Remember the days of chasing down food trucks at festivals? The thrill of indulging in delectable street cuisine while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere was unmatched. Well, hold on to your taste buds, because a culinary revolution is sweeping the East Bay – the rise of night markets.
Gone are the days when food trucks were the main attraction. Night markets have taken the concept to a whole new level, offering a delightful fusion of food, shopping, and community spirit. As we emerge from the pandemic, people are craving that special experience of coming together to eat, shop, and be part of a vibrant community.
This summer, the Bay Area is buzzing with a variety of night markets, ranging from weekly events to massive regional extravaganzas featuring over 100 food vendors. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply looking for a unique night out, here are four night markets you don’t want to miss:
- FoodieLand Night Market – Where Over-the-Top Indulgence Reigns Supreme
At FoodieLand Night Market, prepare to enter a world of sweet indulgence that will make your taste buds sing. This extravagant event, inspired by Asia’s outdoor food markets, has been delighting crowds for four years. With over 110 food booths and 75 vendors, FoodieLand has become a sensation from Sacramento to San Diego.
Step into a whimsical wonderland where adults and children alike sip passionfruit mango lemonade from teddy bear-shaped containers that could give your hand a workout. From J-shaped, vanilla-stuffed treats to lemonades in oversized jars shaped like cows, pigs, and “chonky” cats, the only rule at FoodieLand is to embrace the over-the-top sweetness that surrounds you.
Best Bites: Don’t miss Ghostix’s Korean-style corndogs covered in rainbow sprinkles, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dust, and gooey mozzarella. For a decadent finish, indulge in a Churro Sundae topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of caramel or Nutella from the Churromadness booth.
FoodieLand Night Market requires advance purchase of timed tickets, so be sure to secure yours to join in the indulgence.
- Gordon Biersch Night Market – A True Community Gathering
For the past seven years, the Gordon Biersch Night Market (formerly the Taylor Street Night Market) has been a beloved community gathering in San Jose. Located in the brewery’s parking lot in Japantown, this weekly event offers a rotating selection of food trucks, live entertainment, craft beer, and a lively atmosphere.
The market’s proximity to local neighborhoods means that 30% to 40% of attendees can simply walk or bike their way to this culinary extravaganza. The night market brings together a diverse range of vendors, from Chick N’ Bros and LUV’s Brownies to Cielito Lindo. San Jose Jazz BoomBox provides the musical backdrop, and once a month, you might even catch some live wrestling action.
Good to Know: As the event takes place at a brewery, you can count on never running dry on refreshing craft beer.
Best Bites: Indulge in tandoori-spiced Chicken Over Rice from the Golden Gate Gyro truck or savor the saucy Garlic Shrimp with macaroni salad and rice from the local Poke Braddahs.
Make your way to Japantown every Thursday evening for a vibrant night filled with food, drinks, and community connections.
- 626 Night Market – Where Asian Flavors Take Center Stage
Venture across the bay to Oakland for the 626 Night Market, a celebration of Asian cuisine and culture. This spectacular event showcases the culinary treasures of the Asian diaspora, with a special emphasis on Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese flavors.
At the 626 Night Market, you’ll be transported to the bustling night markets of Asia. As you meander through rows of food stalls and vendors, the aroma of sizzling skewers, steaming buns, and exotic spices fills the air. Prepare your taste buds for an adventure as you sample dishes like baozi, bubble tea, takoyaki, and more.
Best Bites: Don’t miss the famous stinky tofu, a polarizing dish that can’t be missed for its unique flavor and pungent aroma. For dessert, try the Hong Kong-style egg waffles or indulge in a refreshing Thai mango sticky rice.
Keep an eye out for the next edition of the 626 Night Market and immerse yourself in the flavors and culture of Asia right here in the East Bay.
- Off the Grid – Bringing the Food Truck Frenzy Back
While night markets have taken center stage, we can’t forget the event that started it all – Off the Grid. This popular food truck gathering has been a staple in the Bay Area for over a decade, bringing together a rotating lineup of gourmet food trucks in various locations.
Off the Grid is the perfect place to satisfy your cravings for diverse cuisines. From tacos to burgers, dumplings to barbecue, you’ll find a wide range of options to tantalize your taste buds. The best part? With multiple locations throughout the East Bay, you’re never too far from the food truck frenzy.
Best Bites: Indulge in the mouthwatering Korean-Mexican fusion of KoJa Kitchen, savor the flavors of India with Curry Up Now’s tikka masala burritos, or try the award-winning barbecue from Smokin’ Woods BBQ.
Check Off the Grid’s website or social media pages to find out when and where the next food truck gathering will take place near you.