Richmond's Night Markets: Twice the Fun for Foodies
Image by Colleen Seto
Hordes of people flock to the food stalls at the Summer Night Market in Richmond
Richmond's two night markets offer equal amounts of fun for foodies and bargainers alike
Everyone knows Richmond is the place for good Asian eats, and its night markets are no exception. This year marks the launch of two night markets - the Summer Night Market and the Richmond Night Market. I decided to check out both to see what all the fuss is about.
There's been some confusion and competition as the two markets go head-to-head, but given how packed each of them were, there's certainly room for both. The Summer market has no admission fee, but you have to pay to park. The Richmond market charges $1.50 admission but has free parking. It's also located near the Bridgeport SkyTrain station.
Unique Asian Fare
Once inside the gates, we're bombarded with vendors selling random Asian-esque paraphernalia like character socks, cellphone accessories, Samurai swords and Hello Kitty gear. But the real draw is the outdoor food courts, jam packed with vendors whipping up all sorts of Asian delights such as takoyaki (Japanese octopus fritters), meat skewers of all kinds, bubble tea, dim sum, deep fried tofu (stinky and regular) along with non-Asian treats like mini donuts, tacos and Belgian waffle sticks.
Go to the Night Markets Hungry!
At Summer, we made the rookie mistake of eating beforehand. So, sadly, we didn't have room to sample as much as we would have liked. We did partake in some freshly grilled BBQ squid. I asked for "not too spicy," which apparently meant "spice it up" in the mind of the friendly cook. It was tasty, though challenging to eat with toothpicks.
I washed it down with a massive cup of fresh squeezed lemonade from Happy Lemon that held true to its promise of making me happy. I then indulged in some dim sum and a refreshing mango slushee. After that, I could only take in the rest of the food visually as my stomach was beyond capacity.
Be sure to go hungry to Richmond's two night markets and sample the delectable Asian fare (Image: Colleen Seto)
The following night, we hit up Richmond and this time, made sure to go with empty tummies. We started with steamed BBQ pork buns that were mediocre at best, but followed them up with a delicious grilled lobster motoyaki from the Seafood Kingdom stall. It was only $6 for a whole lobster!
Next we tried hurricane potatoes in several different flavours (sour cream and onion were the most popular in our group). They were nice and crisp, but the novelty of their design was perhaps more impressive than the actual taste. We moved on to Bakudanyaki, which are large takoyaki balls. Now these were flavourful. We rounded out the night with a serving of Japanese buckwheat noodles, another lobster motoyaki, and a plate of Indonesian curry.
It's worth noting that the Care for Life Foundation has set up wishing trees at Richmond so you can make a wish in exchange for a $5 donation to support children in need in China.
Summer Night Market vs. Richmond Night Market
Overall, both markets are comparable in terms of food and kitsch selection, and they're both equally busy so I can't really think of why you'd choose one over the other. Both have a similar mix of attendees ranging from teenagers to families to seniors. Seems everyone enjoys a night market!
Whichever one you choose, be prepared to eat, and to get messy in the process. These foods aren't exactly ideal for walking around and eating simultaneously. Nevertheless, the night markets are a fun and filling way to spend a nice summer night.
Summer Night Market is located at 12631 Vulcan Way, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to September 16.
Richmond Night Market is located at 8351 River Road, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to October 8.