Monday, July 10, 2006
Let's Go to Richmond Night Market!
Every year in Richmond, we have a Night Market on every weekend. It used to be that the market was held on Saturday & Sunday only and from June till September only, but every year the Night market just gets bigger and bigger. People travel to Richmond just to go to the Night Market. When I moved here in 2001, I went to the night market, it was small and it was held on the parking lot of Lansdowne Mall. Even then because it drew so many people, the mall's tenant complaint because the parking spots that suppose to be for their customers were taken by the Night Market's customers. So the mall kicked out the night market out. The next year, it moved to a temporarily empty lot that belong to a casino. At that time the casino was still at the early stage of being built. Now that casino is already built, it's called River Rock Casino. So now the night market has to move again and this time they move to a lot that I think belong to Cathay Airways. I think this time might be more permanent because this year the night market is still being held in that place and now because it's getting bigger, the change the schedule into from Friday to Sunday, and from May till October. That way people do not come at the same time and causing traffic jam so bad at weekend time. The stores around it also getting smarter, they offered their empty parking lot after closing time for Night Market parking lot for $ 4. The night market used to open at 6 PM, not they change it to 7 PM because maybe that is just the right time for the stores at the surrounding area to be closed and they can use their parking lot. Like usual, we got lucky getting a parking spot that do not require us to pay $ 4. They even have a website now unlike before. When we parked out car, I saw many cars with out of state license numbers even from the States.
Since we are not looking for a new fish, purse, suitcase, sword ( I am not kidding ), sunglasses, Chinese sausages, clothings, doggy jacket, plants, jewelries, ginseng, and other things, we just go straight to the food vendors by using our noses to locate where the food are.
We are pleasantly surprise that the number of the food vendors has grown significantly since the last time we went to Richmond Night Market 2 years ago. I think they have multiply 5 times more than 2 years ago! Before most of the vendors has the home cooking style feeling, like if I decide to sell Indonesian satay there, I just bring my small BBQ machine and that's about it. But now, those vendors bring all sort of professional equipments to clean their cooking equipments and to cook certain type of food. It feels really more like the night market that I went in Taipei. The real Night Market. Wikipedia website has a pretty good explanation about Taipei Night Markets and what to eat when you are there.
Here is the webcam from SunShang Night Market in Taiwan ...
Another surprise is we found I think at least 2 vendors that sell the infamous Deep-Fried Stinky Tofu. What I heard last year was the stinky tofu factory was close for unknow reason. Maybe because they are too stinky? But here they are, stinky as ever but still delicious! I was laughing so hard when my son who follow behind me when I walk to buy the stinky tofu, suddenly he stopped walking and ask in surprise " Eww... what smell is this??? ". That how stinky the tofu is, but at the end he ate them too just like Richard and me. I even saw some non-Chinese people dare to eat it too and they love it.
Then I saw my must eat food when ever I went to Taipei Night Markets, it's the strawberries dipped in crunchy caramel sugar! Yum!!! This dessert has been around since, oh ... I don't know... kungfu time? I saw the hero girlfriends always like to buy this type of food in kungfu movies... It doesn't have to be always strawberries, the sellers will offer you other choices as well, including cherry tomatoes. I never want to try the tomatoes, I always buy the strawberries. It's expensive though, for a stick with 3 strawberries, it cost me $ 3.
If you interested on tasting this dessert but you can't go anywhere near a Night Market, you can check the recipe on my cooking blog.
Oh, before I forgot, if you going to come to this night market, make sure don't bring your wallet, just bring a bit of cash. I saw someone's wallet got stollen.
What we did last night was, we just walk slowly, and when we saw something that we wanted to eat, we just buy it, eat it on the spot and move. Spot something else again? Stop...buy...eat...and move again.
Because we went there late and they are going to close, they discount the food price which is fine by me!
I saw this interesting Sichuan noodle that is very chewy and look like a transparent plastic. It's called Spicy Noodle. Yes, it is very spicy! A little sour, a lot of heat and has a very fun texture.
I also saw a lot of Hong Kong style curry meatballs, squid, beef tripe etc.
For dessert, they have several vendors that sell pearl milk tea, juice, smoothies, and shave ice that looks absolutely delicious and need further inspection if we can come back here again. They even have this chocolate fountain where they dip all sort of cookies, banana, strawberries, marshmallow etc in it. And then there is the very old style Dragon Beard Candies. I bought 2 packs of this to share with Kai Kai. This is the third time in 3 yrs I bought Dragon beard candy from that man on the photo!
Overall, we had a lot of fun in this place. Food adventure. Even Kai Kai is enjoying himself. He likes to try everything that I offered it to him except when I think they are too hot for him.
I like the grill squid, and I request that the seller sprinkle chili powder on mine. They taste so good, hot spicy but tender. The Stinky Tofu is also pretty good. Especially if you have not eaten it for sometime. I would like to try the shave ice if I come here again. I saw also some pudding that looks pretty good as well.
So if you happen to come to Vancouver in summer, don't forget to spend some time here!
NOTE: China town in downtown also has their own night market. I have never been there though so I can not say if they are good or not.