A street market feast

23 September 2019


The drinks station at the Taste of Asia offered three different kinds of sake, Japanese whisky, Prosecco and several kinds of beer. Photo: Alan Markoff

By Alan Markoff

It’s official: The Night Bazaar events at Pani Indian Kitchen are a hit.

After a successful launch on 18 July of a Night Bazaar themed “Taste of India,” the Market Street Group followed up with an equally successful “Taste of Asia” version of the event on 22 August.

The Market Street Group’s Hendrik Loubser said there will be more Night Bazaar events in the future, with the next one scheduled for October.

“The idea is to showcase the Market Street Group so people take notice of us and see what we can do as a company,” he said. “The events offer good food that is really well priced.”

In tune with the classic definition of “bazaar,” the Night Bazaar events are set up like a marketplace with stations serving different “street food” dishes and drinks. Instead of paying at each station, guests pay CI$29 plus gratuities for all they can eat at the stations. There’s also a cash bar.

The Taste of India event featured eight service stations offering different Indian dishes made with various meats, seafood and vegetables, along with their traditional accompaniments. There was also a self-service station with salad ingredients and sauces.

Adding to the atmosphere, some of the staff were dressed in traditional Indian costume and there was also a henna station with hand-painting.

“The feedback we received on the Night Bazaar was phenomenal,” said Loubser, adding that the staff — most of whom are from India —also loved working the event and showing off their home country’s cuisine. “The staff was really inspired. They were doing what they love doing.”

The Taste of Asia served the type of cuisine served at Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar, another of the Market Street Group’s restaurants, but also held at Pani.

“We will predominantly use the Pani venue for all of our Night Bazaar events,” said Loubser, noting that the inside and outside space available at Pani is better suited for the market-like flow of the “bazaar” theme.

The Taste of Asia featured dishes from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Korea, as well as Japanese whiskey, sake and craft beers. One highlight was the “wok station,” where guests were able to choose from a variety of vegetables and meats to add to stir-fry noodles or fried rice for a dish prepared right in front of them.

Market Street Group plans to host events regularly in Camana Bay, Loubser said, although not all of them will be Night Bazaar events. In September, for example, an Oktoberfest event will take place on the Mizu patio on the last Saturday of the month.

“We’re putting the Night Bazaar on hold for that event,” said Loubser, noting that Market Street’s Oktoberfest has become a popular annual event.

“It’s really a celebration of beer,” he said. “It will focus on European-style beers and there will also be some snacks and barbecue available for purchase.”

The event, which will also feature a live local band, starts at 3 p.m. on 28 Sept. and runs through 11:30 p.m. Tickets are CI$10 and include one beer.

Halloween and beyond
The next Night Bazaar will take place in late October and will have a Halloween theme. The menu will feature a lot of candies and sweets, Loubser said.

“The Halloween event will focus on kids,” he said. “It will be a kid-friendly event and tickets for kids under 12 will be half-price.”

In addition to serving kid-friendly, Halloween-themed drinks, everyone will be encouraged to come in costume.
“There will be prizes for the best costumes,” Loubser said.

Looking toward next year, Loubser said that one event in the planning stages is a virtual “Taste of Market Street Group” event, which will be like a large version of Night Bazaar that includes food by other restaurants in the group, including those outside of Camana Bay.

In addition to Pani Indian Kitchen, Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar, The Waterfront Urban Diner and The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta in Camana Bay, the Market Street Group also owns Saltwater Grill, Duke’s Seafood & Rib Shack, Lone Star Bar & Grill, Craft Food & Beverage Co., Fresh Kitchen & Coffee and Boggy Sand Caribbean Kitchen.

This article was originally published in the September 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians. He is a movie buff who spends many an evening catching a film at Camana Bay Cinema. It was at one of these movies that he met his wife, Lynn!