Dumpling Duo: The third annual Titan Night Market at CSUF left us hungry

In Food, Lifestyle
Hannah holding half of a spam musubi, which is spam on rice wrapped in seaweed
(Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

We’ve eaten everywhere from food festivals in Los Angeles to dives in New York, but today we decided to eat closer to home. Modeling after the 626 Night Market, the third annual Titan Night Market hosted a variety of clubs like the Asian Pacific American Resource Center and the Thai Student Association to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month.

Daily Titan photo editor Gabe Gandara and assistant lifestyle editor Brian Alvarado were dragged along with us to the Quad at 5 p.m. and together we were met with a line longer than we had expected. Students stood in the line ready for the free food that waited on the other side of the entrance.

We were antsy with our feet shifting as we wondered when we would be allowed to eat and silently judge those cutting us in line. When students finally flooded the Quad, they were instructed to complete two activities before eating. We rolled our eyes; we had to wait in another line for our free food? The inhumanity of it all almost got to us, but we persevered.

When we first walked in, our eyes immediately spotted the signature yellow boxes from Porto’s and rows of Spam musubi. Music boomed from speakers, nearly making us deaf, as KPWR-FM blared song after song.

It was 5:30 p.m. by the time we reached the front of the line for our first activity. We were already grumpy, but we smiled awkwardly as they snapped a picture of us at the photobooth and initialed our stamp card. We waited in another line for another initial before they announced the lines were too long for everyone to participate in two events, so one initial would suffice.

A mad dash for food ensued.

We split up, some of us running for the Spam musubi, some for pad thai and some for samosas. Portions were small, but that was to be expected because everything was free.

Brought in from L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, the musubi was cold by the time anyone got to it, but it was still good. The musubi was cut in half to make it last longer, but it was one of the first to be depleted. Those who came first ate first, and those who lagged didn’t get anything. However, the spicy samosas that were filled with potatoes and peas packed a punch.

Spring rolls cut in halves in bowls on a table
(Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

The Thai Student Association served pad thai from Thai Basil in Fullerton. Like the musubi, the pad thai became cold from sitting as we stood in line. The condiments were on the side, but in its truest form tasted nothing like the pad thai we’re familiar with.

When we finally made our way to the Porto’s booth, we were ready for something sweet. Hosted by the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective and Queer Straight Alliance, we were offered a choice between regular and guava cheese rolls.

The flaky pastry was delectable, melting in our mouths and fusing with the guava cheese spread. We were in momentary heaven.

Still craving sweets, we visited the Association of Indonesian Students for the best bite of the night. Lapis surabaya, an Indonesian layer cake, sat modestly on the table. While it wasn’t the flashiest booth, the flavor spoke for itself. Made from egg, flour and jam, the cake was sweet enough to satisfy but it wasn’t overwhelming by any means.

Sweetness had overcome us, and we needed something to wash it down, but there was nothing to sip in sight.

Almost all of the food was gone by the time we left, which was about 6 p.m., although the event was slated to last until 8 p.m. We left hungry, though many stayed for the performances that were scheduled for later.

While there wasn’t enough supply for the demand, it was a nice stop for those who made it on time.

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