Summer Night Market in Richmond
12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond, Canada
We visited the Summer Night Market, not to be confused with the new Richmond Night Market at River Rock. This one is still free. Apparently the new Richmond Night Market has a cover charge of $1 per person for admission. I’m Asian, $1 in my world is like a million bucks.
Our first stop was the Korean Food Party booth, only because I became so intrigued by the curious looking corn dogs they were serving up. Basically, it’s just a huge hot dog battered in little potato hash browns covered with ketchup and mustard. The crispy potatoes were salty and tasty and the hot dog was delicious too. Plus, I love street food that is this easy to eat, on a stick.
Our next stop was the smoking Halal booth, serving up skewers and naan style flat bread. We ordered a few chicken skewers and shared a naan bread while we waited. Well, actually the original goal was to save the naan and wrap our skewers in it but the wait for the meat was so long that we ended up devouring our naan bread. It was so crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
I was also intrigued by the way it was prepared on a big domed stove top, not a big cavernous naan oven. One of the ladies in the tent literally just slapped flat pieces of raw dough onto the big stove dome all night long and the bread cooked in seconds, bubbly and crisping up before our eyes. It’s the perfect way to whet anyone’s appetite.
After much anticipation, our chicken skewers were finally ready. They were scrumptious! Totally worth the wait, and they ended up being our favourite items of the night. The chicken was very moist and tender on the inside with a deep smokiness on the outside. And again, I love street food that is easy to eat, on a stick, nice and neat.
We couldn’t visit the Night Market without having some bubble tea. We ordered the taro milk tea and strawberry slush. Both were syrupy sweet with chewy, plump bubbles, as bubble tea should be!
Another Night Market must are takoyaki balls. We shared an order with all the toppings: seaweed, cheese, green onion and wasabi mayo. Thankfully for me, all the other ingredients balanced out the spicy flavours of the wasabi mayo. I never like that when cheese is mentioned at takoyaki stands, they mean parmesan, not the gooey, stretchy cheddar or mozzarella cheese. Imagine how delicious a big glob of melted mozzarella would be on a deep fried octopus ball!
The takoyaki balls were huge! And the bite of octopus inside was substantial too, it was nice and tender, and covered in the fluffiest batter with a light, crisp outer crust.
We passed by the grilled squid booth so many times, we had to get some. The squid smelled incredible, sizzling on the grill, all smoky and seasoned. The weird thing is, they served it to us in a paper bag with a couple of toothpicks. How ghetto. If we glanced down at the bouncing bagful of squid with random suction cupped tentacles sticking out, it was as if the squid was coming back alive and trying to squirm out of the bag.
The grilled squid were delicious though! Packed with MSG, smokey and salty and totally tender. We should have gotten a bigger bagful.
We didn’t order this but one of the weirdest things at the night market were whole smoked turkey legs. I did actually see a guy holding a whole turkey leg and just gnawing on it as he walked the market. The last time I saw this was at the German Christmas Market. It was weird then, and it was definitely weird now.
For dessert, we indulged in my favourite: bubble waffles. The bubble waffle booth was decorated with giant inflated bubble waffle balloons. I must get some of these balloons. Unfortunately, my favourite original flavour was unavailable, there was only chocolate left. We ordered some anyway. Turns out, the chocolate favoured bubble waffles were pretty tasty, sweeter than the original, but still had the same moist texture inside each puff.
We also tried some deep fried lychee, which I thought were quite unique. They looked exactly like tater tots but were so sweet and juicy inside, the crunchy batter had sealed in all the juice from the sweet lychee fruit.
After the food, we wandered around the other booths for a little bit, there wasn’t anything special. Then again, I was only there for the food. I’m looking forward to checking out the 2nd Richmond Night Market for comparison!