You may know her as Small Girl Big Plate, but I’ve always known her as Romina, ‘that 365 Days of Dining Top 12 Finalist who I really, really want to meet.’ It’s true; Romina was one of Tourism Richmond‘s finalists for this very blogging position, a front runner who not only blogged full-time for the last year, but did so while in school, also full-time. She starts med school this September. Impressed? You should be.
Romina and I have wanted to meet for ages, and finally set a date. When? Friday, August 17th. Where? The Summer Night Market in Richmond. Why? Because there’s so much to eat, and we both have pretty serious appetites.
We got there on the night market’s free shuttle, which leaves every 20 minutes from the east side of Bridgeport Station on Great Canadian Way (here’s a video giving directions to the spot). The shuttle driver was very clear on which market we were going to; she’s clearly had more than one person going to one and thinking it was the other! Remember, there are two competing night markets now in Richmond: The Richmond Night Market, which started years ago, then took a hiatus and is back again this year, and the Summer Night Market, which has been around the last few years but is still considered by many to be ‘the new one.’ Yes, it can get confusing, but the shuttle driver will make it very clear where you’re going. And fyi, you can walk from Bridgeport Station to the Richmond Night Market (RNM), where I went last month.
On the way there, Romina pulled this from her bag, a gift to congratulate me on landing the job. What?? SO thoughtful. I can’t wait to use it.
At least when it came to the food, The Summer Night Market appeared to be a smaller than the RNM, but maybe it just seemed that way because of the layout. Either way, we were still bombarded by dishes, many of which we’d never seen before; take the breaded and deep-fried lychees for example, which came with a drizzle of fresh strawberry sauce. Sweet, sour, crunchy, and juicy.
Though it seems impossible to call a deep-fried food “refreshing,” the deep-fried lychee were. A favourite of the night.
Squid is very popular at this market and also a must-try.
There’s both grilled and deep-fried, and we went for the latter. The squid legs were chewy, salty, a bit spicy, and seemed intent on escaping their cardboard container.
They’re also perfect for Movember.
Next, I insisted we get one of the smoked turkey legs, simply because they looked so medieval. I pictured large bearded men feasting on them at mile-long banquet tables, with bones chucked to the floor to be fought over by the king’s dogs. All that from meat on a grill? Yes. As I sat at on a plastic bench, gnawed on the turkey leg and got sauce on my face, I felt quite in the moment. No dogs though.
In tribute to the day’s gloriously hot temperatures, Romina and I tried a bowl of fresh mango, ice cream, and shaved ice, as well as a watermelon juice.
The juice was cool, not too sweet, and perfect for summer. While I really enjoyed the large scoop of fresh mango on the parfait, I found myself wishing the shaved ice was just more ice cream.
Plain old ice seems like such a letdown when there’s frozen cream to be had.
That wasn’t all for dessert, however. We got ourselves a chocolate bubble waffle, which I now realize I forgot to take a photo of! Whoops. That’s probably because I was simultaneously clutching a turkey leg and eating the waffle.
This treat has the sweet, crunchy, chewy exterior of a belgian waffle, and is pressed in a iron that forms it into ‘bubbles,’ which we pulled off one (or two, or three at a time) to snack on. We both agreed it would be even tastier with some kind of dip or sauce.
Finally, we ordered a glutinous rice flour dumpling that had been stuffed with a whole Ferrero Rocher and deep-fried. It was tasty, and quite a clever idea. It was the first time I’d seen these at either of the markets.
My advice for the night markets is this: try them both! The Summer Night Market was a little smaller and slightly harder to get to, but it had food the other one didn’t and vice-versa. I can’t speak much to the compared quality of the non-food stalls, but no one really goes to a night market just to purchase an iPhone cover, do they? DO THEY??
Both markets had live entertainment, and were bustling. The Summer Night Market had more tables to sit at, and you don’t have to pay an admission. The Richmond Night Market is easier to get to, has the Wishing Forest, and a more spread-out food area. The best way to get to both markets is by transit – take the Skytrain to Bridgeport Station, and from there you can walk to the Richmond Night Market or take the free shuttle (departing every 20 minutes) to the Summer Night Market. Just remember to take plenty of cash to both! Pretty much everything we ordered was $6 or less, and many dishes cost $4. It’s a good idea to have change on-hand so the vendors don’t have to split large bills.
If you’re arriving by car, here’s the info for parking at the Summer Night Market, and the Richmond Night Market has parking next to it, though you’re encouraged to arrive via No. 3 Road and not Great Canadian Way so as not to interfere with the nearby casino’s traffic.
Here are a few more photos from the Summer Night Market – If you haven’t gone to either market yet I suggest you do! Bring some friends, make an evening of it, and plan on eating salad the next day. After all that deep-fry, your stomach will need it.
Thanks again to Romina for joining me – I couldn’t have asked for a better night market partner! And GOOD LUCK at med school! I can offer you help with…..nothing. I’m terrible at science.
You’ll find contact info and hours for both night markets at the bottom of this post.
Runs May 11th – September 16th, 2012
Fri/Sat: 7pm – 12am
Sun: 7pm to 11pm
Open long weekends
Free shuttle runs to market from Bridgeport Station, departs every 20 minutes
Runs May 18th – Oct. 8th, 2012
Fri/Sat: 7pm – 12am
Sun: 6pm – 11pm
Open long weekends