Announcing New Screenwriting Contest 2014

626 screenwritingWe’re looking for talented screenwriters who have a passion for storytelling!  We’ve had a successful short film contest last year and this year we’re excited to expand to two contests: a short film contest and a screenwriting contest.

Anything goes for the story and style—we want to see how creative you can get! Full scripts only—we’ll accept both shorts and features. The best scripts will receive cash prizes as well as exposure on our website (Over 64,000 page views a week) and social media channels (30,000+ Facebook page likes).

Task: Submit your full script—we’ll accept both shorts and features. Anything goes for the story.

1st place – $300
2nd place – $200
3rd & 4th place – Honorary mentions

Deadline:  August 22, 2014

Winners Announced: Sept 8, 2014

How to Enter:
RSVP by emailing if you plan to participate in the contest. We’ll provide free admission to the participating screenwriters to all of our events (you know, for inspiration—so you can be artists, without starving).

Good luck!

2014 Short Film Contest

626 short film

It’s time for the second season of 626 Night Market’s Annual Short Film Contest! We received amazing feedback from last year’s talent-packed short film contest, and now we’re back for another round. Aspiring filmmakers and storytellers, this is a great opportunity to show off your skills and creativity.  We’re looking for filmmakers to create short films at the upcoming night market events: OC Night Market, DTLA Night Market, and 626 Night Market!  The largest Asian night market in America, 626 Night Market is a pan-Asian food and entertainment event with over 200 food and merchandise vendors, live musical acts, artists, films, and games.  With so much going on, the opportunities to capture a good short story at the night market are endless.

Anything goes for the story and style—we want to see how creative you can get!  The best films will receive cash prizes as well as exposure on our website (Over 64,000 page views a week) and social media channels (30,000+ Facebook page likes).

Task: To create a short film (10 min or less) using the OC/DTLA/626 Night Market event as a backdrop.  Anything goes for the story—we want to see creative submissions!  (No profanity, please.  We are a family event.)

1st place – $500
2nd place – $300
3rd & 4th place – Honorary mentions.  We’ll feature your short film on our website and social media channels.

Deadline:  August 22, 2014

Winners Announced: Sept 1, 2014

Event Info:
OC Night Market: May 9-11
DTLA Night Market: June 20 & 21
626 Night Market: July 18 & 19, August 15 & 16, Sept 12 & 13

How to Enter:
RSVP by emailing if you plan to accept the challenge and which event dates you plan to attend.  We’ll provide FREE ADMISSION to the filmmakers (max 5 free tickets per crew).

P.S. We’re also hosting a Screenwriting contest for all of you writers out there. Check it out if you’re interested!

Good luck!  Watch the 2013 Short Film Contest Winner “Frames” here:

VIDEO: Boba Breakfast at Elton’s

Do you want boba with that? Oh yes. Today, we are expanding the horizons of the boba we thought we knew so well. These delicious little treats are pushing their limits and proving to us that they are more versatile than we’ve ever imagined. Our verdict after making & EATING everything in this video? BOBA. GOES. WITH. EVERYTHING. All hail this multi-talented tapioca! Teehee.

Special thanks to Elton Keung, Boba 7
Elton a.k.a. @Labobatory is the boba master of Boba 7 & Boba 8. Find them at the upcoming 626 Night Market events this summer!

Produced by: Aileen Xu
Shot/Edited by: Tiger Souvannakoumane
Shot by: Christian Soriano
Special Thanks: Dorothy Dang

OC Night Market
Fri, May 9: 3pm-12am
Sat, May 10: 3pm-12am
Sun, May 11: 3pm-9pm
@ OC Fairgrounds

DTLA Night Market
Fri, June 20: 4pm-12am
Sat, June 21: 4pm-12am
@ Staples Center, Lot 7
Presale tickets available now:

626 Night Market
Fri & Sat, July 18 & 19: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, August 15 & 16: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, September 12 & 13: 4pm-1am
@ Santa Anita Park

SGV Dinner Crawl: 5 Chinese Spots in 5 Hours (PHOTOS)

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending #SGVDinnerCrawl, a food crawl event organized by our friend Marc Liu, alongside about thirty people hailing from OC and LA. The purpose of the food crawl? To taste the wide range of Chinese cuisine that the San Gabriel Valley has to offer. I can honestly say that as a Chinese person who has lived in SGV all of her life, I had not tried half of the foods that we had at the crawl—that just goes to show how diverse Chinese food really is!  If you think you know Chinese food, think again. Venture outside of your usual provinces and discover what lies beyond.

Chinese Food Pamphlet #sgvdinnercrawl


Now let’s explore Chinese cuisine in the SGV! Photos by Collins Chang.

Stop #1: Chengdu Taste—Sichuan (Chuan)
Lion Fish, Toothpick Lamb, Mung Bean Noodles, Garlic Cold Noodles

Chengdu Taste Lion Fish

Chengdu Taste Toothpick Lamb #sgvdinnercrawl

Chengdu Taste Mung Bean Noodles #sgvdinnercrawl

Chengdu Taste #sgvdinnercrawl

I actually missed out on this first stop, but take it from the photos (and the unbelievable hype over this place) that the food was amazing and satisfyingly spicy. The Lion Fish is a must (so I’ve heard)—it’s actually a Tilapia that has been carefully sliced by a skilled hand and then fried upside down so that the strips looks like a lion’s mane. Oh you fancy, Lion Fish. You fancy.

Stop #2: Wang Xing Ji—Shanghai (Zhe)
Soup Dumplings, Wuxi Spare Ribs

Wang Xing Ji Giant Soup Dumpling #sgvdinnercrawl

Wang Xing Ji Soup Dumplings #sgvdinnercrawl

Wang Xing Ji Wuxi Spare Ribs #sgvdinnercrawl

I dropped into the #SGVDinnerCrawl mid-meal at this second stop, and boy was I happy to make this one (Shanghai cuisine is my favorite)! I went for the ribs first, and they were perfectly sweet and tasty. Then I noticed the giant soup dumpling they had saved for me to try. My eyes widened. It’s huge!

“You’re supposed to poke it with a straw and drink the juice inside.”
“Yeah just put the straw in.”

That was a first. Excuse my language but we called it the boob. Boob dumpling. But let’s be politically correct here: this giant soup dumpling is called tang bao (湯包) and the smaller soup dumplings are called xiao long bao(小籠包). The soup in the tang bao was more curry-like. But both soup dumplings were equally delicious.

Here we have Akufuncture’s Sam Wang sipping his tang bao romantically with our friend Mick. What a date!

Akufuncture Sam Soup Dumpling

Stop #3: Hui Tou Xiang—Shandong (Lu)
Hui Tou Panfriend Dumplings, Leek Pancakes

Hui Tou Xiang Panfried Dumplings #sgvdinnercrawl

Leek Pancakes Hui Tou Xiang #sgvdinnercrawl

Onto some panfried dumplings! What isn’t pictured is the kimchi that they also served, which was really good. Because Shangdong is near Korea, we see the crossing of cultures in this area through the cuisine. Interesting, right?

Stop #4: Northern Chinese Restaurant—Dongbei (Lu)
Pork & Cabbage Stew, Twice-Cooked Pork, Ba Si Di Gua (Pull-Out Silk Sweet Potatoes)

Pork & Cabbage Stew #sgvdinnercrawl

Twice Cooked Pork #sgvdinnercrawl

Ba Si Di Gua Sweet Potatoes #sgvdinnercrawl

You can imagine we’re getting pretty stuffed up to this point. The Pork & Cabbage Stew was sour in a way that opens up your appetite—kai wei (開胃) would be the Chinese term to describe it. The Twice-Cooked Pork was good, but at this point I’ve had enough savory treats and I’m ready to move onto my sweets. The Ba Si Di Gua sticky sweet potato dish was really satisfying for that.

Honorary Mention: Harlam’s Kitchen—Cantonese (Yue)
Wonton Noodle Soup, Fried Cruller Rice Rolls

This was scheduled to be our next stop, but the group decided to skip it because our tummies were begging us to. Sorry, we’ll have to save Cantonese food for another day!

Stop #5: Fluff Ice—Taiwanese
Shaved Show

Fluff Ice Shaved Snow #sgvdinnercrawl

Ah, so refreshing. Yes, we were stuffed. But you know there’s always room for dessert. Ending the #SGVDinnerCrawl at Fluff Ice at Atlantic Times Square was really nice—we all got to cool down with fresh shaved show and just hang out outside. What was awesome about the food crawl was that it brought together so many different people—friends of friends of friends—that made for a great vibe. When do you get to hit up this many spots with this many people in one evening? Not often. So I really appreciated the opportunity to do this—and now I appreciate Chinese food & the SGV much more. Thanks Marc for organizing!

Marc Liu

That concludes the #SGVDinnerCrawl! I’d like to know: Which of these have you tried & which are you dying to try? What restaurants would you add to the list if you were to host your own SGV dinner crawl? Please share your thoughts with us!

New scholarship opportunity from AAa/e!

2014 AAa/e Call for Scholarship Applications

626 Night Market is dedicated to providing a platform to everyone in the community, whether it is our small business vendors, artists, entertainers, or our attendees and the community supporters at large. That’s why I am proud to share with you this special scholarship opportunity from our friends at the Asian American Architects and Engineers (AAa/e) Foundation Scholarship Program.

Last year, AAa/e gave over $20,000 in scholarships and are looking for even more qualified students this year. AAa/e is committed to empowering young Asian American design/construction students and professionals in personal growth, personal excellence, and leadership in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction fields.

For more information, please visit their website: Good luck!

Video: Meet Me at the Night Market

Those memorable summer nights of good food, good company, and good times are coming back. Please share this with the people you want to meet at the night market this year! This will be our biggest year yet—we hope you will meet us at OC Night Market, DTLA Night Market, and 626 Night Market this summer.

Directed/Produced: Aileen Xu
Shot/Edited: Alan Chung & Jason Ted Chang, Paper Sketch Media
Voiceover: Elvis Xu
Scenes from:
The Night Market (Dir. Jason Poon)
Day 18 (Dir. Shaun Su)
These Steps (Dir. Christian Soriano)
Frames (Dir. Jason Ted Chang)

Follow Paper Sketch Media:

2014 EVENTS:

OC Night Market
Fri, May 9: 3pm-12am
Sat, May 10: 3pm-12am
Sun, May 11: 3pm-9pm

@ OC Fairgrounds
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

DTLA Night Market
Fri, June 20: 4pm-12am
Sat, June 21: 4pm-12am

@ Staples Center, Lot 7
1120 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Presale tickets available now: DTLA Night Market Tickets

626 Night Market
Fri & Sat, July 18 & 19: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, August 15 & 16: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, September 12 & 13: 4pm-1am

@ Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

Announcing our 2014 Event Dates in OC, DTLA & 626!

We are so excited to announce our third season of events this year featuring two new locations: OC Night Market at OC Fairgrounds and DTLA Night Market by Staples Center, as well as our flagship 626 Night Market at Santa Anita Park.  This is our biggest year yet as we strive to feed more Southern Californian appetites and share the night market experience with our greater community.  Prepare yourselves for an epic summer!

OC Night Market
Fri, May 9: 3pm-12am
Sat, May 10: 3pm-12am
Sun, May 11: 3pm-9pm

@ OC Fairgrounds
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

DTLA Night Market
Fri, June 20: 4pm-12am
Sat, June 21: 4pm-12am

@ Staples Center, Lot 7
1120 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Presale tickets available now: DTLA Night Market Tickets

626 Night Market
Fri & Sat, July 18 & 19: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, August 15 & 16: 4pm-1am
Fri & Sat, September 12 & 13: 4pm-1am

@ Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

[Click image to enlarge]626NM 2014 Poster

Thank you so much for your support—and we truly mean that.  We wouldn’t be here without our awesome community of food lovers and summer warriors.  We hope that you continue to grow with us, and that you’ll meet us at the night market this summer!  The only question to ponder is: Which one(s)?

We’re Hiring Videographers For Our Media Team!

Hiring Videographers

626 Night Market is looking for passionate videographers to join our media team!  Be a part of the largest Asian-themed night market in the US and help tell the stories of our community.  People with a passion for food and/or Asian American culture preferred.

Videographer duties include but are not limited to: shooting, editing & sound, as well as helping conceptualize original content and creative campaigns. There are also opportunities to become involved in other aspects of the 626 Night Market if interested.

This position is paid.  If interested, please email with your resume and example(s) of your work.


12 Lunar New Year Do’s & Don’ts

626 Chinese New Year

Lunar New Year is just around the corner, so the 626 Night Market team has decided to compile a list of do’s & don’ts to help guide everybody towards a fortunate and prosperous Year of the Horse.  Most of these superstitions originate from Chinese culture, so we’d love to hear your thoughts on your own superstitions and traditions from your respective cultures.  Out of the myriad of Lunar New Year superstitions, we’re sure to have missed a few; this is just a list of our favorites:

1. Wear red clothing because red symbolizes luck.
This one is especially important for all those born in the Year of the Horse (born in ’66, ’78, ’90, ’02—cheers to my fellow ’90s babies) because it’d be best to wave off any bad luck that may be coming in our unlucky year.  Also, make sure not to wear white or black clothing, since those colors are traditionally associated with mourning.

2. Eat vegetarian food. 
If only for the first day, abstaining from meat will bring in good luck for the year.  A popular dish eaten on Chinese New Year is “Jai” or “Buddha’s Delight” - a dish with lotus seeds, dried bean curd, bamboo shoots, and more vegetarian ingredients.  Many local buddhist temples in the area serve this vegetarian dish on New Years Day.

3. Turn luck (“fu”) upside down.
Turning the Chinese character for “luck” (福, fu) upside down makes “dao,” which sounds like the Chinese word for “arrival.”  Placing the upside down “fu” on your door is symbolic of inviting good fortune into your home for the year.

4. Clean your home before New Year’s Day.  Do not clean during the new year.
It is important to clean your house before New Year’s Day (we have until Thursday before midnight!) because it is believed that sweeping the floor or cleaning the house during the New Year is symbolic of sweeping your wealth and good fortune away.

5. Welcome good luck in the air.
Open your windows during Lunar New Year to invite the fresh breeze of good luck into your home.  With a clean house and fresh air, you’ll feel revitalized to start the new year right!

6. Don’t wash your hair.
Try not to wash your hair for the first three days of the New Year—go ahead, we won’t judge.  Because the Chinese word for “hair” is a homonym for the Chinese word for “wealth,” washing your hair is symbolic of washing away your wealth at the start of the New Year.  This is unfortunate for anyone with an oily scalp… I wonder if dry shampoo counts? Or baby powder?

7. Don’t use knives or scissors.
Sharp objects are associated with bad luck, as their sharp points are believed to cut out your good luck and fortune.  Thus, haircuts are not encouraged during Lunar New Year as well.

8. Don’t break anything.
Make sure to be extra careful during Lunar New Year so that you do not break anything.  Breaking dishes infers that you may incur more misfortune for the New Year.  Even when you’re eating fish, be careful not to break any of the bones!  Speaking of fish…

9. Eat fish, but don’t eat it all.  And don’t flip the fish.
One fish, two fish, three fish superstitions.  Eating fish is a must for Lunar New Year.  But because the Chinese word for “fish” (魚, yú) is similar to the word for “plenty” (餘, yú), you should leave some fish left on the table to ensure that you have symbolic abundance for the future.  Finally, flipping the fish is bad luck in Chinese culture—whether it’s Lunar New Year or not.

10. Don’t buy books.
Because the Chinese word for “book” (書, shu) sounds like the Cantonese word for “losing” (輸, shu), it is discouraged to buy books during Lunar New Year.  This explains why many bookstores remain closed during New Year.

11. Don’t buy shoes.
Another homonym superstition here.  Because the Chinese word for “shoe” (hai) is similar to the Cantonese word for “rough” (hai) or the sound of sighing, buying new shoes is not believed to be a good way to start the year.

12. No singing at night or ghosts will come.
O.O  Someone on our team mentioned this superstition; I haven’t heard of it before so it gave me a mini freak because I love to sing all the time!  Well, better safe than sorry.

What did we miss?  Let us know some of your favorite Lunar New Year superstitions in the comments!

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, we wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year!  If you’re looking for things to do this New Year, here is a list of Lunar New Year events in the San Gabriel Valley.  Wishing you all an amazing Year of the Horse!~

Favorite Apps to Learn & Practice Chinese

Hi guys!  I recently posted a Continuous Learning post on my personal blog where I talked about some of my favorite resources for learning.  I’m trying to improve my Chinese skills a little bit everyday, so I wrote a section on some of my favorite apps for practicing and learning Mandarin.  I thought that section would be relevant to post here, since some of you may be in the same boat as myself.  I grew up speaking Chinglish in my household—a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, so my Chinese skills are about the equivalent of a nine year old, even after 10+ years of going to Saturday Chinese schools (who’s with me on that one!?).  As I’m growing older, I realize how important it is to retain the language and invest in learning more Chinese (I can only hope that my children learn how to speak Chinese as well, if even a little), so I’ve made the effort to work on my Chinese for at least 15 minutes every day.  In the spirit of kaizen, or continuous incremental improvements, I believe a little every day goes a long way in the future.

Since I want to learn in short increments, I’ve found that apps are my favorite learning tool at the moment.  Here’s a snippet of my blog post on some of my favorite apps for learning and practicing Chinese:

One of the traits of my “dream self” is to be fluently multilingual; I think that’s so badass.  I’ve been telling myself that I want to practice Italian and Chinese for years—last year I mentioned using audiotapes and podcasts to learn, but that method kind of dissipated for me.  It’s hard to dedicate a significant amount of time everyday to learning a new language (unless you’re super dedicated); so right now I am just allocating 15 minutes a day to practice Chinese.  I’ve been on the lookout for great iOS apps to learn and practice Chinese, and here are my favorites:

MindSnacks - This game so so cute and addicting that I actually ended up buying the full 50 lessons.  Depending on your skill level, most of these words and phrases may be easy for you—my level is pretty elementary and I felt like I already know 1/3 of the vocabulary.  Still, the games help you learn how to read Chinese as well, and although I may know how to say something, I likely do not know how to read it (and read it quickly, for the speed games)—so this really helps me with that.

Chinese Audio Trainer – This app is great for learning new vocabulary words and phrases.  They have a huge library of words in different categories on all levels, and you learn by going through the virtual flashcards.  You customize the speed and frequency of the flashcards, so you can delete cards you already know and focus on words and phrases you don’t know.

CSLPod - This app contains thousands of lessons of all levels of audio conversations between two people, so you can listen and read along to the conversations and learn vocabulary in its context.  You have access too all of the lessons, but you have to pay to view the script, pinyin/vocabulary of the conversations.  I didn’t buy the add-on, so I just use it to listen and practice by repeating the conversations.  One caveat is that the people speak with a bit of a Beijing accent, so I try to block out that accent and speak my own way when I repeat them haha.

Memrise – I’ve only used this app once but I have to bring it up because it makes me giggle.  Memrise teaches you languages using “mems – fun and imaginative ways to remember a word or phrase” that people in the Memrise community contribute.  Most of the time this means that you learn a word in a new way – for example, the Chinese word “Ju (舉/举)” which means “to raise or hold up” would have a mem like: ‘To keep a cow happy you must HOLD UP and JU-ice its udder 3 times daily.”  HAHAHA.  Now tell me that doesn’t make you at least giggle.

Hope this has inspired you to brush up on your Chinese, pick up a new language, or just learn something new!  If you have any other recommendations for your favorite Chinese/language-learning resources, drop us a comment below.  Cheers~