Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Glance: Richmond Summer Night Market Hawkers (Cathay Imports Parking Lot, Vancouver, BC)

We spent all Sunday walking - we took a stroll after Cannery looking at vintage finds and antiques on Commercial Drive, went to Portobello West Market off of Terminal Avenue, and also did some shopping on Main. But that wasn't enough. On the way home, M decided that he wanted to go to night market!

Richmond Night Market 2009 banner Hawker Stalls at the Richmond Summer Night Market

So off we went. Unfortunately, we got there about half an hour early - the market starts at anywhere from 6:30 to 7pm, unless the vendors set up before then. No sneaking in early! :)

We gave the food vendors a couple minutes once the gates opened before we drooled all over their food. We walked down a couple rows of stalls first - it was surprising how seemingly sparse the stalls looked this year. There were several empty stalls. But who cares...we came for the food!

Pang's food stall at the Richmond Night Market, 2009 Deep Fried Won Ton from Pang's stall at the Richmond Night Market, 2009

We seemed to gravitate towards Pang's stall the most times. The first time, we picked up a skewer of siu mai (for M) and beef tripe (for me). Yes - I eat tripe. Unfortunately, M does not - usually. On this occasion, M thought that there was brisket in the "beef odds and sods" bowl and dug in.

This skewer of siu mai from Pang's made it a long way - to Ms mouth. (Richmond Night Market 2009) Beef odds & sods from Pang's @ Richmond Night Market 2009 Beef odds & sods from Pang's @ Richmond Night Market 2009

He was pretty pleased that he had four large siu mai on his stick instead of the usual three that you got at other stalls. That's right, perhaps it's akin to a carnie trick or what not - but we sometimes get sucked into the deals that hawkers throw at you. Decidedly though, we enjoyed the food at Pang's. The tripe bowl had lots of flavour and was well cooked - not overdone, but not rubbery. The siu mai were meaty and large (and there were four! lol). We even bought two trays of deep fried wonton - one in the beginning, and one on our second round to the stalls.

B&W Dim Sum House B&W Japchae noodles at the Richmond Night Market, 2009

I believe one of the deciding factors in getting us (M & I) to buy hawker food is to have a mom / dad figure sell it to us. I mean seriously - what do youngins' know about preparing old-world favourites?! This was the case with Pang's, as well as B&W Dim Sum House, whose proprietor - a mom and her three boys, have been at Richmond Night Market for as long as I can remember. Regularly, I have seen the mom and boys operate at the Crystal Mall Food Court. They offer a lot of tasty combos at good prices!

I had a craving for Japchae, but the Korean *halmonie* (is that how you spell it? Whatever - Korean grandmother!) and her daughter didn't have a stall on Sunday. Are there still there this year? I'll have to find out. I circled a couple times looking for them, then settled on the Japchae at B&W Dim Sum House. No, they're not Korean. And the noodles had a noticeable absence of beef, green onion, and carrot. But it was acceptable. Not something I would order again as I've made better Japchae myself, but it was good street food.

What else makes food street food? Food on sticks! We tried to sample every skewered meat in the market, but failed. You see, my eyes are definitely bigger than what my stomache can hold. I got to taste the meaty pork skewers at the "Satay Place" below.

Satay stall at Richmond Night Market 2009 Skewer of pork - cooked on charcoal from Satay stall at the 2009 Richmond Night Market

The guys that ran the stall were a little less prepared than the other food stalls, and although some may see that as a bad thing, I did not - they were tending to the charcoal in their stoves, and as the motto goes, good food takes time - M had his eyes on the skewers from this stall from the start. As he put it, they was so much meat on them! He was right - the tender chunks of pork were larger than anywhere else, and before serving, the guy behind the stove brushed on some satay sauce.

I have to add though, while there was a lot of flavour from the charcoal, and the meat was tender and well cooked, it was not as flavourful as I would have hoped. It needed some marinade or rub or something! BUT. It proved to be the best value in terms of amount of food that you got.

Next up was Chubbz - they did a Japadog-style hot dog as well as "Greek souvlaki".

Chubbz Japanese Hotdog & Greek Souvlaki stall at 2009 Richmond Night Market Skewers of pork 'souvlaki' from Chubbz @ 2009 Richmond Night Market

I guess they were trying to appeal to the masses! We didn't try the Japanese hot dog but we gave the chicken and pork skewers a try. The difference from Chubbz to the "Satay Sauce" stand was that Chubbz had a little less meat on their skewers, and that they were a little heavy handed on the white pepper. Chubbz also had a deal: $5 for three skewers. So...it all worked out in the end.

There were at least two or three more "skewered meat" stalls to try, but I was pretty stuffed. Wouldn't you be?

I was so stuffed that I didn't even have a chance to have any "waffle egg balls" or "chicken egg balls" from the Malaysian (?) vendor that is there every year. You know, the guy who speaks / hawks in Cantonese and is a one man show? This year he took up two stalls and at the time I took this photo, he had a lineup snakeing around in the "U" shape around the two stalls, plus he paused to get his Canadian top hat out for the photo op. What a ham! :)

Go visit this guy, he'll tell you that his product is 'bok bok chiu - one for $3' lol - Richmond Night Market, 2009

You gotta say though, the guy is good at marketing himself. He had photos of himself with various celebrities posted on the gazebo walls so that you had something to look at while you waited.

I.C. Desserts - hopefully I have more room in the belly for them next time. (Richmond Night Market 2009)

I didn't have room for dessert, but I'll probably go back one time this year to sample some goodies from IC Desserts.

I didn't even have room for the fish-shaped biscuits on the other side of the main drag - pity!

I *did*, however, pick up some Dragon Beard Candy to go. It's a must-buy, every year. Even if I don't buy anything else, I'll pick up some Dragon Beard Candy for my family or myself to enjoy at home. This stall is also known to have long lineups, because the product is only good when it is fresh! So...you have to wait a while.

Dragon Beard Candy  stall at the Richmond Night Market Strawberry & Original Dragon Beard Candy at the Richmond Night Market, 2009

I bought two containers of original, and one container of mixed "strawberry" and original. The strawberry was only slightly strawberry - the Dragon Beard Candy is similiar to cotton candy, but more distinct when you put it in your mouth. The sugar / glucose strands are wrapped gently around a mixture of roasted, sweetened, peanuts.

Well, I guess that's all for this post. I'm planning on going back to the night market this weekend (it was pre-planned with a friend), so I'll try to find some new eats. Stay tuned!

Richmond Summer Night Market

12361 Vulcan Way [map]

Richmond BC

Richmond Night Market on Urbanspoon


  1. OMG I am starving here. :) great photos

  2. cotton candy is my favorite too!

  3. TH: Thank you! Cotton candy is the closest comparison I can compare the Dragon Beard Candy to - the Dragon Beard Candy doesn't dissolve as quickly as cotton candy and it isn't as sweet, but it has that same "fluffy" mouthfeel.

  4. This looks absolutely fantastic! Is it just a once-a-year thing?

  5. taste traveller, it is on all weekends (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) from now until October 4th. 6:30pm until 11pm or 12 midnight. (It closes earlier on Sundays) Something nice the Vancouver offers. :)

  6. Hi Jessica,
    Great post! I moved away from Vancouver almost 10 years ago (I know, crazy right?!). I try to visit regularly though. This was the first year I've ever gone to the Asian Night Market (or for legal purposes, the 'Summer Night Market') and my hubby and I loved it. Stuffed our faces too. Great photos, wish I had tried that tripe bowl - yum! And so jealous you got to try the strawberry dragon's beard candy, they only had the normal white kind when we there at 11pm. Definitely a future weird food wednesday item for the novelty alone. Will be writing my own post soon on the night market (if I ever get around to going through my vacation pics!).

  7. Hi - this is a great blog - do you happen to know if the B&W Dim Sum house is still at Crystal mall - I wanted to contact them to figure out the name of a dish I bought from there during a recent visit to the Night market in Richmond. I think they were rice rolls with some type of sauce on them. Any help would be appreciated...Thanks!

  8. Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure if B&W Dim Sum house is still at Crystal mall. I haven't actually been there since my BCIT days - and I won't date myself by mentioning when that was. lol!

    I'll try to drop by later this week and let you know!

  9. My favourite Chinese New Year food (though you sometimes find it all year round) is the Dragon Beard Candy, an ancient Chinese Emperor’s Dessert. It’s made into very sweet thin strands and sometimes filled with peanuts.
    If you’ve never tried it, you simply have to! The only place I know to find this online is http://www.geocities.jp/family_hong_kong/English/Dragon_Bread_Candy_index.htm .


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