You wouldn’t feel out of place in the slightest if you showed up at this year’s Richmond Night Market in your loudest Hawaiian shirt. The moment you enter the sprawling market, you’re greeted by an explosion of tropical-themed colour that includes palm trees, giant inflatable sea creatures, and hula girl photo ops.
The theme of this year’s market, “Amazing Summer,” is immediately clear given both the décor and the items on offer. Happy market-goers roam through the aisles sipping fresh juice from hollowed-out pineapples and watermelons and munching on churros and ice cream served in (brace yourself) mini unicorn, flamingo, and palm tree pool floaties.
Despite this vibrant atmosphere, however, there’s no doubt that food is the main attraction at this annual event. This year’s market boasts over 100 food stalls serving up more than 500 unique dishes, from classics like the famous Rotato to more adventurous choices such as G8 Taiwan Kitchen’s Stinky Tofu.
To give you an idea of what you’re in for, let’s explore a few of the new and drool-worthy vendors that are making a name for themselves at the Richmond Night Market this year.
Summer Seafood Festival
This year, the Night Market is offering a “shell-ebration” unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The Summer Seafood Festival commands a large section in the center of the fair grounds where diners can slurp up delectable Pacific seafood, such as whole Dungeness crabs and mussels. Other vendors throughout the market are slinging everything from fish sticks to BBQ squid as well, making seafood the Big Tuna (pun intended) at this year’s Night Market.
For a sweet treat, visit new kid on the block, Asomi Mochi, who’s serving up traditional Japanese mochi (sticky rice cakes) stuffed with fresh strawberries. These refreshing delights go for just $4 each, so be sure to sample all four flavours (chocolate, matcha, purple yam, and regular).
Brand new Brazilian vendor, WHATAFOOD, is certainly worth a taste test. Choose between a crispy pastel (a rectangular pastry stuffed with chicken, beef, cheese, or smoked pork) or a bowl of Pão de Queijo (cheese rolls) and let yourself be swept away on a wave of doughy goodness. The best part? They’re one of the only stalls that take credit cards!
If the rousing success of Japadog has taught us anything, it’s that Japanese-North American fusion foods hold a special place in the hearts of Vancouverites. Now it’s time for foodies to be transported across the globe with a twist on a Canadian favourite: poutine. For a taste that’s both exotic and close to home, visit Okonomi Bites and indulge in a dish (or two, or ten) of their seafood or deep-fried pork poutine.
Dumpling Master by Chef Fung
What visit to the Richmond Night Market would be complete without at least one hearty helping of dumplings? Chef Fung is a welcome new addition to the Night Market’s dumpling vendors, cooking up fun takes on these delicious little pockets of flavour. Standout options include the Red Kimchi Beef Gyoza and the Black Truffle Pork Gyoza, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a dish here that doesn’t dazzle your taste buds.
This booth will have you looking for a hula skirt and coconut bra to throw on. Serving fresh pineapple and watermelon juice packaged in their respective fruits and topped off with novelty flamingo straws, Tropical Bar is quickly becoming the belle of the ball at this year’s Night Market.
Fry-Yay is essentially what would happen if a plate of fries and an ice cream sundae had a baby. A sweet take on a savoury favourite, this vendor allows diners to choose from toppings such as chocolate sundae, Nutella rocky road, and matcha to create a flavourful, highly shareable treat.
Once you’re satisfied with the number of buttons you’ve had to undo to accommodate your Night Market eats, browse through over 200 retail vendors selling everything from adorable novelty socks to used records and pet accessories. You can also try your hand at some new activities this year, such as a paddle boat adventure through a large pool complete with inflatable crustaceans. One lucky visitor will even win a real-life seven-day tropical escape for two to Hawaii!
When the sun sets on a hot summer day, there’s no better place to be than the Richmond Night Market. And since this year’s market is running every weekend until October 8, there’s no excuse not to make return trips to sample all that the vendors have to offer. Grab your sunnies and your stretchiest pants, and allow yourself to be swept away on a tropical vacation — no passport required.
Admission is $4.25 per person (free for children under 10 and seniors 60 and over), or $25 for a Zoom Pass that permits six entries. If you’re a summer or early fall baby, be sure to stop by the Night Market on your birthday for free admission (with ID) and a souvenir t-shirt. For more information, visit Tourism Richmond’s website.