Article written by Daray Lei
Ever been to an Asian-style night market? The idea is to immerse yourself in a multisensory world of food, performances, and games—it’s playtime on a whole other level. Nurtured by a thriving immigrant community, the Richmond Night Market is a classic example of this extremely fun tradition. In fact, it’s the largest night market in North America and attracts one million visitors from around the globe every summer.
At this event, you can expect a little of everything: rows and rows of hawker-style food stands selling authentic Asian food, drinks, and desserts; free performances by local artists, arcade games, a bouncy castle. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from April 29 to October 10, it’s your opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry.
Now, once you enter the night market, the sheer amount of choices you face can be overwhelming. However, when it comes to food, we’ve got you. These are our top 5 recommendations for getting the most out of the food vendors at the Richmond Night Market.
- Noodles from the Aloha Boys
The Aloha Boys certainly lived up to the hype for their noodles—their Flying Cup Noodles especially ($16). This aesthetically pleasing bowl of stir-fried ramen comes with a piece of SPAM, two Hawaiian garlic butter shrimps, and a half ramen egg. There is also a generous portion of sliced lettuce on the bottom in case you are craving some greens.
- Fried Pork Belly from the Frying Pig
Pork belly is essentially the “better bacon”, as it contains more meat and greater culinary complexity. The Frying Pig serves up some exceptional super crispy fried pork belly dishes for $15 each. They prove that even after thousands of years of Chinese cuisine, there are still ways to get creative about pork belly.
- Ice Cream Puffs at Tea Cubed Patisserie
Dessert, anyone? Tea Cubed Patisserie is a pop-up collaboration between three local brands – Thirstea, Kukki Jar, and Niche Creamery. For $8, you can enjoy a sweet and crunchy puff with a generous scoop of silky-smooth ice cream. It is then topped with a shot of teapresso that comes with your choice of ice cream puffs. We tried their Matcha Oreo with a squeeze of cream, and 10/10 would recommend!
Rotato is a must-have Richmond Night Market item. It is super-easy to find as it will be sold by vendors with the longest lines. It offers the popular South Korean street food, tornado potatoes, also known as twister potatoes, for $9. This is a skewered potato cut in a spiral, then deep fried and topped with different seasonings. For flavors, we recommend honey mustard, sea salt, and barbeque. Plus, with the purchase of one regular-sized rotato, you will be eligible to purchase mini-sized rotatos for just $2 each. Pro tip: if you want to be adventurous and try different flavors, the mini-sized rotatos are your best bet.
- Watermelon Juice at Tropical Paradise
A night market experience wouldn’t be complete without a unique and refreshing beverage. And nothing screams summer like cool watermelon juice. Plus, at Tropical Paradise, the freshly squeezed watermelon juice comes in an adorable watermelon bowl for $13. Be sure to ask for a spoon to scrape the leftover watermelon on the bottom of the bowl after you finish.
Finally, want to navigate the night market like a champ?
- Arrive hungry! REALLY hungry.
- Bring cash!
- Limited seating is available. Be prepared to share a table with others.
- We recommend purchasing the Zoom Pass to skip the line. The $35 pass includes 6 entries to the night market that may be used throughout the season.
- Keep looking; don’t settle! There are so many delicious options at the night market that it’s best to do a walkaround first before making a choice.
- For large groups: it might not always be easy to stick together. It’s a good idea to pick a meeting spot beforehand in case someone gets lost.
See you there!