Every Thursday night, Oceanside's Sunset Market gathers local farmers, artists, and chef's from all over the world. It's a wonderful way to spend a Thursday evening with friends and family (this means your fur baby too!) with live entertainment and an amazing selection of gourmet cuisines.
I initially envisioned a market full of the standard fair food like corn dogs, funnel cakes, and caramel apples. Wow, was I wrong. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of booths that carried international cuisines and couldn't wait to try all the goodness these talented chefs had cooked up.
First, a little back story before I dive into the yummy food. Sunset Market is renowned for its diverse food options and started it's family-friendly event in August 2007. Thousands of residents and visitors gather each week to enjoy all the food, merchandise and live entertainment. The average cost for a plate of food is between $5-$6. The prices make it affordable to try more than one cuisine, which you will definitely be enticed to do. There are so many food stands to choose from and here were my favorite picks from this visit:
Garlic Noodles & Grill
I'm a huge fan of Vietnamese food and Garlic Noodles served up fabulous Vietnamese French Fusion dishes. I'm guilty of constantly ordering Pho when I am dining at a Vietnamese restaurant, so it was a delight to try Chef Antoine's unique twist on Vietnamese cuisine.
Taste of Poland
Do you know what a Pierogi is? Don't worry, I had no idea either and it was delicious. Chef Alicia Miechowski cooks up some amazing Polish dishes and you can really taste the love of her homeland's food. Ask her anything about Polish food and she will passionately tell you all about her cuisine.
Belgium Street Fries
I'm usually the one who stays away from the fried foods, but I couldn't resist these fries! Chef Serge Libioulle cooks these fries to perfection. That means they are fried twice to deliver that perfect crisp. I could eat them as-is, but then he adds these amazing dips to elevate your taste buds. I especially enjoyed dipping my fries in the special Sriracha sauce.
Wicked Maine Lobster
If you are a lobster fan, then you need to head straight to this booth. Maine Lobster is currently in high demand and chef Alex Howard has access to this wild caught, antibiotic free lobster from the fishermen in Maine. They are highly sought after and their delicious meals are served at an array of events. One of them being Coachella.
This booth was by far my favorite for two reasons: I've never had West African Cuisine and it was simply amazing. Chef Olivia Laryea cooks her food to perfection. She is so committed to giving the most authentic experience, so much so that she imports all her spices. Why? Because the soil in Ghana is completely different. Now that is true commitment to giving her customers authentic Ghanaian West African Cuisine.
These days it's hard to find fish that isn't farm raised, so to be able to eat wild caught fire roasted salmon was a huge treat. Chef Michael Bossle keeps his ingredients simple: paprika, sea salt, fire. Yup, that's pretty much all you need when the salmon is packed with it's own natural flavors.
Who says desserts can't be delicious and gluten free? Chef Amy Cao & Gabriel Shahrabani serve delicious Creme Brûlée and Gluten Free Cakes. Their motto is, "Enjoy in Good Health!".
Chef Derrick and Maria Boykins serve New Orleans Style Beignets and it was superb. They serve tasty bite size delights with seasonal flavors to get you coming back for more. One of their newest menu items is the "Nutellaicious". Any guesses what that might be?
Chef Atsuko really has the most unique flavors of cakes I have ever had. She uses healthy ingredients like kale and edamame in her cake batter. If you've ever had cake in Japan, you will be surprised to find that it is a lot less sweet and the texture is different. It's more fluffy and airy and not as dense as American cakes. The story behind her cake creations is one that comes from the heart. Her son grew up in the States and when he went to visit his mother's home country for the first time, he really loved the cake and was disappointed that he couldn't get it back in the US. Atsuko was determined to give her son a taste of Japan in her home and learned how to bake Japanese cakes herself. She also decided to add healthy and unique ingredients to encourage her husband to eat more vegetables.
I got to taste so many amazing dishes in one night, and can't wait to go back and try some more. The residents of O'Side are truly lucky to be able to take a culinary trip around the world every Thursday night at the Sunset Market.