Thursday, June 19, 2014

Richmond Night Market 2014 (River Rock)

WARNING: Serious drool-worthy photos contained.

With its increasing popularity every year, the new Richmond Nightmarket (there's also an "old" night market, or the International Summer Nightmarket) blooms with visitors every non-rainy weekend (maybe rainy weekend too for desperate ones). As a group of two we saved our appetite for the big trip. Let's take a look at some of our finds in this year's night market: 

Grilled squid is a night market staple - freshly grilled squid tentacles with loads of sauces/spices! The one pictured above is a small satay-flavored grilled squid from The Squid Co. for $6.50. We tried this one as this was a new booth. There are plenty of grilled squid stands, but the prices/tastes are not that different.

Chinese Pork Burger from Lao Xi An for $5. The meat was marinated well but kind of missing the Chinese hamburger out for the other 2 Chinese burger stands. 

Night Market Classic - The rotato! The prices of these go up EVERY YEAR - from $5 when I first came to $6 this year. Fortunately we had the coupon book ($4 at the door) and received a $1.50 discount for three rotatoes...after eating 1.5 rotatoes I felt pretty full. We tried sour cream and onion, bacon, and garlic. The bacon tasted like ketchup, but the other 2 are definitely recommended. 

Now I introduce you to my personal favourite - the Bakudanyaki, or giant takoyaki.

Tennis-ball like cuties on the grill
Why Bakudanyaki? This is a night market specialty (since I haven't really found it anywhere else in Vancouver) and it has a lot more than a takoyaki - 1 simple tennis ball-sized cake filled with shrimp, 1 quail egg, onions, cabbages, and other veggies. It also takes longer to make, so while waiting one can also get a drink from other stands.

Regular takoyaki from Daikichi, the Bakudanyaki booth (pictured below)

Curry flavoured Bakudanyaki - the curry sauce on top makes the "ball" special, that's all.

Icy Bar 利源冰店 - the famous HK-style desserts/shaved ice bar opened a booth at the night market this year. Bravo! We tried the mini mango shaved ice ($5.50) and the mango tapioca ($5.50). Both are very good with lots of mangos (sweet ones too!) though I got too excited and dropped some mangoes on the table...

Mini Mango Shaved Ice

Mango Tapioca

This ramen stand has been on my list since last year (one's appetite is limited ....) so we saved this one as the final spot before we're officially bloated. The lineup wasn't too long and the ramen portions are fair too, so reordered the Shio (supposedly tonkatsu soup that's cooked for a long time for a bold flavour) ramen to try.

Grilled corn, oil and cha-shu ready to go

From observing the ramen-making process, making ramen at the night market can be a challenging process. However the soup was not as bold-flavored as expected and the meat was too dense as well. Recommended: probably an actual ramen joint would have a more organized control of their meat, noodles, soups, etc. There are so many of them in Vancouver! 

Saw this before we left, wanted to try but was bloated at the time already. This brand is a popular HK style dessert brand in China when I went back last summer, not sure if this is an authentic booth but worth to try I guess. 

In summary: 
  • The more people you're with the more foods you get to try, the theory of combined appetites.
  • Night market bubble teas are not recommended if you're expecting fine or healthier bubble teas - I had the thought crossed off after seeing one staff pouring loads of artificial sugar/corn? syrup and mixing colourful powders....(it's better not knowing the truth sometimes)
  • Admission price is $2.25 this year, $0.25 higher than last year. Bring cash!
  • Get there early in case the popular foods run out
  • Line up for the popular stands (ex. Rotato) is inevitable, but to maximize the amount of foods tried in shorter times, try getting other foods with shorter lines. 
  • Have fun! 

Richmond Night Market on Urbanspoon

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