How has the 626 Night Market changed the SGV?

Veronica Wood and Emily Mu

The San Gabriel Valley consists of several cities, predominantly populated by Asians. Cities like Rosemead, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Temple City, Arcadia, and Alhambra are all clumped together to form a community known as the 626. The San Gabriel Valley has recently grown in popularity due to the 626 Night Market. With all the attention surrounding the night market, some have noticed changes within the community such racial diversity, ongoing construction, and an influx in people.

We put out a survey about how the 626 night market has impacted the San Gabriel Valley community. To get to know more about their communities, we asked questions like, ‘what does the SGV mean to you?’ and ‘how do you feel about the recent popularity in the SGV due to the 626 Night Market?’ The answers ranged from people who have lived in the 626 their whole lives to people who previously lived there and moved away. Most of the answers were pretty similar, saying the 626 is home and the night market was good publicity because it shares bits and pieces of Asian food and culture.

The questions asked in the survey represent what the 626 community is, and how it has been impacted by the popularity of the night market. While many said their community was impacted, they felt the impact was positive. Many responses said it brings people together and brings pride to the Asian community.

Out of the 26 responses we chose these five people who had the most interesting responses and first was Eunbi Park. She feels that it’s great that others have been able to experience her neighborhood but feels as if the culture in the 626 is becoming more “trendy” and “Instagram worthy.” Park expresses that the 626 Night Market helps the economy but brings unneeded attention to the market and not towards their actual culture. To Park, the SGV is her everything: all her friends, memories, and mistakes are there, which makes it what she calls home. She also loves all the Boba places and late night cafes because she has somewhere to go with friends or when she’s bored at night.

Lightbulb boba drinks with color changing ice cubes at the 626 night market
Rice bear resting in Curry

As for Allan Wang, a 20-year-old resident of the SGV, says that the 626 is no longer just a number to him anymore. Wang says that the 626 area has received a lot of coverage in the past years. He mentioned a Youtube group called the Fung Brothers. With over 1.7million subscribers, the Fung Brothers made two music videos featuring the 626 and its local spots. In another video Wang mentioned, the 626 was called the “Asian Beverly Hills.” Wang mentioned that he hasn’t really seen the influx of other cultures coming into the SGV in the past 10 years. “The 626 Night Market is just a microcosm of things we actually don’t have here in the 626,” says Wang.

This video is by the Fung Brothers, residents of the 626 who have a popular Youtube channel with over 1.7 million subscribers.

Another SGV resident, Mark Revival says that there is always construction in the surrounding cities of the 626 Night Market and that it’s good because the economy continues to grow here. He has not noticed the influx of culture but he says that it’s mostly just been waves of Chinese immigrants from the mainland for the last 15 years.

Sharon Lam, another 20-year-old resident of the SGV says that the 626 Night Market has brought a lot of diversity into the community. With all the construction going on, Lam feels that it has changed her willingness to go to the 626 Night Market because there is so much traffic and the lines are almost 2 hours long. Other than the horrible traffic and lines she feels the SGV is a place where she can be herself because 626 residents come together as a community to celebrate her culture.

Lines and Crowds from 626 Night Market

Victoria Phun says that the SGV is where she has made her childhood friends. This area is important to her and her family because they are surround by so many individuals who share similar cultures and experiences. She feels that the 626 Night Market is a great attraction for people to learn the culture of the SGV, and it makes the community unique. Phun says that boba shops symbolize the 626 and even at an early age, she learned that many boba shops and tea stations are where everyone likes to hangout.

This is the top 10 drink menu at Teabrick, the local boba shop on Garfield Ave.

In conclusion, out of the information gathered from the surveys there were mixed reviews on the 626 Night Market. From people loving the food and culture of the market to hating the long lines, the night market has impacted the community both ethnically and economically. With the popularity of the night market, much attention has been brought to the San Gabriel Valley and to the Asian culture. There is a sense of pride that comes with living in the 626 and the night market has brought it out.

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