Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 93: Little Mekong Night Market

Street food, breakdancers, and crazy crowds

You don’t have to fly to Southeast Asia to sample fiery-hot papaya salad, fried chicken feet, flame-grilled squid-on-a-stick, and other street food delicacies. The Little Mekong Night Market has all that and then some.⁣⁣ Founded in 2014 by St. Paul’s Asian Economic Development Association, it has quickly become a Frogtown tradition, packing 87 vendors and thousands of fairgoers into the streets surrounding University Avenue West. ⁣⁣
For the record, our top three dishes from this summer’s festivities were the khao poon at Soul Lao, a spicy rice vermicelli soup served with chicken or tilapia; the moriawase bowl from Donburi-MN (rice topped with salmon and tuna sashimi, boiled eel, panko-crusted shrimp, and Japanese-style fried chicken); and Coco Cream MN’s signature special, pictured below. The colorful dessert is served in a coconut shell with a creamy scoop of taro ice cream plus mango, jackfruit, basil seeds, tapioca-coated water chestnuts, jellies, peanuts, and a delicate macaron. ⁣

Other crowdpleasers drawing mega lines included French pastries from Marc Heu Pâtisserie Paris, sashimi burritos at Ninja Sushi, cotton candy poufs from Spinning Wylde, and go-bags of sparkling lychee lemonade with butterfly pea tea from Indigo Street Drinks. ⁣⁣

Didn’t make it to this year’s market? Look for a limited number of Little Mekong Night Market stands popping up at Keg and Case in St. Paul every Saturday and Sunday through August 24-25, 2019. Saturday hours are 5 p.m. to midnight; Sundays are 3 to 10 p.m. ⁣⁣

The Little Mekong crew will also make an appearance at Chroma Zone, Minnesota’s first public mural arts festival, in September. Follow @chromazonefest for details on that; it’s a must-see for anyone who loves street art as much as they love street food.

Little Mekong Night Market
422 University Ave. W., St. Paul, MN; 651-222-7798.