WHAT FLOATS UR BOAT
LOCATION: 626 Night Market (285 Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007)
The 626 Night Market event is something that my friend Kevin introduced to me last year while I was out in southern California for a business trip. With a whole array of food vendors, food trucks, and arts vendors, it’s set up to be reminiscent of the night markets that you would find primarily in southeast Asia.
During that visit, we just so happened to stumble across the fusion musubis of What Floats Ur Boat (WFUB). Their food was so incredibly delicious, and the year-long wait for the chance to have some again was agonizing. But earlier this month, the wait was finally over.
What might you consider a fusion musubi, you ask? WFUB offers up three different types: bulgogi with crispy wonton chips, spicy salmon poké with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and bacon & avocado. The fillings are essentially put between two layers of rice and wrapped in seaweed, which I call a “sandwich-style” musubi. You can order them individually, or go for The Boat, which is three musubis of your choice, along with a souvenir toy boat that the musubis are served in.
One of the reasons why I like these musubis so much is the fact that they are all flavor bombs on their own, but not filling at the same time. When I get The Boat, I normally do one of each style to get that variety. The bulgogi has that nice savory and slightly sweet flavor from the meat, along with a bit of char, coupled with the crunchiness from the wonton chips. The salmon poké is paired with a spicy mayo, and the Hot Cheetos give it that extra slight bit of kick. Bacon & avocado is a pretty classic pairing, with the bacon providing that sweet and savory flavor and the avocado coming in with that smooth texture to balance things out.
Out of the three, I have to say that the spicy salmon is my #1, followed by the bulgogi, and then the bacon & avocado. I’m a fan of the spicy flavors from both the poké and Hot Cheetos, and I also thought that of the three, the salmon poké one does the best job of playing off the texture contrast between the fish and Cheetos. But honestly, I’d be happy with having any of the musubis and could probably be several musubi boats in before contemplating if I should dial it back.
Call it fate. Call it destiny. But that first chance visit to WFUB during last year’s 626 Night Market set the stage for my most anticipated food during this year’s event. Kevin and I started off our visit this time with a musubi boat sampler, and I took it one step further this year to finish off the evening with another musubi boat as a nightcap. The year-long wait was well worth it, and the musubis tasted just as great as the first time around. If you get the chance to attend the 626 Night Market, this is one stop you absolutely don’t want to miss.
Let’s now take a look at the What Floats Ur Boat Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Spicy Salmon Poké (pictured middle) **
Spicy salmon poké musubi infused with Sriracha aioli, topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
** Bulgogi (pictured bottom) **
Thin slices of bulgogi paired with Vietnamese pickled vegetables and wonton chips.
And finally, here are my rankings for What Floats Ur Boat:
Food: 5 / 5
Each musubi that they offered provides a distinct flavor profile, which is why I enjoy getting the “sampler” of all three to experience the whole spectrum. The quality of the musubis is consistent, as almost a year passed by and it still tasted just as great as the first time. Everything tastes fresh and the portion is just right to make you feel satisfied, but not overly stuffed.
The 626 Night Market definitely has a very different vibe than any other markets I’ve been to before. There’s food absolutely everywhere, with smells making you hungry as you wait on your food and people milling about, having a good time. The nighttime aspect also helps to make it more enjoyable, because the Sun isn’t beating down on you as you’re waiting in line.
Service: 4.5 / 5
Their popularity growth was readily apparently this year, as when we placed our orders, they were still about 30 tickets deep prior to the numbers we had. But despite the volume, they were really efficient about getting food put out, and I think we only ended up waiting maybe close to 10 minutes. Everyone working behind the tent also seemed to be genuinely having a good time as well.
Price: 5 / 5
With the diversity of their ingredient combinations, a $4 musubi was something I was more than willing to pay for. The musubi boat bundled three together for $12, and you got to keep the toy boat as well. For the quality of what you get, it just can’t be beat.