Walking in Orange County: OC Night Market Recap

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

Okonomiyaki at the OC Night Market | by fit for the soul
Bustling OC Night Market 2015 | by fit for the soul
Spicy salmon poke at the OC Night market | by fit for the soul

I don't know if I'd ever label myself as the wanderlust-hipster type individual.  First of all, calling myself 'hipster' in any way is awkward in and of itself.  And saying that I have an insatiable hunger for wanderlust is possibly a misnomer because you see, I do love cultures and I love immersing myself in different environments more than you could imagine.  But the requirements for being a wanderlusting hippie is to dress vintage 24/7 and hop on trains as I Instagram magical light houses in the middle of nowhere.   ( I love that girl's work, by the way!)  So I won't call myself either of those.

One thing I do know is that if there were ever a "talent" or "gift" related to being able to make myself at home no matter what country or village I'm in, so much so that the only words coming out of my mouth are "I am never going back!!!!", even though I miss family like crazy, then I definitely have that talent.  So what's a girl to do when her insatiable cultural appetite has been brutally subdued by the demands of life?  In my case, I immediately decide that I'll be joining in the festivities of the OC Night Market--an annual Asian food market slash festival event that's held on the grounds of the famous Orange County Fair. 

Fortunately, Emily shares the same passion for food and culture, and in a heartbeat we were off with toddler in tow, who blissfully hung out in her car seat without a care in the world.  And then said toddler had a fit because she wanted out of the stroller...the entire time we were there.  Hah!  But I really should haven known better you guys, so ignorance is not bliss.  Or in this case, having an overly positive and hopeful attitude didn't help.  Needless to say, words like "thankful" for friends like Emily--who knows nothing but selflessness and possesses an undying love for children from every walk of life--don't even describe my appreciation for the friend & sister she has been to me all these years.  She was patient, guys, and as a busy mom who hopes to stay in a restaurant for a mere 30 minutes, that's all I can ask for from a friend.

So with that said, we ate to our heart's content and feasted on the most amazing Okonomiyaki doused in sriracha because hello, sriracha!  Some spicy salmon poke that in my opinion needed a bit more flavor, a gloriously strong brew of Vietnamese iced coffee, vanilla ice cream dipped nutella churros, and an apple malasada that burst with flavor upon every bite. We shared dishes but we definitely could have done more damage.  Now, this is where a toddler comes in handy.  You burn calories running after your sweet, trying toddler, chase the next food booth down the way, and circle around with the stroller while waiting in line to keep your toddler entertained.  It's a good diet if you ask me.

The people we encountered were fairly sweet and as always, the best part was seeing different cultures come together in the name of stuffing ourselves. ;) As J.R.R. Tolkien said it best:

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

Have you been to food festivals?  Which ones are awesome in your area?