Richmond's Summer Night Market 2009 - More Asian Streetfood than you can shake a stick at
Sticks (as in BBQ skewers) are more popular than ever with about a half dozen stalls vying for the crown held by the Xin Jiang Man for best Lamb Cumin Skewers. Xin Jiang Man is tops, but one booth almost directly across at the end of the row is grilling them on charcoal - it too was good and the lineup was more bearable. Judging from the lineup in front of Xin Jiang Man, I would say that he is still king of the skewers by a long shot.
The Taiwanese stalls are in full force. There are more takoyaki stalls and Korean redbean waffle stalls than previous years. The Dragon Beard man is still there and so is the "performance" egg-waffle guy.
It is nice to see some diversification.There are number of new, interesting stalls - some innovative and some derivative. There are a number of more "western" style desserts (eg a stall that sells deep fried ice cream). One stall is selling Japadog style hotdogs.
The aisle in the middle gets very crowded and for some reason, the event management has decided to put garbage cans and bags right in the middle of the aisle. I saw people tripping and stepping on them. They really need to re-jig the crowd management and flow if this event becomes more popular.
It is open from 7pm to 3am Fri and Sat and some Sundays (long weekends I think). Free to get in, nearby parking for $5. I took my kids and their friend....they just loved it.
Here is the official site: http://www.summernightmarket.com/main...
It is behind Home Depot - walk towards the Fraser River (just follow the crowd.)
Hours copied from the site:
Night Market Hours of Operation
Open from May 15th to October 4th, 2009
Every Friday and Saturday from 7:00PM to 12:00PM
Every Sunday and Holiday from 7:00PM to 11:00PM
That website is from the old promoters who don't have a good relationship with the new ones. The night market is now officially called "The Summer Night Market" instead of old name "The Richmond Night Market".
PS I just noticed that they have changed the hours of operations - they now close at midnight (or 11)
I was tipped off about the Asian Night Market by a coworker so it was my first stop after taking the 5pm ferry across on Friday night. Got there around 7:30 and parked down the street in front of some 7seas seafood warehouse (FREE!) instead of paying $5.
Was super hungry so we headed straight to the food area and did a walk around to see what foods we wanted to try. There seemed to be lots of the same type of foods, but at different vendors. We weren't really sure which ones were the good ones so we got the skewers from the very back (close to the stage). My friends said that the lamb skewers from there were too chewy from being overcooked. Chicken skewers were fine. I think they were $1 each. Wish I read your tip on the Xin Jiang Man lamb skewers :)
The performance eggwaffle guy .. I thought it was kinda crazy, but hey, he got my attention! It seemed to be a popular stand.
I wanted takoyaki, but the ones down the main strip didn't look all that great. The batter looked tooo doughy and it just doesn't look right when they're doing a rush mess job flipping the takoyaki balls. I'm glad I walked around to the far side by the wall and found the Osaka Ball stand run by japanese people. They have two kinds of osaka balls: 'shrimp and squid' and 'ham(?) and corn'. I got the shrimp/squid one. The outside was crispy and the inside was properly runny. 8/$5.
Tried the green onion pancake (southern style) from a stand sort of in the middle 2/$3. It's the same stand that makes duck wraps (duck inside some pastry). it was pretty tasty.
To finish, we had to get the 6-color drink from the stand all the way at the back from the Vietnamese stand. They only sell Vietnamese dessert drinks. $4. Yum.
One of my friends got bubble tea slush from one of the stands nearest to the stage with bottle drink mixes like pina colada and stuff all at the front of their table. WATERY.
I think the garbage cans in the middle of the aisle was kind of messy, but they definitely were accessible and handy to have around. They were pretty on the ball with cleaning it up when I was there on Friday.
Walking around the shopping booths was pretty fun .. a total mix of whatever random stuff you could possibly think of. I couldn't believe there was a shammy booth and it never fails to draw a crowd :) The swords and knives display was kind of cool. (Can somebody tell me what brand folding knives they had? I forget) There was a booth that was selling some really nice fragrant tea. Korean socks are awesome, if only for their cuteness! I have tons from living in Korea last year, but they definitely aren't meant to last.
To end the night, we stopped by the fruit stand sort of near the entrance. They had dragonfruit, guava, cherries, and some berries in cups. We picked up mangosteens.
We spent over 3 hours there and the place was still super busy when we left at 11.
Last night was our first time. Went straight for the food after giving the teenagers ( my son and his three cousins)money to go "shoping" ( they came back with Sham Wows, a golden "Rolex", a small plant, etc)
I would go back for:
-The steamed thick rice noodle with three sauces ( a peanut sauce, soy sauce , and a thicker dark sauce) and sesame seeds. (There are two stalls offering it , each at either end of the main aisle.
- The Halal cuminy lamb skewers
-The Cambodian noodle dish at the Vietnamese stall towards the middle- It is four dollars for a carton and for an extra dollar you get three ( unremarkable)mini vegetable rolls or fish balls -
- Takoyaki . These are the real thing ( if you choose Octopus) . I know because they fit the description I read in chowhound ( Thanks fmed). I don't know if they are good versions, these were my first ever, I found them a little too runny and could not taste the Octopus ( or the squid), maybe because they were topped with a heavy burnt caramel tasting sauce . I would try them again. There is also a mini version in a another stall in the side aisle.
- Grilled octopus, there are many stalls , I had a combo with tofu, maybe it needed a better sauce, would try them at a stall I saw where they were seemed to be cooking them a little hotter and had darker grill marks.
Next time I would also try the Japadog ( new to me, is it the real thing or a poor imitation?) and the rice noodles with egg and vegetables (which I was told is a staple of street food in Vietnam) being offered at a vietnamese stall selling ban mih. I was "full" by then.
I did not try any of the popular Dim Sum dishes ( Har gao, Lo-men Gai, etc.) to save myself for things I would not find elsewhere ( We live in Edmonton).
Lastly, we parked at what seemed the back of Home Depot on Vulcan way where we paid $5 to somebody standing there with a sign . Once parked and inside the Market we found directions to the parking entrance ( puzzling choice of location for such signage): #5 Road and River Road. As we were crossing Vulcan Way we saw a tow truck towing a black Mercedes sport car ...
Do they still have the booth with fruits dipped in caramelized sugar like candied apples? We were there 2 years ago and the candied cherry tomatoes were amazing.
I've heard that there are fewer booths selling knockoffs?
The takoyaki alone looks like the family needs to get on a plane. Thanks for the pictures fmed.