Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Summer Night Market in Richmond

Over the weekend, the husband and I went to the Summer Night Market in Richmond. Reputed to be the biggest night market in British Columbia, the market has been in the local news recently regarding the sale of counterfeit items such as 'branded' wallets, handbags, sunglasses, apparel and so on. I don't think the publicity is hurting the market, to be honest. I am sure we were not the only people reminded of the market who decided to head down that weekend!

Long hours of summer sunshine

Richmond is a suburb of Vancouver, with a population that is about 60 percent Chinese. The food and products on sale at the market, as well as the majority of the crowd, are East Asian (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, also some Malaysian, Singaporeans, Thai, Filippino) and it really reminds me of 'home'. I mean, how much more authentic can you get than fake DVDs and handbags? ;)

Heading straight for the food

But the main draw has to be the food - street food from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Sichuan, Beijing, Mongolia and other parts of China. My only complaint was how expensive the food was (to me anyway). CAD$2 for a skewer of chicken/assorted meat (essentially a large satay)? $3 for a skewer of grilled tofu?? Certainly a far cry from actual prices in Asia but the atmosphere, smells, sights and sounds were certainly great.

I was really longing for a skewer of fried fish balls (pretty basic, if you ask me) but all I saw were curry fishball (very Hong Kong). Boo.
Dim sum and fish balls

Auntie giving instructions
This is how you do it

Korean food
Korean food

Takoyaki - a popular Japanese snack. Little balls of batter, diced baby octopus, and tempura scraps with assorted filling, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (fish shavings).
Take your pick
Generous topping of bonito flakes

It was the official grand opening of the market for this summer so there were lion dances going from stall to stall. I had no idea why the drums and cymbals were much more muted compared to the heart-thumping ones in Asia.
Lion dance

Soups and desserts, and many bubble tea stalls
Soups and dessert

AP was going to buy something from this smoky stall, because they were $1 per skewer, and then changed his mind when he realised that they were items like chicken knuckles and pork intestines.

Dao xiao mian (shaved noodle) is a northern Chinese dish. The chef holds a lump of dough in one hand and rapidly shaves slivers of thin noodles into boiling water. Every strand is different and has a slightly chewy texture.
Dao xiao mian (shaved noodles)

This is another stall that we tried. Not the octopus but the lobster balls. I did want some tofu but balked at paying $3 for a skewer of five...
More skewered goodies

We finished off the evening buying a large pack of prawn crackers ($5) to take home and 4 DVDs ($20 total, so clearly not-that-ahem-legit). It would be nice to go out there again sometime during the summer, if just for the food and atmosphere.

Getting to the market:

Venue: 10-acre site at 12631 Vulcan Way (behind Home Depot on Sweden Way and close to Ikea).
Opening hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7pm to 12 midnight; Sundays 7pm to 11pm; holiday Mondays 7pm to 11pm.
Duration: May 15th to October 4th, 2009

It takes a little effort to get to without a car (parking is $5 at the venue).

Via public transport from downtown Vancouver, the easiest way is to get into Richmond on the 98-B line Richmond Centre. Get off at the Capstan Way stop on No. 3 Road, then take the 407 Bridgeport bus on Capstan Way (across from Canadian Tire). (The bus direction might seem to be the opposite but don't worry the bus makes a turn later towards the east.) Get off at the Sweden Way stop (on Bridgeport Road, next to Ikea) and then walk north along Sweden Way to Vulcan Way - just follow the crowd!

To return, walk back to Bridgeport Road and take the 407 Gilbert across from Ikea. Alight at No. 3 Road and take the 98-B line Burrard back into Vancouver.


Aunt LoLo said...

OH, we've been there! I loved the feel - like I was back in Hong Kong!! I miss Richmond...there was some great sushi!!

danny kwok said...

fried fish ball= old chang kee?

Nilmandra said...

Aunt LoLo: That's one thing we loved about Vancouver - the Asian food! The best and cheapest are in Richmond but they are still very widely available in the rest of the city.

Danny: AAAAAaaaaaaaaa... Old Chang Kee!! *drool*

Mrs Ergül said...

That seems like a nice food fair albeit the atrocious prices!!

kokostiletto said...

i absolutely love the night market !!!

Nilmandra said...

Mrs Ergul: Well, if you have a real craving, I guess it is worth paying the price :)

Kokostiletto: Markets are fantastic. Markets with street food even more so!

jessie said...

jesus. that looks amazing. you should definitely submit some of your photos to their goal is to create a visual restaurant review site similar to tastespotting

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