Street Eats from 2014 Night It Up!

Over 100,000 attendees flocked to Markham Civic Centre to experience the 13th annual Night It Up! hosted by Power Unit Youth Organization (PUYO).  This 3-day Asian Street food festival, presented by TD Bank Group, is based on street food markets which are popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Markets are popular in the evenings because temperatures are cooler when the sun has gone down.

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View of the first quarter of the line for takoyaki

Experienced attendees arrived early to avoid lineups (ranging from 10 minutes to over 1 hour at some of the food stalls).  At peak period, the crowd rubbed shoulder to shoulder as they moved from one line up to another.  They then patiently waited for their food while being temporarily blinded by the smoke emanating from the skewer charcoal grills and picking up the unmistakable aroma of BBQ smoke or smelly tofu.

 

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Event MCsChristy Loh & Pody Lui, A1 Chinese Radio

In addition to food, the festival featured live performances, sports tournaments, merchandise booths, games booths, art projects, and outdoor movies made possible by the collaboration with Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

 

 

 

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Rosana Zheng, President, Power Unit Youth Organization, Michael Prosserman, UNITY Charity, Shirley Ng, Project Chairperson, Night It Up!

Each year Night It Up! selects a charitable beneficiary.  Since 2002, it has raised over $95,000 for 12 GTA not-for-profit organizations.  UNITY Charity was selected as this year’s recipient.  UNITY Charity engages and empowers youth 10-18 years of age to become role models and leaders in their communities.  Their programming positively impacts over 30,000 young individuals annually, resulting in productive citizens, safer schools, and healthier communities. “I am very pleased to have Night It Up! Night Market celebrate its 13th year at Markham Civic Centre,” said Rosana Zeng, President, PUYO.  UNITY Charity was selected as this year’s recipient as their mission was “very closely aligned to the PUYO’s vision of youth empowerment”.

 

 

 

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Dignitaries and event sponsors

Political dignitaries from all levels of government shared greetings at the opening ceremony while sponsors were acknowledged for their contribution to the festival.

Popular items at this year’s festival included squid skewers; lamb skewers; takoyaki (dumplings made of octopus, tempura bits, pickled ginger, and green onion); smelly tofu (fermented tofu with a very distinct odour); fruit juices served in their exocarp (thick rind); shaved ice desserts topped with your choice of toppings including red beans, fruity flavours, and jellies; and bubble tea.  Also prevalent throughout the festival was liquid nitrogen ice cream which I foresee as this summer’s food trend.  Fresh cream is blended with sugar and your selected flavour pairing which is and then instantaneously frozen with liquid nitrogen. Here are the street eats sold by the vendors at this year’s festival:

 

Photograph by Ingrid Goh

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