Simple & Sweet: Ice or Rice Expands After Success at Night Market Cleveland

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Simple & Sweet: Ice or Rice Expands After Success at Night Market Cleveland

Originally conceived to bring homemade Asian comfort food to Clevelanders, founder Andy Ng and his wife Jessie have expanded their initial business plan to include education and outreach since their opening day in 2015 at August’s Night Market Cleveland. “If Night Market Cleveland didn't exist, neither would Ice or Rice. It was because they encouraged local business startups with no application fee and included tables, tents, and electricity, that when I attended the July 2015 NMCLE I knew I had to give it a try,” Ng says. 

Ice or Rice began their foray into Asian comfort food with onigiri (o-NI-gi-ri). It’s a small Japanese rice snack that at it’s most basic contains steamed white rice inside of crispy roasted seaweed. In Japan, most are prepackaged and have added ingredients ranging from sesame seeds and bacon to salmon, tuna, or shrimp. Ice or Rice currently offers spicy tuna, teriyaki salmon, and shiitake mushroom on their NMCLE menu. They also offer inarizushi, sushi rice steamed and stuffed in fried tofu skin or aburaage that has been marinated in a sweet soy-based sauce.

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Cock-a-doodle-doo: Ringing in the 2017 Lunar New Year in Cleveland

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Cock-a-doodle-doo: Ringing in the 2017 Lunar New Year in Cleveland

We love to celebrate with all of our friends at Night Market Cleveland, especially during the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, commonly referred to as the Chinese New Year in the United States. In 2017, this falls between Saturday, January 28th and Wednesday, February 15th. Celebrations usually conclude with a Lantern Festival.  

During this time of year families customarily honor their ancestors, reunite with far-flung family, and celebrate popular themes of prosperity and good fortune. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, an independent, energetic, and honest sign in the Chinese zodiac. Roosters love to dress up and show off their plumage, so put on your finest duds and honor this many centuries old tradition at the following Cleveland-area celebrations.

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Land of Plenty Comes to Cleveland

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Land of Plenty Comes to Cleveland

by Rachel Hunt
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

Most would describe Land of Plenty as a home for eclectic knick knacks; coins featuring different signs of the zodiac, terrariums, gemstones, salt lamps, handmade soap, patches, ornamented pocket knives, dried sage, and sticks of incense fill wooden boxes with splashes of lively color. “I previously worked in a greenhouse and it’s nice that we have big storefront windows so we can have more green in here,” says Sisler. 

A large part of Land of Plenty’s stock, and one of the main items they bring to Night Market Cleveland, are succulents and other popular but difficult to find houseplants. Lucky bamboo, Marimo balls, and air plants or Tillandsia hang from the high grey ceilings behind windows looking out onto Detroit Avenue. They also sell pieces and parts individually in store for people to make their own terrariums. For September’s Night Market, expect to see already assembled versions, some inside of Mason jars.

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Li Wah: The Dim Sum Destination

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Li Wah: The Dim Sum Destination

by Jacqueline Bon
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

Li Wah opened in 1991, located in the heart of Asia Town, on Payne Avenue in the Asia Plaza. The Asia Plaza in a place where you can do it all —get your nails done, shop from huge selections of tea, purchase a gorgeous ornamental vase or maybe even a Samurai sword, and eat a great traditional Chinese meal. 

At Night Market, Li Wah specializes in traditional Chinese dishes including lo mien, dumplings, barbecue pork buns, spring rolls, and certain selections of dim sum. King Wah serves more eclectic dishes including braised pork belly buns, sugar cane shrimp, and Asian style barbecue ribs.

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Bad Girl Ventures supports entrepreneurial growth at Night Market Cleveland

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Bad Girl Ventures supports entrepreneurial growth at Night Market Cleveland

by Jacqueline Bon

The founders of BGV were frustrated and surprised by the fact that female-owned businesses didn’t have equal access to resources. Research by CB insights found that although women make up more than half of the population, only 2% of venture capital during early stage funding for start-up companies goes to women. Lack of resources is a huge reason why female-owned businesses statistically don’t grow at the same rate that male-owned businesses grow.

“Success is measured by looking at what is happening to our program graduates. I am pleased to see that they’re able to pursue success and receive funding. I love working with entrepreneurs, they are ambitious people with dreams,” says Réka Barabás, Marketing Manager of BGV.

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Talking shop: a Q&A with Aaron Gelston and Chris Deighan

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Talking shop: a Q&A with Aaron Gelston and Chris Deighan

by Rachel Hunt

Night Market Cleveland commissioned two eye-catching original posters, each from very different illustrators for this year’s festivities. Attendees can take home a memento of Asiatown to fondly gaze at, inspiring dreams of tasty noodles, rich baked goods, and refreshing bubble tea from near-by favorites. They’re a great reminder to stock up on must-haves each time you’re in the neighborhood.

We caught up with the artists behind the posters to ask them a few questions about their own stories and their relationship with the iconic Cleveland community. 

Read the interview Here

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SnowBros Shavery Diversifies Dessert

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SnowBros Shavery Diversifies Dessert

by Jacqueline Bon
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

What truly defines “shaved snow” is its unique light and airy texture combined with its toppings. Shaved snow begins with the creation of a frozen dairy substance similar to ice cream that is frozen offsite. At Night Market, the frozen block is spun by a machine that shaves it into a wavy lasagna-like dessert and then it’s topped with condensed milk, strawberries, blueberries, sweet red bean, mochi, sliced almonds, and even Cap’n Crunch. 

“The great thing that we’ve been able to do is introduce a new food category. There are a lot of folks that will come and say ‘We’ve had this in Taiwan’ or ‘We’ve had this in Hawaii’ and we’ll have other people that from the very beginning don’t know what it is and after tasting it will say ‘this is the best dessert we’ve ever had,’” says John. 

The dessert is already popular in Hawaii, California, and New York City and judging by the consistent line that streams from SnowBros food truck, Cleveland is also becoming hip to shaved snow.

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Ten delectable Desserts at Night Market Cleveland

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Ten delectable Desserts at Night Market Cleveland

by Jaqueline Bon

It’s the last Night Market of the season so you might as well really make it count, instead of counting calories. Eat some dessert, because there are dozens of Asian and not-so-Asian sweet treats available at September’s Night Market. 

Check out ten delectable desserts available at Night Market Cleveland Here

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Asia Food Co. Offers a Fresh Take on the Supermarket Experience

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Asia Food Co. Offers a Fresh Take on the Supermarket Experience

by Michael Marefka
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

"Welcome to Asia Food Company, located inside of Cleveland’s Asian Town Center, a sprawling retail and community space on the corner of Superior Avenue and E 38th Street, Asia Food Co. has been in business for a quarter of a century. The modest market is a testament to the feeling that you don't have to leave Cleveland to feel as if you’re traveling the world.

The first thing you notice immediately after clearing the entryway, are the colors. 

Brilliant pinks, reds, yellows, and greens invite the eyes to meet aisles of imported products from all over Asia. I find myself picking up jars of anchovies, preserved duck eggs, candy sticks with unrecognizable flavors, adorned with illustrations of characters that intrigue me, unlike anything I’d been familiarized with in childhood while roving the cereal aisle."

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Seven tasty Meat Sticks you can enjoy at Night Market

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Seven tasty Meat Sticks you can enjoy at Night Market

by Jacqueline Bon

Snacks on sticks are a convenient and abundant novelty at Night Market Cleveland. Ranging from familiar meats like chicken and steak to squid, mackerel, and chicken gizzard— there are a surplus of options for every omnivore. These snacks are also extremely affordable, which creates the perfect opportunity to try something unfamiliar more than once.

Check out 7 of the tasty meat sticks that night market has to offer Here

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The Spirits Of NMCLE

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The Spirits Of NMCLE

Stationed in Columbus, Watershed Distillery has made a name for themselves throughout Ohio and beyond, based on much more than their quality liquors. The moniker “watershed” literally means “a turning point to an action” and their brand has become synonymous with inspiring creative thinkers while actively participating in events that foster economic and cultural growth. Night Market Cleveland is one event series that Watershed chose to partner with from the very beginning, in June of 2015. 

They not only curate all of the mixed drinks at NMCLE, but Watershed works side-by-side with other entrepreneurs, partnering with their Cleveland colleagues to unveil the full potential of each product as they tumble together to make a new cocktail. The distillery brings people together to do amazing things, and plenty of exceptional moments happen within the span of every final Friday at Rockwell & E21st.

Among their signature concoctions made especially for Night Market is the “Bloody Wok” which incorporates Wok N Roll Food Truck’s homemade kimchi with Pope’s Kitchen handcrafted Bloody Mary Mix and Watershed Vodka. For the “Buddha Mule” Watershed Vodka plays a key role, mixed with Cleveland start-up Old City Soda’s ginger beer and hibiscus-lime syrup. 

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Live.Dream.Create but Please Don’t Eat This Food

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Live.Dream.Create but Please Don’t Eat This Food

Live. Dream. Create: it seems like an easy mantra to abide by but as adults it’s easy to overlook the magic of using your imagination. Krystal Tomlinson hasn’t forgotten how to do it, in fact, her felt and polyfil stuffed food and animal toys encourage customers to play just like they did when they were kids. 

“Some of the adults think that they’re so cute and they want to get one, but they don’t know what to do with it,” Tomlinson says. Don’t worry—she assures me that they make great desktop trinkets for your cubicle. Besides boosting play and alleviating stress, the toys are highly stylized to look aesthetically pleasing in just about any space (think Claes Oldenburg without the vinyl or towering scales on Etsy). 

“Children will run up and immediately know what things are. Even toddlers have wobbled over and said ‘Sushi!’ Their parents look at them and say ‘You’ve never had sushi in your life! How do you know that’s what it is?’” remarks Tomlinson. “A lot of my foodstuff I try to get it as realistic as I can. Sometimes it’s hard to recreate the colors with felt, but I try to make things that are more unusual to find.”

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A Lot to Offer: Firefighters Community Credit Union provides parking for NMCLE

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A Lot to Offer: Firefighters Community Credit Union provides parking for NMCLE

In 1936, during the Great Depression, seven Cleveland firemen banded together to form what is known today as the Firefighters Community Credit Union. With such a rich history, originating in our city, the FFCCU stands as a testament these individuals’ strength during financially trying times.

Matthew Orehek has worked as the Digital Content Coordinator for FFCCU for almost a year, yet in that short amount of time has seen his employers undertake some amazing projects to continue the legacy of the community-based credit union. His background is in civic engagement, which he’s utilizing to help establish a brand new bike share program in conjunction with UH. The 250 red bicycles will be available to unbanked and under-banked individuals who may not have access to transportation due to their financial situation.

Read the Interview with Matthew Orehek Here

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Making Thyme for What's Essential with Earth Philosophy

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Making Thyme for What's Essential with Earth Philosophy

by Michael Marefka
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

Tucked away on the second floor of an industrial-turned-creative warehouse on Superior Avenue, Rachel DuFresne, creator of Earth Philosophy, welcomes me at the door. Inside, glass jars of dried lavender, pomegranate, and cayenne peppers line the walls. DuFresne invites me to have a seat at her desk, where late afternoon sunlight falls from the ceiling.
"I grew up in Erie County collecting plants with my mom, " says Dufresne. "She always had us outside in the Metroparks and nature preserves."
As a former student of botany at the Ohio State University, DuFresne was introduced to Ethnobotany - the relationship between plants and people - and began seeking out plant identification books on her own.
"That's how I spent my summers," says DuFresne. "I did a lot of Ethnobotany, and I really [came to understand] how some societies sustain themselves on plants and nature."

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Vendor Profile: Koko Bakery

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Vendor Profile: Koko Bakery

by Jacqueline Bon
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

"This is Koko Bakery’s second year at Night Market. They will be offering selections of buns, desserts, bubble tea, and shaved ice. The bubble teas, served with chewy tapioca balls, will be available in popular flavors including honeydew, Thai tea, watermelon, lychee, and passion fruit. They will also be offering four different selections of shaved ice with toppings including fresh fruit — strawberry, kiwi, mango, and a Korean favorite, sweet beans or fruit jellies, and if you’re feeling adventurous, a shaved ice containing red bean, green bean, and peanut. 

When it comes to sweet versus savory flavors, Koko Bakery doesn’t discriminate; they embrace the best of both worlds. The bakery offers a wide variety of sweet and savory steamed buns, many of which are vegetarian friendly and always baked fresh daily. The filling includes, strawberry and lemon jam, pork, cabbage, green vegetable, chicken, red bean, taro, and many others."

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CiCLEvia Offers a Series of Active Pop-up Activities at July Night Market

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CiCLEvia Offers a Series of Active Pop-up Activities at July Night Market

by Jacqueline Bon
photographs by Will Slabaugh

"CiCLEvia appearing at Night Market gives it the sense that it’s not just a series or movement that’s going to stay in one neighborhood or community — it’s something that can grow and be across the whole city. It has the potential to grow, link up and touch many different neighborhoods in Cleveland with many different cultural components,” she says. 

You can enjoy CiCLEvia pop-up activities at Night Market Cleveland on July 24th from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the intersection of Rockwell Ave. and E 21st Street. For more information about CiCLEvia, visit their website and stay updated by liking them on Facebook.

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Vendor Profile: Ryu No Sakebi

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Vendor Profile: Ryu No Sakebi

by Mark Oprea
photographs by Breanna Kulkin

"He would buy some of the best clay in the world in Shigaraki—wet, with red hues, light and dark, earthy textures—the oldest pottery village in Japan, one that produced roof shingles for Emperor Shomu in the 8th century A.D. Yasu’s culture was gold for Richards’ developing muse. The hobby eventually became his life’s work. He ended up staying for 18 years. In 2007, Richards moved back."

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Vendor Profile: Thai Thai

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Vendor Profile: Thai Thai

By Brandi McElhatten
Photographs by Breanna Kulkin

"Siriphan Wongpeng, or Kiwi as she’s known, moved to the United States from Bangkok, Thailand in 2000 with her family; “My family came from Thailand because they wanted my little brother and I to have better opportunity in life.” Her mom, who cooks all the food at Thai Thai, is the only one who knows exactly how to make the dishes on the menu. “If she’s sick, we close. She’s the only one who knows how to make these. She knows the exact amount of spices and ingredients,” she says, holding her mother’s love of the menu in high regard. “This is what we eat.” 

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