Celebrate AAPI heritage — and eat all the foods — at these Asian night markets

Kathleen de Lara - May 9, 2024

Night markets — open-air bazaars packed with food stalls — have played a central role in Chinese and Taiwanese society for centuries. Now they are surging in cities across North America, taking on new importance as post-pandemic IRL celebrations of Asian food and culture.  

Kick-start an upcoming weekend with a visit to one of these vibrant markets — in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Portland — and, in honor of AAPI Heritage Month, Lyft will cover part of your ride there.

BACKYARD: Asian Night Market (Toronto, Ontario)

May 18, 4–10 p.m. ET*

This May, Stackt — Canada’s largest shipping container market — is bringing back its popular Asian Night Market for a second year. With over 50 food, drink, and retail vendors, the market is a great place to celebrate Toronto’s multicultural identity. 

Go to support local small businesses, like BLB & Co., a pandemic-born baked goods shop that specializes in bolo bao, or Chinese pineapple buns. “It’s a mix of flavors influenced by my Hong Kong heritage and upbringing in Toronto,” founder Stuart Li says. Li recommends BLB & Co.’s black sesame bo lo bao, miso chocolate chip cookie, and the yuzu miso butter tart — a gooey, Asian take on a Canadian classic. For other options, try the mochi muffins from Mofu, Ki-ot Cafe’s plant-based Vietnamese drinks, and Besseha Jewellery for minimal, elegant, everyday accessories. Stackt’s Night Market programming also includes a DJ showcase, traditional Chinese lion and Philippine folk dances, and an interactive dumpling-making workshop.

RSVP and plan to arrive early for this highly anticipated event.

*RIDE CODE: BKYDANM24. Offer is valid for 50% off one Lyft ride, up to $10, for the first 1,000 users to redeem. Code valid only on 05/18/2024 from 3:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET. Valid only to or from Stackt Market.

BeChinatown Night Market (San Francisco, California)

Every second Friday of the month through November, 5:30–9 p.m. PT

Discounted ride codes for June 14, 5:30–9 p.m. PT*

Considering that San Francisco is home to North America’s oldest and largest Chinatown, the city’s BeChinatown Night Market is a must-visit. With a mission to rejuvenate the area post-COVID-19, the market showcases live music and dance performances alongside 25-plus vendors.

“At the night market, you can easily try eight or ten items at affordable prices,” says BeChinatown assistant manager Max Huang. Huang recommends visitors sample the popcorn chicken from Broadway Dim Sum Cafe, Hainanese chicken rice from Metro Hong Kong Dessert and Milk Tea, or a variety of milk and fruit teas from By Me Boba Tea. Pro tip for the chopstick-savvy: Try your hand at a game of peanut-picking to win a food voucher.

*RIDE CODE: BECHINATOWNMKT. Offer is valid for 50% off one Lyft ride, up to $10, for the first 1,500 users to redeem. Code valid only on 06/14/2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT. Valid only to or from BeChinatown Night Market.

atSiam Night Market (Los Angeles, California)

Every Friday–Sunday, 5–11 p.m. PT

Discounted ride codes for June 15, 5:30–9 p.m. PT*

When Pongphaka Pongsamart arrived in Los Angeles in 2022, she — and other Thai vendors — began selling street food outside a 99-cent store on Sunset Boulevard. When the makeshift market was shut down, Pongsamart birthed atSiam Night Market, a haven for L.A.’s small Thai community. 

You’ll find familiar dishes like papaya salad from Enjoy Papaya and pad ka prow (holy basil stir fry) from Srisaket Street Food. For the adventurous, try durian sticky rice from Tong Tanee or nam khao tod (crispy rice salad) from YaYa Lao Thai Kitchen. Pongsamart says, “You’ll feel the same vibe here as a Bangkok night market: live music, good food, people dancing and having fun. And it’s family-friendly.”

*RIDE CODE: SIAMDAYMKT. Offer is valid for 50% off one Lyft ride, up to $10, for the first 1,000 users to redeem. Code valid only on 06/15/2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT. Valid only to or from atSiam Market.

August 10, 3–10 p.m. PT*

Before World War II, Portland’s Jade District was home to many Japanese immigrants. Today it is still one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, and the Jade International Night Market, now in its eighth year, is a celebration of the area’s multifaceted cultural makeup, local makers, and entrepreneurs.

The night market will host an array of local food, retail, and nonprofit businesses, as well as cultural performances including Chinese lion dancing, Spanish folklórico, and stomp and shake cheer — a cheerleading style with Southern U.S. origins. “The night market is a family-friendly time,” says Alisa Kajikawa, the Jade District’s community development manager. “It’s a place where everyone wants to come together, celebrating our pocket of Portland.”

Stay up to date on event details on the Jade District Instagram and Facebook pages.

*RIDE CODE: JADEINTLNIGHTMKT. Offer is valid for 50% off one Lyft ride, up to $10, for the first 1,000 users to redeem. Code valid only on 08/10/2024 from 02:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. PT. Valid only to or from Jade International Night Market.