So what is the 626? The 626 generally covers the San Gabriel Valley area in Los Angeles, California which includes Arcadia, El Monte, Pasadena, West Covina, and my hometown, Monterey Park. This area is predominantly a mix of Asians, Whites, and Hispanics.
Monterey Park, which is also known to many as the “new Chinatown”, is a close-knit community that has many attractions to see throughout the year. To celebrate the variety of cultures, we have events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, Lunar New Year Festival, Cinco de Mayo, Playdays, Fourth of July Fireworks, and more. In order to bring our community closer, we had just recently started a weekly Farmer’s Market near Barnes Park. Although many have never heard of Monterey Park, this diverse city is involved with a program called Sister Cities with Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, China, and Korea. Through this program, the cities in these countries and Monterey Park hope to foster friendship, spread goodwill, and participate in an exchange of cultures through events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Since the 626 is predominantly Asian, there are many authentic restaurants and events where you can get delicious and unique food ranging from Peking duck French fries to okonomiyaki. One big event would be the 626 Night Market at the Santa Anita Race Track near the Santa Anita Mall. The 626 Night Market was inspired by the night markets in Asia and is now the largest Asian night market in America. At the night market, you would be able to find delectable goodies, amazing entertainment, and the sense of actually being immersed in Asian culture. Food offered at the 626 Night Market range from different parts of Asia such as China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and more. Some foods that the 626 is known for are the sugarcane drinks, stinky tofu, a fusion of Chinese and Mexican kogi tacos, barbeque hotato potato, and takoyaki. When visiting the LA area, the 626 Night Market is a must see event.
If you are around the 626 area and the night market is not open at the time, there are still many great places to visit. Restaurants mentioned in the song, “626” by the Fung Brothers and Jason Chen, are awesome places to start with. Since the 626 area is known for being Asian, many kids and adults alike enjoy Korean barbeque, Japanese sushi, Vietnamese Pho, Chinese dim sum, fried goodies, hot pots, recently established Fluff Ice, and a variety of milk tea based drinks.
The 626 is a melting pot of various Asian cultures with a strong sense of community. Despite some of us not speaking the same language, we all have a mutual love of the 626 area. We are a collective area made of small individual towns that are welcome to all those around us. Although places such as Hollywood, Disneyland, and Six Flags are not far off, the 626 area is unknown by many but is a must visit place to go.
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626 (MUSIC VIDEO) – The Fung Brothers ft. Jason Chen:
626 Night Market – JK Adventures:
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