Night Market Showcases Under the Radar Food Entrepreneurs

Some 200 foodies shuffled through the La Cocina Night Market on Saturday night at 18 Reasons tasting the signature dishes of four food entrepreneurs.

The night market is a relatively new, last-Saturday-of-every-month event that brings together two of the Mission’s leading food non profits – 18 Reasons, a food education and empowerment non profit started by Bi-Rite, and La Cocina, an incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs.

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Man’oushe, being prepared by Reem Assil, the founder of Reem’s. Photo by Meira Gebel.

Neem’s, Peaches Patties, Nyum Bai, and Kaleidescope were on hand Saturday night with some 200 people coming through between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m, according to Michelle McKenzie, 18 Reason’s program director.  All of the proceeds go to La Cocina.

Reem Assil, the founder of Reem’s, said she specializes in man’oushe, a crisp flatbread that can be topped with assorted treats including roma tomatoes, mint, thyme and California love.

“I want to give people the taste of walking down an Arab street. This is the snack,” said Assil, who is Syrian and Palestinian.

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Shani Jones, far right, prepares her signature Jamaican jerk chicken and patties for patrons inside 18 Reason’s event space on 18th Street. Photo by Meira Gebel.

Peaches Patties, run by Shani Jones and named for her mother (It was her nickname.) offered handmade Jamaican patties.

Jones said that Jamaican patties are the equivalent to Mexican empanadas, but are baked instead of fried

Jones said the patties were taking off.

“I have a big demand right now, but I don’t have enough staff,” said Jones, who is in La Cocina’s course for entrepreneurs where she is learning finance, marketing, operations, and product.

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Nite Yun, stands by her station at La Cocina’s Nigh Market, located at 18 Reason’s 18th Street event space, on May 30, 2015. Photo by Meira Gebel.

Nite Yun, who is originally from the Central Valley, ended up living in Asia for a few months when she decided San Francisco needed a Cambodian restaurant.. Eager to be one of the first to offer the region’s street food, Yun returned to the Bay Area to start Nyum Bai.

“I just really want to introduce people to what Cambodian food is,” said Yun. Nyum Bai offered a noodle soup, similar to pho, but with a thicker, slow-cooked pork broth, which includes fresh ingredients like cilantro and pickled cabbage.

To top the night off, visitors could try kale chips from Kaleidoscope Living Foods.

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Patrons fill 18 Reason’s 18th Street location for the monthly La Cocina Night Market. event on May 30, 2015. Photo by Meira Gebel.

Stay tuned for next month’s market.

 

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