Skip to main content
Arts & Culture

Asia Is Full of Night Markets. San Francisco May Have One This Summer

Written by Han LiPublished Apr. 03, 2023 • 7:00am
Supervisor Joel Engardio wants to create an Asian-style night market in San Francisco. | Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

Thinking about enjoying a plate of sizzling fried noodles and grilled squid on a San Francisco street after dark, as millions of people in Asia do? One San Francisco supervisor is working on making it happen.

Supervisor Joel Engardio confirmed to The Standard that he is “deep in the planning stages” of bringing an Asian-style night market to the Sunset District, where many Asian Americans reside.

“The night market is more than just food,” Engardio said. “It’s a joyous time that brings the community together.”

Engardio has been advocating the night market idea on social media since a trip to Taiwan last year with his husband, a Taiwanese immigrant. Chinese-language media also has written extensively about his ambitious plan.

The supervisor told The Standard that he’s meeting with city departments and merchants about a pilot program that would create a Friday night market as early as this August along one of the  Sunset’s commercial corridors, possibly spanning five blocks with cooking vendors and stalls. 

Stakeholders have begun talks with potential corporate sponsors and are actively seeking funds to launch the program, according to Engardio.

If the pilot succeeds, the night market will become a monthly event in 2024, Engardio said.

Tourists and locals walk around Raohe night market, one of the most popular in Taipei. | Craig Ferguson/LightRocket via Getty Images

However, it’s not an easy job to transplant the longstanding food culture in Asia to San Francisco—not only because of the normally chilly summer weather, but also a difficult bureaucratic system for health and street closure permits that invariably involve numerous city departments.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health told The Standard that this type of night market requires a temporary event permit from the department to protect the customers from food-related illness. The department said it hasn't received any applications yet but is ready to assist the applicants through the process.

Engardio revealed that he’s working with state lawmakers to make some changes next year to ease certain restrictions for hosting night markets.

Currently, there are smaller-scale night market gatherings across San Francisco, while one of the most popular events, 626 Night Market, opted to set up in the comparatively warmer East Bay suburb of Pleasanton.

Han Li can be reached at [email protected]

Bay Area Rap Icon E-40’s Favorite Filipino Spot Just Keeps Growing

Bay Area Rap Icon E-40’s Favorite Filipino Spot Just Keeps Growing

killer whales

‘Really Special’: 20 Killer Whales Spotted Off San Francisco Coast

This San Francisco Restaurant Serves Holograms and ‘Bomb’ Fried Rice

This San Francisco Restaurant Serves Holograms and ‘Bomb’ Fried Rice

Yosemite Travelers Get Great News

Yosemite Travelers Get Great News

Get a Sneak Peek at San Francisco’s Next Huge New Park

Get a Sneak Peek at San Francisco’s Next Huge New Park

Stay on top of what’s happening in your city

SF’s most important stories, delivered straight to your inbox

By clicking Sign up you confirm you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy