Society features

Asia Society Night Market brings street food to Houston

Houston’s food scene would not be what it is today without its Asian night markets. Asia Society Texas Center, the local museum dedicated to art and culture from across the continent, will host its 10th Annual Night Market November 4. More than 50 vendors bring regional foods, homewares and more to the block party, complete with special shows and other fun activities for kids and adults. Here’s what you need to know about the Asia Society Night Market.

These nighttime events are very common in East and Southeast Asia, where people gather in an open-air market to sample all kinds of street food. Night markets originated in China during the medieval Tang dynasty, then spread to other countries in the region as well as to Chinatowns around the world, especially in American cities like Houston. Famous night markets in Asia include Nanluoguxiang in Beijing, Patpong in Bangkok and Shilin in Taipei.

The Asia Society Night Market has dozens of street vendors.

Chris Dun

What to eat at the Asia Society Night Market?

The Houston museum has added vendors to the market’s roster over the past two weeks, in an effort to show the diversity that exists within Asian and Asian American cuisine. Be sure to check out Burger-chan, whose owners Diane and Willet Feng recently appeared on Good Morning America National Burger Contest. Their creative and customizable burgers feature ingredients like pan-fried spam, fried eggs, charred jalapeños, kimchi relish, sambal mayonnaise, and scallion aioli sauces. Haus dumpling, a local favorite dedicated to dumplings, but also bowls of rice and noodles, will also be there.

The Asia Society Night Market celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) cuisine and culture.

The Asia Society Night Market celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) cuisine and culture.

Chris Dun

Filipino food is well represented with Mama Marie’s Filipino Soul Food and Fat Funk, a collaboration between Aleng Nina’s and Ooh Mami Papi. Hot and Buttered will arrive hot with boiling seafood, and B&B Concession will bring its signature chicken on a stick. Foodies can feast on Korean desserts from Jammy in the Bottle and other goodies from The Baker’s Man, Butter Baby Bakery, The Custard Box, Dough Digger and Popssibilities. To lift your spirits, try the Hawaiian coffee from the Asia Society’s Java Lava Cafe.

In addition to stalls, real food trucks will hit the market, like Foreign Policy, which blends Korean food with Greek, Mexican and American staples. Other trucks include Wokker, Seoulside Wings, Nom Mi Street, Muishii and more.

Play a game of mahjong at the Asia Society Night Market.

Play a game of mahjong at the Asia Society Night Market.

Chris Dun

Is there anything else to do other than eat?

There’s no shortage of things to do at the Night Market if you need a break from eating. Over 20 vendors will sell homewares, art, clothing, and all kinds of trinkets you didn’t know you needed. For the first time this year, Asia Society organized a Diwali funfair to honor Hindu tradition celebrated last weekend. Attendees can play games like mahjong or discover the Otaku Alley dedicated to manga, anime and cosplay. Performances include sumo wrestling as well as Bollywood and K-pop dancing. And you can wander into the museum itself for an after-hours visit to the current exhibit, “Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural in Japanese Woodblock Prints.”

Night Market 2021 presented by American First National Bank at the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, November 12, 2021.

Night Market 2021 presented by American First National Bank at the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, November 12, 2021.

Chris Dun

Are there other night markets in Houston?

Many other night markets are held year-round in Houston. Probably the most famous iteration is the one hosted by the Vietnamese community in Houston and surrounding areas, which was long held at Hong Kong City Mall and has now expanded to other locations around Houston. Have A Nice Day, a local organization founded to uplift Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), often hosts markets across town, such as the recent FAHM Fest.

Night Market 2021 presented by American First National Bank at the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, November 12, 2021.

Night Market 2021 presented by American First National Bank at the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, November 12, 2021.

Chris Dun

TLDR

The 10th annual Asia Society Night Market takes place on Friday, November 4 from 6-10 p.m. at the institution in the Museum Quarter. There will be over 50 food and non-food vendors, all small businesses owned by AAPI community members and people of color. The event is free, but register in advance is encouraged.

Find it: Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd., Houston, TX, 77004