D.C. will play host to a massive party celebrating East and Southeast Asian cuisine and culture on Nov. 6 with the U.S. Capitol Building as the backdrop. More than 50 vendors will sell the food and drink you might find at a pulsing night market abroad on a four-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Look for the chefs behind D.C. favorites like Tiger Fork, Maketto, Purple Patch, Anju, Thamee, and Thip Khao.
The REDEYE Night Market, which runs from 4 p.m. to midnight, comes from creative agency No Kings Collective and Events DC. Attendees can also look forward to music, dance, and other cultural performances throughout the event.
No Kings Collective co-founder Peter Chang has wanted to bring a night market of this magnitude to D.C. for years after seeing smaller ones pop up across the city. The pandemic forced him to pump the brakes until now.
“What I envision a night market to be, I look at ones in Asia,” he says. “They’re massive. We want to take it to that scale and do an event where I can get all of my favorite restaurants and places popping up in D.C. to participate.”
The name REDEYE nods at the notion of an overnight flight. “The idea of a night market not being native to America, but we’re bringing over something unique to the Asian diaspora,” Chang says. He started No Kings Collective with Brandon Hill. “We were thinking of this as a transplanted event. Something traveling from Asia to over here. You’d get here through a red eye.”
(Chantal Tseng and Carlie Steiner ran a Redeye Menus dinner series in 2015.)
China Chilcano Executive Chef Will Fung is one of the participants. He recently joined the ThinkFoodGroup restaurant after a sell-out pandemic hot pot pop-up. His menu spans Peruvian Criollo, Chinese Chifa, and Japanese Nikkei cuisines. At the night market he plans to sell a Japanese simmered dish (nimono) of root vegetables from a local farm and beef noodle soup.
“The last year and a half has been difficult for the restaurant community and the Asian community as well,” Fung says. “A lot of it was spent working in isolation so [the night market] is a fun way to be able to see everyone in the community and work alongside creative, fun people showcasing what we can do as a whole.”
This is precisely why Chang wanted to put on the night market. “This is a celebration of what we’re overcoming together,” he says, echoing Fung.
No Kings Collective and Events DC aren’t charging vendors fees and tents will be provided free of charge. “That way 100 percent of sales will go to the restauranteurs and vendors,” Chang explains. “This is truly, for me, a give back to people in the industry.”
Other vendors from D.C. and further afar include Ekiben, Gwenie’s Pastries, Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly, Lei Musubi, CHIKO, Glassey, SnoCream Company, King’s Ransom, Tae-Gu Kimchi, and Nihao.
It’s free to enter the REDEYE Night Market but then attendees must pay to try food and drink. Register for the event and see the full list of participants here.