SAVORY

6 Tips for Attending Houston's Asian Night Market

grilled rice paper (bánh tráng nướng)

At night, we rise! Asian Night Market Chợ Đêm Houston is a free event celebrating street food and live entertainment. Houston’s chợ đêm, Vietnamese for “night market,” is located in the parking lot on the backside of Hong Kong City Mall. The market operates on a weekend Friday through Sunday from 6-11 P.M. The dates for the market are not on a set schedule; historically, it pops up once every 2-3 months, maybe a few times a season. At this particular night market, the majority of the vendors serve Vietnamese cuisine.

It used to be difficult to find out when the market would be held since the organizer’s mainly advertised through word of mouth, but now it’s growing even more popular thanks to the power of social media. They seem to be hosting them more frequently now due to the growth. As it keeps growing, the crowds may seem intimidating, but have no fear. Here are my 5 tips for enjoying your experience:

  1. Bring cash

    Cash is king. Very few booths will have a card reader (if any). $25 per person is a good amount to bring if you’re interested in trying multiple items.

  2. Share with friends

    Maximize the number of dishes to try by splitting them with your friends or family. Not only do you get to share food, but you’ll also share some memories with them!

  3. Arrive early or late

    The best time to go is right when the event opens around 6-7. Parking will be ample around that time and it won’t be too crowded. During the peak hours of 7-9, the crowds make it hard to navigate to each booth and the food quality may suffer since vendors are feeling rushed. Arriving later than 9, the crowd starts to fizzle out, but you run the risk of items being sold out.

  4. Wear earplugs

    The elderly Vietnamese people love cranking up the volume to the max. It will be loud. There will be a lot of singing. You will have to yell at your friends to communicate.

  5. Bring a chair

    The market provides tables, but if you’re not prepared to fight a family of 5+ for seats, you can always bring a portable folding chair. You can also move the food to eat inside the mall building.

  6. Stay hydrated

    If you want to save a few dollars for more food, bring a bottle of water! There is always at least one bubble tea booth, but nothing beats the hydration of good ol’ H2O. Plus, it will help dealing with the smoke from the grills.

Expect a good selection of street food to choose from ranging from meat on a stick to noodles to grilled seafood to traditional Vietnamese foods. Each market will have different booths, but some of the repeat booths include Tanuki Go, Ngọc Lan Bánh Bao, and The Bep Teahouse.

Those are my tips for enjoying the Houston’s Asian Night Market! The next one will be held next weekend October 18-20, 2019. For the latest date announcements, follow the vendors above or the official organizer’s Facebook page linked below. Be sure to check it out when you have a chance!

grilled meat skewers

grilled clams, snails, prawns (ốc, tôm nướng)

sugar cane juice (nước mía)


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Asian Night Market Chợ Đêm Houston
11205 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX 77072
(Market is located at the backside parking lot)

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A Taste of Tsukiji Market at Tobiuo

On September 26, I visited Tobiuo Sushi & Bar for the first time and it instantly ranked #1 on my top sushi restaurants of Houston. Tobiuo hosts a Fish Box experience which is a special omakase held every once in awhile when they receive a new shipment from the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market; though now if you attend, the fish would be sourced from Toyosu Market since Tsukiji Market closed. Omakase is a special dining experience where you leave everything in the hands of the chef. I love surprises and will eat just about anything, so omakase is perfect for me, but maybe not for a picky eater.

The price of this 3 hour experience was $150 per person and it was completely worth it even though I ended up being 45 minutes late. We were served 17 courses including dessert. Chef Mike Lim works his knife beautifully and each dish was crafted so beautifully.

When the galbi came out as the final dish, it was a surprise for me. It turns out Chef Lim is Korean, so he wanted to add his personal touch. After all was done, the last course was dessert, of course. One platter is meant to be shared by 2+ people, but since I was solo dining, I got one all for myself!

I have some additional photos of the nigiri because one angle can not contain how beautiful these pieces were. That night I brought my AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR lens. Though I’ve owned this lens for awhile, I had not used it very much and had never taken it outside my house. It’s advertised as a macro lens, so sushi was the perfect subject to practice on. Unlucky me was seated at the darkest part of the bar, but I think I did pretty well considering I didn’t bring a tripod to counter the ambient lighting.

Was the experience worth it? Yes. Would I attend again? Absolutely. Watching the craftsmanship of a sushi chef is mesmerizing. The service is impeccable. The flavors were more complex than the time I actually went to one of the sushiya at Tsukiji Market. The gentleman sitting next to me that this is the most generous, in terms of amount of fish to dollars ratio, omakasase dinner in Houston and they have a killer happy hour menu. The only thing stopping me from being a regular customer is that I live on the complete opposite side of Houston. I will definitely be back though and I highly recommend Tobiuo if you find yourself in the Katy area in the future.


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Tobiuo Sushi & Bar
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd Suite H130
Katy, TX 77494

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Eight Turn Crepe Rolls into Katy Asian Town

Eight Turn Crepe has rolled into the ever developing Katy Asian Town plaza. The concept originated in Ginza, Japan and made its way to the U.S. in 2013 with a location in New York.

The crepe stands in Harajuku always have long lines, but despite visiting Tokyo twice, I didn’t eat a crepe there. I was excited to finally try a Japanese style crepe for the first time. Eight Turn Crepe TX’s soft opening was held on the weekend of March 9-10. I met Jennifer, one of the owners, while I was there and she invited me to come back for grand opening on March 23.

Faux food display just like in Japan!

Faux food display just like in Japan!

The crepe batter is what makes a Japanese crepe unique; it is made out of rice flour making them gluten free. The texture is a little lighter than the traditional French crepe. These crepes are served rolled to be eaten without utensils instead of plated. The Japanese designed them to be handheld they can be easily transported (even though Japanese people never walk and eat at the same time).

eightturncrepe_2

The name “eight turn” is derived from how many times they fold the crepe. A selection of both savory and sweet crepes is sold in-store. My recommendation is to order one savory and one sweet crepe! Though if you have a big appetite like me, you can easily fit three inside your stomach.

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Eight Turn Crepe also serves locally sourced gelato. The seven flavors are honeycomb, stracciatella, mango, chocolate, vanilla. strawberry, and matcha. You can order a scoop on top of your crepe or in a cup. There is also a small selection of coffee available.

Eight Turn Lox savory crepe: sliced lox, cream cheese, spinach, sliced red onion, capers

Eight Turn Lox savory crepe: sliced lox, cream cheese, spinach, sliced red onion, capers

Harajuku Fruit Cocktail dessert crepe: strawberry. blueberry, raspberry, mango, banana, sliced almonds, custard cream,whipped yogurt

Harajuku Fruit Cocktail dessert crepe: strawberry. blueberry, raspberry, mango, banana, sliced almonds, custard cream,whipped yogurt

My favorite two that I’ve had so far are definitely the Eight Turn Lox crepe and Harajuku Fruit cocktail crepe. The lox one in particular is not to be missed. Featured below are the Truffle Egg White Omelet crepe and Lychee Valentine crepe which were also delicious. I also ordered the specialty latte. This time it was hazelnut, but it will change throughout the year. The barista designed latte art of a stingray for me!

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eightturncrepe_7_eatingwithstephano

If you’re ever in the Katy area, I recommend trying Eight Turn! There is plenty of seating and the space is well-lit. There is free wi-fi as well making it a great potential study spot. Overall, I love the fresh ingredients and how easy the flavors are on the palate. Now is your chance to get a taste of Japan right here in Houston. Thank you Eight Turn Crepe for hosting me!


 

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Eight Turn Crepe
23119 Colonial Pkwy Suite C-8
Katy, TX 77449

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