This decadent masterpiece was truly one of the most interesting and flavorful things I had all day. Lots of cheese and spicy sauce with chewy ramen, corn, and jalapenos. A carb/dairy lover’s dream.
The Consumption of Cthulu
Okay, So I may be exaggerating with the title, but you seafood lovers can grab yourself a giant fried squid on a stick. It’s $15 and can be seasoned with a variety of different blends.
The only thing that would’ve made it better would be a baby pool filled with marinara sauce and lemon wedges.
Dessert should also be fried
The only thing that can truly end an evening of binge eating is a sweet dessert. It’s good for the soul and great to cleanse the palate. I was contemplating the traditional Thai dessert of mango and sticky rice, but my friend Eric made an executive decision and went with churros instead.
How does one consume more fried food when so much friend food has already been consumed? with much regret and bravery my dear friends. Cinnamon sugar covered fried dough with dulce de leche, chocolate, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Truly a fine way to end the night.
The “Night Market” concept is getting more popular every year around SoCal, which means more opportunities for us to try new food! I urge you to check out 626 Night markets events (they run this one) because they have been nothing but top notch. It’s also a nice way to support some local businesses while stuffing your face. Try to go before 5pm to avoid the rush.
Upcoming OC Night Market events 2018 (OC Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa)
June 15 – 17 2018
August 24 – 26 2018
More in Costa Mesa