I never thought I’d seek out an opportunity to have a meal inside a subway entrance.
I suppose this is not exactly how I spent my Thursday night last week, but it is loosely accurate. The now-vacant Bowery Station hosted “Night Market” on the evenings of June 27th & 28th. This pop-up, inspired by Asian night markets, featured food with influences from the Far East–along with a couple of curveballs. Most vendors hailed from the Lower East Side of Manhattan and served dishes like Shanghai-style noodles and rendang curry.
A $50 ticket granted access to the indoor market for an hour and fifteen minutes–although I snagged mine for $37.50 thanks to a Gilt City promo. A close friend and I selected the very first time slot from 6:00-7:15pm on the 27th. Few others did, which was strange yet a nice surprise, as we had ample room to sit at the few tables in the back by the bar. The space was still largely reminiscent of a subway station, with unfinished walls and a small phone booth in the corner–but without potent smells and rats.
Everyone was handed a small purple punchcard upon entering that entitled them to a taste from each of the seven vendors in addition to two drinks (beer or wine). At the bottom of the card were two “wild card” punches reserved for those two special bites you just had to taste again.
Unfortunately for me, nearly half the stations only had options with meat. I did not despair, rather, I did my best to either eat around it or ask for a special meatless order. Thinking on my feet, I made makeshift sesame noodles using plain, pork-less noodles from Hong Kong Street Cart and the peanut dipping sauce that went with Best Summer’s “summer roll” (shrimp and herbs since I requested no bacon).
Said roll was among my favorite bites of the evening, topped only by Empies’ empanadas. These BBQ-chicken-and-mac n cheese-filled pockets were heavenly, and I had a second using one of my coveted “wild card” punches. My second wild card punch went to Melt Bakery, so I was able to try delicious (albeit slightly freezer-burned) frozen treats of the peanut butter chocolate and strawberry variety. I found Mimi & Co’s teriyaki balls very odd and like nothing I had ever tasted; I tried both shrimp and potato and didn’t dislike them–but definitely didn’t “like” them. Mamak’s chicken, rice, and vegetables were also just okay in my book.
DJ JREAMY provided the music for the evening that felt a million decibels too loud for the small, intimate space, especially during my time slot where there were so few people. As I was heading out, I noticed the room got more crowded for the 7:15pm round–not so strange, as some people were probably just getting out of work. The next batch of guests included a few families, which I thought was ambitious, given my own extremely limited palate as a child. I heard many people marveling at the food on the way out, though I myself wasn’t particularly impressed (aside from the empanadas). Nonetheless, it was a good time and very cool concept!