You should come hungry to Happy Family Night Market. The one-day Bushwick festival, which takes place in Bushwick on Saturday, July 14, promises to be a vibrant celebration of Asian-American culture through food, film, discussions and more.
Let’s start with just some of the menu; so far there’ll be chicken choila with aachar and puffed rice and a vegetarian momo from Bikash Kharel of Ridgewood restaurant While in Kathmandu. Jimmy Tu of Bunker Vietnamese (the event’s happening in a space right beside the restaurant) will serve Smallhold mushroom tempura, red waddle pork skewer, grilled corn with scallion oil and a coconut peanut topping. Jenn De La Vega of Randwiches will bring adobo pulled pork sliders, Shikampur-style lamb meatballs in a rich gravy, and potato-croquette-style balls with Maggi ketchup from Divya Gadangi of Taj Mah Balls. What’s more Arley Marks from Honey’s will be putting on a specialty cocktail made with umeboshi plums from Ozuké.
Inspired by open-air bazaars, “the underlying mission is education through creative expression,” Phoebe Tran, one of the event organizers, says. “It’s deeper than just eating food, there are so many stories to tell.”
Tran, who has a background in food studies, started talking to fellow Happy Family Night Market Nikki Cohen about organizing the festival back in 2017.
“We wanted to create a different type of night market with a series of panels, an art market and a curated series of films focused around Asian American identity,” Cohen says.
What to expect
Arranged into day, night and after party exhibits with food throughout, Happy Family Night Market kicks off in the afternoon with panel discussions with writers (Khushbu Shah, food editor of Thrillist; Priya Krishna, a writer for the New York Times; Claudia Wu, creative director of Cherry Bombe and more), chefs (Jenny Dorsey, of Wednesdays NYC; Jenny Gao, of Jing Theory and Fly by Jing; Chris Cheung of East Wind Snack Shop and Nashville’s Tànsuǒ) and experts on topics including “Asian American Fermentation,” “Tiger Mom & Asian Fetishes: Gender & Tradition at the Table,” and “From Tikka Masala to Ayurveda: Perspectives on Indian American Cuisine.”
“We wanted to make sure it was representative as much as possible of all of Asia,” Tran says. “It’s been a collaborative process as we’ve talked to people active in the community.”
A curated series of films will play in a screening room throughout the afternoon and evening and an art marketplace will feature BANANA Magazine, Wing On Wo, the oldest store in Chinatown and installations by Alison Kuo, FAR-NEAR and more. An After Party from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. will be hosted by Bubble_T, NYC’s queer Asian dance party.