Night markets are fairly common across Asia — a mix of hectic hawker stalls and nightlife — but happen to be underappreciated in the U.S., where the idea of eating outside at night feels much less romantic, and indeed, does not come with the same mood-elevating lantern lights that turn a regular street into a venue.
Fortunately for festival-goers, Feast Portland
isn’t bound to those same cultural constraints, and this year’s Night Market
at Zidell Yards
, a 33-acre riverfront property with ongoing redevelopment plans, allowed chefs to draw inspiration from their popular international counterparts.
in Vancouver, there was the grilled pork jowl with tamarind dip, a sweet and salty taste of pork for those who know there’s more to life than pork belly.
From Chicago, Fat Rice’s
version of the crisped rice snack got some surprisingly effective savory embellishments, fish sauce, shredded pork, and nori.
From Joule in Seattle, Rachel Yang created what was undoubtedly the most intimidating dish of the night — spicy blood sausage with shrimp sauce. After circling her stall a number of times, I returned to prove to myself that I was the adventurous eater I imagined myself to be. After a solid 10 minutes of staring down my enemy at the table, I took a bite to discover that the sausage was mildly spicy and sweet, and not that scary.
I asked Yang what she might tell someone like me, who needed a lot of coaxing to try their first blood sausage? In short, lay off the blood thing, mentally. “It’s actually about five pounds of pork per pint of blood,” Yang said.
If it helps, that means there are only 16 ounces of blood per 80 ounces of pork, in Yang’s version anyway. If it doesn’t help, try thinking of how you’ll be able to tell people that you ate blood sausage, which is what I did.