Summer time can only mean one thing in Vancouver—the return of the largest night market in North American, the Richmond Night Market.
Having had a taste of night markets in Taiwan, when I flew over to Vancouver, British Columbia I knew I had to drop by.
To get to the Richmond Night Market, my friends and I got off the Translink at the Bridgeport Station. You’ll know you’re at the right stop when you see a huge casino in front of you. From here, it was a short walk to the entrance of the night market.
I knew I was heading the right direction when lines of people and cars started appearing alongside the Translink tracks. After walking through a dirt parking lot, we reached the entrance. Here, we were greeted with towering dinosaurs dressed in Hawaiian attire.
There is one entrance and exit, denoted by these blue gates and banner towers.
We arrived a little after the BC night market opened at 7 pm. Still, the night market was beginning to get crowded.
The sheer number of stalls made it pretty difficult to figure out what to try first.
As luck would have it, we stumbled upon this top food list. Which food item would you most like to try?
When in Canada. How could I not try the guabao?
We got a standard pork bao and a beef one. They had these fun characters standing watch on top.
I just realized how unfortunate this logo looks, but hey, mini donuts!
In addition to stalls in the middle, there was a line of food trucks on the outside perimeter.
Here’s yet another row, or column, of food stalls. It’s also beginning to get more crowded.
I had seen these at many fairs and night markets in California. Decided to give it a try. The spiral potato simply tastes like a combination of a fry and potato chip. Truthfully, I’d rather have a bag of chips or batch of fries, but it was fun to try at least.
Having loved Happy Lemon back home, when we saw this suspiciously similar looking logo, we decided to give their drinks a try.
This is the summer rainbow drink which has layers of strawberry, mango, kiwi, and blueberry. It was a refreshing way to figure out what to eat next.
I love BBQ squid. When I saw this stand and made the conversion to USD, I was sold.
The squid was perfectly cooked and flavored. I enjoyed every bit of it, although it was a bit much for just me to eat by myself.
Here are more stands! Stands here run the gamut from small mom and pop operations to extensions of larger existing businesses.
It’s getting darker out. Luckily, there’s a decent amount of seating and the Richmond Night Market is well lit. You may have to hover a little to secure a table, but most of the foods are portable and easy to eat on the go.
Here’s another when in Canada food—poutine! This one was definitely more Asian Canadian, or maybe that would be Japanese Canadian? Okonomiyaki Poutine!
Mmmm, cheese curds.
This was the first time I saw milk tea in a bag.
I don’t know if I prefer milk tea in a bag, but it was fun to try out. I got the golden milk tea which was an Assam milk tea with tamarind and coffee jelly.
Obligatory Japanese onion photo.
Getting in on that liquid nitrogen game with crunchy ice cream.
I loved checking out all of the signage, understanding how each stall was marketing itself. So fascinating.
Content with what we had sampled, we wandered through the rest of the night market. There’s an area that, much like Shilin and other night markets in Taiwan, had carnival games.
Swaths of people lined these booths to try their luck at winning a prize.
There was an area that had large inflatables, complete with a pool that little kids were riding boats in.
I’m not sure if the Richmond Night Market was more crowded because of Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit, but his attendance was a welcome surprise.
After listening to his speech, we perused the shops. The shops were probably the most lackluster part of the night market. I didn’t spend too much time checking out the shops.
Before leaving, I spotted a little taste of Taiwan.
Ended up getting a taro ball dessert with tofu flower. It was a nice way to round out the evening.
Having had a taste of the real thing in Asia, the Richmond Night Market in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. The location isn’t anything special. It’s placed in, what may have otherwise been, an unused plot of land next across the river from Vancouver International Airport.
It definitely doesn’t have the cultural feel of a Shilin Night Market, but it does have culture. It has a culture that feels uniquely Asian Canadian.
It’s this unique cultural feel, the friendliness of the vendors, the uniqueness of many of the offerings, and respect for authenticity that makes the Richmond Night Market a stop I would recommend.
Oh yeah, and here’s a tip: bring cash! It will make things that much easier if you don’t have to use their onsite ATM’s.