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Thai-style market event opens in OKC


Brian Gi poses for a photo in the Farmers Market District for OKC Night Bizarre, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Brian Gi poses for a photo in the Farmers Market District for OKC Night Bizarre, Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Brian Gi left the state after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. He created a new, local street festival to keep others from doing the same.

The first OKC Night Bazaar is 6 p.m.-midnight June 18 in OKC Farmers Market district, 311 S. Klein Ave. It draws upon Gi’s Thai heritage and a similar event he helped plan during his nine years in California.

“Four years ago, we got jump-started on the 626 Night Market,” he said of a popular Los Angeles event he co-founded. “Ethnically, I’m Taiwanese. Night markets are a staple of the culture.”

Rather than just food trucks, this event focuses on pop-up restaurants in tents serving a panoply of Asian, South American and comfort food cuisine reflecting Oklahoma City’s diverse cultures.

“I want to elevate the food event scene,” he said.

Part of that plan is to feature cuisines largely underrepresented at the city’s street festivals: Filipino eggrolls, Asian street tacos, possibly a roast pig.

“What I’m looking for is a lot of open-flame cooking,” Gi said.

Spectacle is a big part of Taiwanese night markets, and Gi hopes to feed Oklahomans’ curiosity as well as their appetites.

Social food

The event keeps elements of street food, including prices that make it possible for guests to try multiple dishes.

Chef Alex Chin brings a wealth of Asian influences to his cooking, including a stint at Momofuku in New York City and his current gig at head chef at NoMo SoHo. He and his wife host a booth featuring pork-filled and dessert lumpia, an eggroll popular in the Philippines and Indonesia.

C² Catering presents an interactive and entertaining chef-staffed ceviche station, and El Fogon De Edgar — a local Colombian restaurant — serves chorizo and shredded beef arepas. Thai House II serves grilled pork, mango rice and sausage poppers, and Gia Gia Vietnamese Family Restaurant cooks up a variety of Vietnamese delights.

Food trucks That Pie Truck, Taco the World, Midway Deli, A Latte Love Coffee House and Bacon N’ Cakin’ also will participate.

OKC Night Bazaar closes SW Second Street between Klein and Ellison avenues for more than six hours, taking over parts of the Farmers Market district and incorporating Power House and Urban Agrarian.

Though food is a throughline, Gi said there also is shopping, music, art and dancing.

“We want people to meet the community, eat and have a good time,” he said.

What Oklahoma City needs are more ways to keep young creatives of every culture in the state. Gi traveled around the world, looking for “more to do” and returned to Oklahoma.

“If we don’t provide an outlet, we’re going to lose a lot of talent,” he said.

Print headline: Nocturnal market, Brian Gi wants OKC Night Bazaar to connect the community and young creatives.

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