Night It Up 2016

Night it up is a three day outdoor food event from July 15 to July 17, 2016 (dates change every year) featuring street style food and games that one would find at an authentic night market in Asia. I love going to Night It Up! It’s something that I look forward to going every year around July. It brings back memories of how I used to go with my family while I was still a child in Taiwan.

Every year, I would always go on the first night and that’s when alot of people go as well. But here’s the thing…it is super packed on the first night. It’s fine for those people who enjoy the crowds and excitements. So I’ve finally learned my lesson after years of goin on the first night: going on the afternoon of the second day (I cant believe it just hit me that i could do that). Not only can I walk around at my normal pace, I also didn’t have to wait 30 minute for every food vendor that I want to try out. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ So here’s a tip: go on the second or third day!

Thai iced tea drink in a bag

This was such a super cute idea: serving thai iced tea in a bag. For some reason….it just seems more authentic when it’s served in a bag. We don’t see it often here in Toronto…but actually, it is quite common in alot of Asian countries. 

Japanese raindrop cakes from @aaagrills

I’m so glad this raindrop cake is finally available here! It was super hyped up on instagram a while back..and i’ve always wondered how it would taste like. It taste like a jello!! 

Taiwanese oysters pancake

Classic taiwanese street food. πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ if you ever visit taiwan…you will see this everywhere. 

Taiwanese fried chicken from Kanpai snack bar 

Rice burger with fried chicken

Ramen burger with fried chicken

I love how innovative n creative this was! Looks super appealing and guess what? It tasted just as good! Chicken was crispy, tender and juicy. 

Kakigori @gustahaus

This sakura kakigori  was so amazing! It was as if I have been transported to Japan! It was light and refreshing..perfect for a hot summer day. 

Paper net fishing

You have not experienced a real night market if you haven’t tried to catch a fish with a paper net!!! It takes some serious skills but I’ve seen people catching 4-5 fish without breaking the net!!! (Too bad i’ve never had any success) Best part about it is that you get to take home whatever you catch! 

Admission: free!! 

Parking: lots of free parking on the streets. 

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Aka Teppan Markham

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I visited Aka Teppan with a couple of friends a few nights ago for dinner located at the First Markham Place plaza. This wasn’t my first time here, but I was still pretty excited to go since I haven’t had it for quite some time. I still remember the first time I had dinner there, was when they first opened. The line would go out the door and the standard wait time was at least 30 minutes. Of course it would be busy; who wouldn’t like the concept of “DIY-ing” (sort of, not really) your meal on a hot sizzling plate?

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Thankfully, my friends and I didn’t have to wait long to be seated. I’m not sure if it was a little early for dinner, or maybe it just wasn’t as hyped up as before. Or, maybe it’s because they opened up a second location, so not everyone is jammed to one location.

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First thing I asked the waiter was: “Do you guys have any hot pot today?” I came here one time because I wasΒ craving for their mini hot pots, but they were sold out! That night, I left hungry and disappointed because they didn’t have what I wanted. So, despite the super hot summer-like weather we had the other night, I wanted to get what I couldn’t have the previous time. (And I did. But at least I wasn’t the only one that was crazy enough to get hot pot when it was 20 degrees outside.)

20160526_200239_mh1464315634560Supreme Beef with Rice – $9.49

One convenient thing about their sizzling plate dishes is that you get to control how well you want your beef cooked. If you like it a little more raw, you can remove them and just mix the rice up with the sauce. If you prefer more flavor and don’t mind the cooked beef, mix it with the rice until they’re all incorporated with the sauce.

20160526_200342_mh1464315589601Spicy Beef Udon – $12.99

20160526_200649_mh1464315701242Spicy Beef Udon –Β $12.99 (0.99 cents each to add egg + cheese)

Another great thing about the place, is that you can add extra toppings, at the cost of .99 cents per item that you add. Just look how amazing this spicy beef udon looks after adding the cheese and egg. AMAZING!

20160526_200516_mh1464315763480Hokkaido Gyunyu Milk Hot Pot – $16.99
Served with beef, udon, naruto maki, enoki mushroom, hakusai cabbage, shirataki noodle

The soup base was AMAZING! Tip: the longer you cook the soup, the creamier and thicker it gets! Just imagine all the ingredients in that creamy soup! Yum! This was worth every sweat drop that I had to endure! (Just kidding. Although, it did get pretty hot for me half way through the soup.) This would be perfect on a cold winter night!

Verdict– It’s pretty neat that you’re able to customize the dish to how you want it (sauce, ingredients, how well you want your protein cooked, etc). If you are picky about your food, this might be the right place for you! Overall, food was great; and an added bonus for me: they are visually appealing.

Parking: FREE PARKING! (Two of my favorite words!)

Aka Teppan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MeNami

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My sister and I both love a good bowl of udon, so we decided to check out MeNami over the long weekend. MeNami, located at Yonge + Finch specializes in the traditional taste of Japanese Udon. They serve udon made in various waysΒ (cold, soup base, baked, stir-fried). If you are in a sharing mood, MeNami offers tapas and pots (sukiyaki pot, oden..etc).

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I knew that this was a pretty popular restaurant destination, but I wasn’t expecting all the tables to be filled up during the long weekend. Had we arrived a few minutes later, my sister and I probably would’ve had to wait to be seated. Luckily, we beat the rush by a few minutes and got the perfect seats! It felt like we were at an indoor patio from where we were seated.

20160523_125743_mh1464034586503Corn Kaki-Age – $5.00
Corn Niblets, Honey Butter Mayonnaise

I love this dish. The honey butter mayo compliments the corn niblets perfectly. I dare you to stop at just one or two! For sure you will not be able to stop! I couldn’t!

20160523_130754_mh1464034671781Black Sesame Puree Udon with Beef – $15.00
Beef, Schichimi, Green Onion, Red Pepper Thread, Baby Spinach

Not only was this dish visually appealing, it had a unique taste to it. Definitely not what I was expecting (in a good way).

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20160523_130854_mh1464034745318Tempura Udon – $11.50
Shrimp, Seasonal Vegetable Tempura

Verdict: I would definitely go back! However, I would stick to ordering non-soup based udon like the black sesame or the baked udon. Those are probably more worth your money, whereas the regular soup udon you can get anywhere else for much cheaper price.

Parking: Paid street parking.

MeNami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato