Everyone is happy to have the Richmond Night Market back in full capacity. Many have already gone a handful of times and eaten their way through most of the food stalls. They are fully operational for the season, open Friday to Sunday evenings, and holiday Mondays; wrapping up on October 10th for the year.
But until then, here are some Richmond Night Market staples that return year after year, and come highly recommended by Tourism of Richmond. And I would know, seeing as I use to freelance as a tour guide for them, hosting international media outlets and showcasing popular dumpling restaurants and this very night market.
So here are 8 Night Market Staples, 5 of which are must try eats, recommended for tourists and new guests.
After 2 years of a modified market, Chef James is back with his specialty: grilled cumin lamb from the Xin Jiang province of China. However, there was already a limit to how many vendors they could host selling meat on a stick, that the Chef has had to diversify.
Same great lamb he is known for, but now either in a bun or over noodles. Xinjiang style lamb bun And Xinjiang yellow noodle with lamb. The flavour and the star of the dish remains his tender and succulent chunks of lamb. The chosen base simply allows for the spices to be better highlighted, and to help in filling the belly. If you can only do one, I would recommend the Bao for more even lamb to carbohydrate ratio.
The Rotato booth is still one of the most popular food vendors at the market year after year. One, who doesn’t love potatoes. And two, there is something so hypnotic about a tower of fried spiral goodness, seasoned the way you like it. It is basically one giant curly fry. Peeled, spiralled, and flash fried in a non-stop production, you are practically guaranteed that it will be served to you hot and fresh.
Available in sea salt, cheddar cheese, honey mustard, barbecue, sour cream & onion, and hot & spicy. Have them dust it to your preference. And if you can’t decide just go with either of the two most popular choices: cheddar or BBQ.
Another Richmond night market staple is fresh fruit juices served within the rind of the actual fruit. Nothing is more thirst quenchingly satisfying on a hot summer day, nor does anything else best capture the tropical essence of night markets in Asia, than fruit you carry and sip from. If you are lucky it comes with a mini umbrella for the added feel. We got this mini watermelon from the Tropical Paradise booth.
Another fan favourite to get at the market is squid, whether deep fried or grilled; the fun is slurping tentacles as you maneuver through the cramped crowd. I personally prefer the rings grilled, but at the Lao Er BBQ Squid booth, you can get a mix of both tentacles and rings grilled in a regular or spicy sauce.
One of the originators in the mochi game is Asomi Mochi. Using a family recipe, they offer their strawberry mochi in a bevy of flavours and additional fillings. Have them stuffed with red bean or cheesecake, along with the strawberry centre then choose the flavour of the sticky mochi dough from the likes of chocolate, purple yam, green tea, and even double strawberry. I have never had one that didn’t feature a fresh and always sweet strawberry.
You can typically smell this one coming, if they did it right. Stinky tofu, the name that best describes the dish. One that smells worse than it tastes. Honestly, I find it tasteless, but when paired with a spicy sauce and some pickled vegetables, as pictured here from the No. 1 Famous Taiwanese Deep Fried Cuisine stall, it isn’t that bad. And since you are here, you might as well get the equally popular salty and crunchy popcorn chicken bites that you can simply toss into your mouth.
And when you need a break from all your eating. Head over to the retail vendors for some quick shopping. The Richmond night market still has one of the largest collections of cell phone cases for sale. Less stalls offering you options, but the ones that are, has it all.
Load up on cute and fun Korean socks for cheap. Be sure to peruse the isles and check out the assortment and deals of each before committing. Consider which characters you want on your feet and if 5 for $10 is a good deal?
This year we are seeing a lot of Squid game merchandise being represented. On socks and from booths offering Squid Game collectables and accessories like key chains and the actual costumes. You can even try your hand at the dalgona candy cutting game at this booth pictured.
Korean jewelry is also very big at the night market. Multiple vendors offering kitschy and delicate pieces as seen on your favourite K-Pop celebrities. These are often fashion pieces that allows you to buy more for less.
And there you have it, the Cole’s notes, easy beginner’s guide to the night market. After you have hit these up, check out my post for 10 new vendors added to this year’s line up. Link below.