Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Richmond Night Market

Richmond Night Market

Where can you buy hologram wolf wall art or a furry buffalo hat, watch an eating contest, listen to overplayed top 40 dance hits at high volume, see a live reptile exhibit, and watch the red sun go down over the industrial wonder of the Fraser River? Richmond Night Market Y’all!

If you’ve never been- GO! My first time visiting the RNM was last year after an all-you-can eat Chinese Hot Pot dinner. This was a rookie mistake. Never go with a full stomach because even if you love cheap electronics, plastic fans, imitation crocs, purses, fans, tea pots, leggings, and various aasian beauty products ….. this market is all about THE FOOD!

After killing about an hour looking at the random assortment of merchandise and booths and building up some serious hunger, we veered into the edible area of the market in the south west section.

I knew what I wanted to try right away, and sure enough the stars aligned and within steps of entering the market I ran smack dab into a lively vendor yelling out the seductive siren song…. “Octopus balls!” I had tried my first octopus ball or (tak…) a few weeks ago while visiting the Chinatown night market. They were good, but I sensed they were essentially just from the frozen section at T and T- heated up and doused with Japanese mayo and bonito flakes….I wanted to try them again and had a feeling in Richmond, they would be superior. And I was right. $3 for 4 balls and they were a whole ‘nother type of ball- not hard and rubbery, but soft and crumbly with bits of real tentacles and scallops. The flavour was rich and buttery and melt in your mouth.

Heather’s first foray into the RNM food was a $1 fish cake. The only fishy thing about these waffles is their shape. Essentially, they are just a light and fluffy waffles with various fillings- H went for custard and was not disappointed. Light and airy, with a custard that was not too sweet or thick. All in all- a perfect little sweet (but not-too-sweet) start to the evening.

I had read about Sumo rice burgers and had heard from some friends who had visited the market and raved that this was their favourite stand. Essentially, there are 3 different versions of the rice burgers- 3 types are of meat with a lettuce leaf between two formed rice patties creating a bun. I tried the teriyaki beef burger. The beef was cooked to a perfect juicy medium and the sauce was rich and flavourful. It was a creative and delicious experience. Would’ve loved to try a brown rice version (they don’t have it…yet) and all of the varieties they do offer. I love spicy- and I would’ve loved to add some spicy chilli sauce to kick up the rice bun which although fun, was kinda flavourless.

I was on still on a savoury kick and working on my rice burger but Heather and Jen couldn’t resist and opportunity to try wheel cakes. Essentially, the same deal as the fish cake- a batter cake with either nutella, peanut butter, or custard filling. 1 buck each, both got nutella and loved their wheel cakes. It seems like light fluffy cake/waffle batter and nutella…guaranteed delicious-ness.

Next up- Jen pork bun from Top Wok dim sum stand- 2.50. These are pretty standard fare, but I’ve had my share of dry, partially frozen tasting pork buns before so I’m always a little hesitant. This pork bun was really nice. Hot, but not too hot, and good meat to bun ratio- this bun was a winner.

At the night market, the longest line and biggest crowd was at the Xi Jian Man BBQ- and for good reason. The “skewer master” tending the grill was a real show man yelling and working the flames. We went for a combo to share- 3 skewers for 6 bucks. Spicy lamb (cumin), beef, and garlic prawns. All three were delicious, tender, and rich in flavour. My favourite was the spicy lamb.

I was tempted by the $5 BBQ squid stand but my frugal instincts pushed me towards the $3 version at the Halal stand. It was good, but not great. Pretty chewy, with tonnes of tentacles. Next time, I’ll spend drop the extra twoonie.

Back to sweets and the Summer Breeze shaved ice stand. For $4 each Heather and I both got special combos with ice cream and 3 toppings. I got the variety with Banana, Red Bean, Tapioca Bubbles and Green Tea Ice Cream. It was pretty good- but I wanted something with more flavour. The best part of the dessert was the green tea ice cream. This made me wish I had followed Jen’s lead and picked up a cone of the green tea soft serve.

All in all- an amazing night of eating and there is so much more to try. Next time- I’m definitely getting a giant cob of corn, the $5 BBQ squid, spicy fish balls, pumpkin curry balls, the green tea soft serve and dragon beard candy.

For more info on the Richmond Night Market visit their website athttp://www.summernightmarket.com/main/default.asp
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