Where can you find chicken feet, squid parts on a stick, pig intestines, Spam, bratwurst, and Caribbean bake n’ shark all within 1,000 feet of one another? In my stomach, but also within the multicultural mecca that is Flushing Meadows Corona Park off the 7 train.
The Queens International Night Market is NOT, I repeat NOT, a copycat of, nor related to, the famed Brooklyn Smorgasburg (which I actually love as well…because I cannot discriminate when it comes to food), but rather a separate entity that aims to celebrate the rich diversity and heritage that is NYC, specifically Queens.
Creator, John Wang – former lawyer turned food-market visionary, was inspired to bring a night market to NYC after realizing how prevalent and cherished these markets are in other cities around the globe. It kicked off its inaugural night in late April and ran until May 30, until it returned this past weekend, on July 11th.
I found this entire market to be a great concept, not just because I was so stuffed I couldn’t breathe, but because it opens us up to the amazing cultures that encompass NYC as a whole, many of whom we may not interact with on a daily basis. Although this night market is currently somewhat small, with probably around 30-40 vendors to start, I truly think it can grow to include even more cuisines and specialty goods, in addition to the already diverse foods. The cuisines represented vary from Argentinian, to Trinidadian, Bolivian, Indian, Burmese, and Hawaiian.
I was able to try the Trinidadian Bake N’ Shark, which consists of real shark (Jaws style) fried to perfection on a type of bread called bake. They add various toppings such as cucumber, mango chutney, hot sauce, and more. I can rightfully say that it was as good as the original I had in Trinidad last year, and the massive line spoke for itself. I tried the Argentinian Morcilla (Blood) sausage, which yes, is made with real animal blood, and I loved every morsel of it. My friend had Thai fried rice (not adventurous) as well as Taro Iced Tea (borderline adventurous) and a delectable crepe (lowest level of adventure).
If you’re ready to embark on a quest to develop your palette, (and not Italian sausage San Gennaro quest) then I would definitely check out this Night Market. It’s an amazing opportunity to expand our horizons beyond our own neighborhoods and take a look into the surroundings of the people that make up this wonderful city.
Leaving the venue, you may even get lucky enough to witness a Dominican dance party in the parking lot, as well as a string quartet mariachi band serenading an apartment down the street. ‘Tis a true mecca of the city we call New York.
Eager to visit? Check out The Night Market here!