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Moonlight Market returning to Calgary’s East Village

Foodies of Calgary, we have five words for you: Cheap eats on a stick.

The second annual Moonlight Market is returning to East Village this year on Aug. 25, and the focus is on exotic foods, small portions, and prices that won’t break the bank.

Organizer Lourdes Juan said a group of volunteers came up with the idea three years ago after being inspired by Asian night markets. They held the first night market last summer.

“Everything at the night market is in between $2 and $10,” she said. “Most things are on a stick. The purpose of it is so that people can try a variety of different items.”

This won’t just be a collection of food trucks. Many of the vendors have brick and mortar restaurants, but they’ll be showcasing unusual items that might not be found on their normal menus.

One of the vendors she’s most excited about is Uzu Taiyaki – a vendor from Calgary’s Chinatown that makes Japanese-style fish-shaped cake with fillings.

Canadian classic Beavertails will be there, and it wouldn’t be a Calgary event without some mini donuts, but also keep an eye out for savoury items from Korean Bros, Eats of Asia, and Mama G’s Samosa.

Small portion sizes are encouraged by organizers, because it allows patrons to try more now foods.

In all 23 food vendors will be serving up treats, and some retails vendors will be there to complement them.

Juan said the focus is on food, but as with traditional Asian night markets, there are always a few stalls selling knickknacks.

There are still a handful of vendor spaces available.

“We do want a focus on local vendors,” said Juan. “Certainly we’re looking for that local artisan and vendor – that’s to compliment the street food.”

Jay Delcorro, the owner of Eats of Asia, is looking forward to going back for the event’s second year.

He said he was surprised at the volume of customers at last year’s inaugural event, so he didn’t want to miss out again this year.

Eats of Asia will focus on smaller portions, which Delcorro said just makes more sense for an outdoor market event such as this.

“We usually do something different,” he said. “This year, we’ll probably be bringing back the curry puffs that we did last year.”

A new item he’s thinking about trying is Spam Musubi, which is a form of sushi that uses Spam as the protein.

The Moonlight Market is organized by a not-for-profit organization. Vendor Fees go towards rentals and other expenses such as hiring a DJ. Juan said if it keeps growing, there may be money down the road to hire a coordinator.

This year the event will be held form 3 to 10 p.m. on Riverfront Lane in East Village.

“We wish we could be open to 1 o’clock,” said Juan. “There are noise restrictions because of the residential towers.”