On April 18 and 19, the first Ktown Night Market brings the Ktown and surrounding communities together. The night market is modeled off of festivals that are popular in Asian countries and will include art installations, food trucks, live performances, and local business vendors. The event grew from a love of the community and a desire to bring something fresh to Koreatown.
“We party here, eat here, live here but felt there was something missing, especially for second and third generation [immigrants],” said Danny Park, one of the market’s founders. “We [also] felt non-Korean business owners and residents were not being recognized.” The majority of vendors are local to Koreatown but represent many ethnicities and interests.
“Ktown has become so much more. [We want] to celebrate the diversity … It’s about the city, not just one culture,” Park said.
This inclusive attitude is evident in the festival’s food truck line-up. The Seoul Sausage Company has strong ties to Koreatown and is the event’s official food truck curator. The food truck won season three of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and will be featured alongside the winners of seasons one and two — Grill ’Em All and The Lime Truck. Grill ’Em All serves mouth-watering burgers while The Lime Truck offers California cuisine. The Lime Truck, or TLT, also has brick and mortar locations — in Downtown Los Angeles and Westwood, Calif., The Ktown Night Market’s Food Truck Alley marks the first time the three champions will be together.
The festival is holding a Last Food Truck Contest, which allows people to vote on their favorite truck via Facebook. This contest invites participation and demonstrates the open and integrative nature behind Ktown Night Market.
Other tasty options include East Los Angeles Tacos, Fluff Ice and the India Jones Chow Trucks. Fluff Ice serves frozen treats, such as Fusion Green Tea Fluff, a combination of green tea ice, red beans, mocha and condensed milk. East Los Angeles Tacos offers more substantial fare — its menu blends Korean and Hispanic flavors to create bold and savory dishes. The India Jones Chow Truck, which frequents USC, serves up Indian street food that tastes better than most restaurant fare.
In addition to food trucks, Ktown Night Market offers local business owners a platform to promote their wares.
“Ktown is usually first-generation dominated … We want to give second- and third-generation business owners a platform to showcase their stuff,” Park said. There will be over 100 vendors as well as carnival style games and booths.
“There will be lots of clothing vendors … It will be a very trendy event,” said KCM Agency publicist Stella Cho.
Ktown Night Market will also feature music and dance performances, such as hip-hop performer PARKER (Dumbfounded + DJ Zo) and K-Pop’s Chad Future. Many arts are associated with Kollaboration, a nonprofit arts organization that promotes diversity through grassroots performances. In just 14 years, the organization has expanded to host annual shows in 14 different cities and provided a platform for minority performers.
“The Ktown Night Market will be another outlet for Kollaboration participants,” Park said.
Aside from music, Ktown Night Market will have live art installations, where artists will create unique works during the event. These art pieces and live performances encourage community involvement and provide a singular experience for attendees.
“We’re all friends here, we’ve always shared a fun vibe — encouraging art and young [talent],” Park said.
Though this is the first Ktown Night Market, Park hopes to make it an annual or biannual event. He views it as an ideal way to encourage community participation and support local businesses.
“Ktown Night Market is about the unification of Koreatown,” Park said. “Right now each generation does their own thing but there are all kinds of people here — we really want to promote that.”
The night market is free and open to all. It will be held at the Robert F. Kennedy Community School on April 18 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and April 19 from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.