In case you haven’t heard, there are two night markets in Richmond this year. In addition to the Summer Night Market near No.5 Road and Vulcan Way, the original founder of the Richmond Night Market returns and sets up some tents by the River Rock Casino on River Road. We went to check it out.
Instead of charging you $5 for parking like the Summer Night Market (I know, there’s only subtle difference in the names), the Richmond Night Market offers you free parking with a small admission fee. I have heard that when it first started in May, the admission fee was $1. Now they’re charging you $1.50 per person. Still reasonable, and if you figure you’d frequent the night market this summer, you could get a pass for $10 and it would allow one individual to visit the night market 10 times.
Of course, this post will focus on the food stalls. And frankly, there’s not much to see in the retail section, especially I just came back from HK where I could find similar items at a fraction of the cost.
Here are a few vendors we stopped by on that day. They’re listed below in no particular order.
There were at least a couple booths selling BBQ Squid but this is the one we chose. I remember seeing this booth at the Summer Night Market last year – I wonder if they have a booth at both night markets this year, or simply move over here. Unfortunately it doesn’t have an English name (other than B.B.Q. Squid in the top left corner of its banner), so just match the booth with the following picture.
You can choose mild or spicy in the seasoning, and we chose spicy. A bit disappointed, it wasn’t as yummy as I remembered it to be. While the squid tentacles were seasoned well, I couldn’t really taste the heat, and they were a bit too salty for my liking. This year, they’ve used a much bigger flat iron grill to speed up the service; you know you won’t have to wait long for some squid!
One of my night market staple is fish siu mai. I just have to get them, with a little bit of spicy soy sauce. So we stopped by Po Wah Dim Sum for some fish siu mai, and also some chow mein to satisfy Mr.‘s carbs craving.
The Fish Siu Mai was alright. Given that most booths probably just use frozen ones, I don’t think there’s a huge difference in terms of flavour and quality. What’s telling is the Chow Mein. Wow this was probably one of the worst plates of chow mein, if not the worst, I’ve ever had. It was bland, dry and the vegetables were so sloppily cut. We looked around and saw other people’s chow mein from other booths, and boy, did we miss out on some good stuff.
Promise, things will start to look up from here.
We saw this red food truck and were immediately intrigued by it. Then we saw this portable wood-fired grill inside the truck and we knew we had to try it. It’s Pazza Rella, which can be found in Coal Harbour during the day.
They sell Neapolitan style pizzas in this little food truck, making pizzas in 90 seconds. Impressive considering the limitations they might have operating inside a food truck.
We ordered Spicy Salami Pizza. I personally quite like the crust. It’s a bit thick for Neapolitan style pizzas, but it’s soft and elastic inside, and not doughy, tough and chewy. The spicy salami, however, was a bad choice. The meat itself was pretty salty so combining with the seasoned tomato sauce, it was way too much sodium. Mr. happened to have visited Pazza Rella in Coal Harbour after this and try Margherita and Salami, and he thought both were better options.
The last savoury item was Bakudanyaki. Can you believe that I’ve never had a bakudanyaki, the first generation food truck?!
It was a lengthy process to make a bakudanyaki, since it’s basically size of like 4 takoyaki together. You can’t just flip each bakudanyaki once for it to cook; in fact, they had to turn the giant fritter 3 times, a 90 degree turn every time, for it to cook completely throughout. You can imagine the line and wait to be relatively long.
Each fritter has 7 essential ingredients: squid, cabbage, corn, red ginger, shrimp, rice cake, quail egg and green onion. I initially thought they would cheap out on the ingredient and stuff it with just cabbage, but as I watched them, they did put a good amount of everything in it. We chose Curry Bakudanyaki as our sauce, and it was topped with some benito flakes. The flavour was pretty good, but wasn’t really spicy. With every bite we were able to taste different kinds of stuffing.
Lastly, dessert. We have laid our eyes on these deep fried cheesecakes for a couple of years now, but we always fought the urge to order one due to the enormous amount of calories and fat that comes with each bite. We couldn’t suppress it any longer. We went over to the blue school bus and order ourselves an Oreo Caramel Deep Fried Cheesecake.
It wasn’t exactly what I had pictured. I thought they would deep fry it fresh, but it’s actually pre-fried and cooled. Which makes perfect sense now, because it gives the crepe-like wrapping a chance to cool and solidify, to lock in the soft cheesecake inside. And it’s less greasy this way. The crepe was still crispy on the outside. The soft (just slightly softened, not melted and liquidy which is good), plain cheesecake inside was a bit salty thanks to the cream cheese, yet it worked well with the sweet caramel sauce and Oreo cookies. I wish they would make the cookie chunks smaller, since it’s a bit hard to eat. Overall it was pretty good; an indulgence that you would only have it once, maybe twice. Definitely a conversation piece as everyone who walked by asked us about it.
There were many food stalls to choose from, and frankly I wish we had more people with us to try more items. Compared to previous years at the Summer Night Market, I thought this new night market offers a much better selection of food options. There was a good variety, with some unique, innovative ideas that are not the same old dim sum, meat skewers and bubble tea. You should go check it out!
Richmond Night Market
8351 River Road, Richmond