Photos and text by: Kierstin Hill
The Sunset Market happens every Thursday evening from 5:00 – 9:00 pm on the corner of Tremont and Pier View Way. There are many unique people and even more unique stories behind the booth at the Market. A few stories are highlighted below:
Growing up in Jiangsu, China (just outside of Shanghai) Afina Wang has been making dumplings since early childhood when the family would gather together to make 70 dumplings as a family bonding event. “Good Weidao” translates to “The Road to Good Taste.” The name is fitting for these delicious dumplings, almost as a way for market-goers to theoretically travel to China to eat these authentic, homemade Chinese dumplings.
The team, consisting of Maurice Ticas and Afina Wang, has incorporated unique ingredients into traditional Chinese dumplings making them a type of fusion-food dumplings. Good Weidao adds a bit of corn into the filling and hand-makes the sauces with a few non-traditional ingredients like sweet corn kernels and mayonnaise with red chili and basil. Afina hand-makes the dumplings filling and wrapper so market-goers are guaranteed fresh, delicious dumplings every Thursday.
What is seen as a novelty market-food in America is a Thailand tradition dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. These Thai coconut pancakes are a Thai street tradition, a tradition older than America. Made from simple ingredients, the bulk of these pancakes only consist of coconut milk and rice flour which is cooked for about 3-4 minutes. Coconut syrup, consisting only of coconut milk and sugar, is poured inside that while the pancakes are still cooking. Twenty-eight of these tasty pancakes are cooked at one time on a “Kanomkrok” pan which appropriately translates to “rice cake in a pan.”
Brothers Alex and Eric Howard finished a backpacking journey in San Diego with no ticket home. Growing up in the family restaurant business in Maine, they knew the ins-and-outs of the Maine Lobster business and decided to give it a try in San Diego. The restaurant in Maine is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but the family has year-round connections to the lobster fishing on the East Coast. Wicked Maine Lobster has a contract with Delta Airlines and receives shipments of lobster every Tuesday and Thursday, totaling 2,500 pounds each week. A huge increase from the start of their business in November of 2014, when they only received 20 pounds of lobster each week.
All of the food comes from the East Coast – the meat, bread, sauces and soup. Alex and Eric have expanded their business past weekly markets; they were a food vendor at Stagecoach and Coachella and have other music festivals lined up. Alex said he “wants to travel the world through selling lobster.”
There is not a kid in Thailand who has not had BBQ pork on a stick with a side of sticky rice. It’s common Thai street food. While living in Thailand for 8 years, Pari Thitathan was fascinated by this street food. He wanted to bring this food to America, but needed to find a delivery method where Americans would eat it without throwing away the rice. Thus, the “Thai Burger” was born.
Husband and wife team, Pari and Pang Thitathan invented the burgers inspired from traditional Thai street food, but with a twist. The patty is hand mixed from scratch and consists of either BBQ Pork, Panang Curry, Chicken Satay and Tofu. The “bun” is sticky rice on both sides of the patty and does not fall apart. This “fast food” type meal is one of the cleanest and easiest-to-eat foods at the Sunset Market, which makes it popular because market-goers can eat it while walking around to different booths. Pari, a former student of both Oceanside High and MiraCosta College met his wife Pang while living in Oceanside. The way he says it, “he stole her from Thailand and brought her to San Diego.”
While traveling through Europe, Michael Bossle spent time in Finland. He didn’t know it then, but what he saw there would redirect his life. He witnessed the Finish people digging holes then building a fire in the hole and slow-cooking their fresh fish over the fire. Originally from Germany, Bossle went home to mimic that design and build his own mechanism to cook food.
The salmon is initially put on the fire to start the cooking process and then it is suspended over the fire to slow-cook and finish the process. The fire builds a crust over the salmon which locks in the juices and gives it a bit of a smoked flavor. The seasoning oil (made only of olive oil, sea salt and paprika) is caught as it drips into a tray below. Bossle worked at markets in Germany for five years before moving to America in 2015. His family is still running the business for him back in Germany while he expands it to the American market.
Long-time bread maker, Derrick Boykins went to numerous catering gigs and ate plenty of beignets (pronounced ben-yays), but always thought the beignets he ate weren’t quite right. Being an experienced savory-chef, he decided to try his hand at beignets and make his own. Derrick and his wife Maria now make 126 pounds of dough every Monday to cover their weekly markets and annual events. Beignets were made famous at Café du Munde, in New Orleans.
The finished product of beignets come out airy, like a warm, buttery croissant sprinkled with powered sugar. The traditional beignets from Café du Munde have only powdered sugar, but Derrick and Maria wanted to give them a California spin. Full of Crumbs has many varieties of toppings to choose from including: strawberries, chocolate, sprinkles, nuts, maple bacon, caramel and of course the classic powdered sugar.
Kong Kim, originally from Korea, learned the art of baking French pastries from another Korean bakery chef, who baked in San Marcos for over 30 years. Kim taught his three daughters the art of Macaroons, and they immediately fell in love. Soon after the daughters got involved, the Kim family opened a French bakery in San Diego and attends two markets every week in Vista and Oceanside. The bakery in San Diego also has cookies, cake and coffee, but the Kim family is best known for their Macaroons, which have now become a Sunset Market staple.