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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Foodtastic Richmond Night Market

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think Richmond Night Market?  If you’re like most people I know, its food.  Food food food.  Some more food.  A little bit of browsing, sprinkled with some shopping topped off with more food, followed by a little loitering and hanging out around some food.  Ok ok, I’m sure you get the point haha!  Well, the Yummy In Our Tummies crew was determined to make at least one visit to the Richmond Food Market, oh wait I mean Night Market to sample and eat some of the large variety of food available there.  So here we were, trying to find something to do on a nice Vancouver evening.

If you’re not a Night Market enthusiast, you might not know, but there are two locations of it in Richmond this year.  The old one is in the same location as before with free admission but paid parking but the new one, where we were headed, is near River Rock Casino where parking is free but entrance is by a $1.00 fee.  (Last I heard, the fee has gone up a few more cents).  Word of mouth has it that the food stalls are more or less the same in both of the Night Markets so we don’t plan on going to the old one, but if we do and we find something different, you’ll be sure to hear from us.
_MG_9720 copy_thumb[1] _MG_9719 copy_thumb[2] Our foodventures started with the ever so popular Rotato (deep fried potato cut into a shape sprinkled with flavor of choice).  This booth always has a long line up and often sells out early.  Last year, we waited 30 minutes in the line up to place our order and after we did the frying vat broke down.  We never got our hurricane potato (Rotato at this place now?)last year.  This year we were bound to get one so we arrived at the Night Market within 30 minutes of its opening.  And sure enough, we did.
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Check these things out.  They look pretty cool!  And they are so functional!  You can do so many funny things with them, as their poster shows.  The possibilities are endless.  Once we were done being entertained by the creativity of our silly minds, we actually tasted the food.
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_MG_9714 copy_thumb[3] _MG_9710 copy_thumb[1] We tried 4 flavours overall.  Roasted garlic and pepper, jalapeno, chocolate, and sour cream.  The roasted garlic was really good and they were pretty generous with the flavouring so I got a mouthful of flavor with every bite.  Besides, I love deep fried stuff, especially potatos so I couldn’t have gone wrong.  This flavour really brought back memories of the Miss Vickies honey roasted garlic chips which have now been discontinued.  Man I miss those chips... I even wrote a letter on their feedback section expressing my distress and the calamity I was faced with when that flavour was discontinued. I never heard back
from them. I have never had any Miss Vickies since. </3

The jalapeno was not as exciting, mostly because it wasn’t covered with enough flavouring.  This one has potential though.  Jalapeno flavor was good when I tasted it and not too spicy.  The chocolate was a disaster though.  Hot deep fried potato does not go well with chocolate powder; deep fried potato is not meant to be sweet haha.  But we had to try the chocolate at least once.  Take it from us though.  Don’t get chocolate.  Sour cream and onion flavor was also a good complement to the hurricane potato.  Personally though, roasted garlic and pepper and jalapeno are my suggestions.

We returned for seconds later during the night and look at the lineup!!! Is it that good? Or is it hype?! You tell us!
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_MG_9738 copy_thumb[2] Rotato was followed by more savoury goodness.  Being the takoyaki lovers we are, we had to get some takoyaki and we opted to try the scallop version this time (Hotate). Unfortunately, they told us that they ran out of scallop – right before we picked up our order too. We conceded to getting half octopus and half scallop. We ordered pretty early in the night too (~7:30PM), so it was surprising that they ran out of a clearly advertised ingredient already… The good part at this booth is that they didn’t hold back on the sauces.  And I had never had scallop ones before but I have become an instant fan!  These little guys were deelicious!!  The regular takoyaki was nothing out of the ordinary though.  We’ve had enough takoyaki to be able to compare this with our vast past experiences.  Yummy, especially the scallop ones.

Check out some pictures of how these yummy buggers were made, fresh, right before your eyes! The ones on the bottom are the small ones that we tried and the ones above are the giant ones that we didn’t try this time… maybe next time?
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As we were waiting for our takoyaki, Ying became tempted by the stall next door, especially their curry fish balls. She was especially attracted to the word HOT written right on top of the picture. She opted to get 15 pieces for $6.50 so all of us could share. The fish balls were okay. Nothing extraordinary or spectacular, but it was well done. To me, the curry was a little bland but had a spicy zing to it. Richard commented that it was quite spicy to him! Nevertheless, it was satisfying!

The owners of this stall were quite nice as well, and readily agreed to give us extra sticks to share. :)
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_MG_9755 copy_thumb[2] Ying also got a small soy-sauce chow mein (豉油皇炒面) for $3.50. Quite a heaping plate for a “small” size. These noodles are so simple, but so delicious. As the name implied, it was really just stirfried with some soy sauce and maybe some other seasoning? There was a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds on top that really enhanced the flavour.
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The siu mai (pork dumplings) also looked pretty yummy. We could smell the aroma from next door! Ying and Rich commented that they would like to try it next time. No pork for me though! :(
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Egg waffles!!  These guys were up next.  This was our second trip to the Night Market and the last time we were here we had egg waffled from another booth with identical flavor offerings to the booth where we had it today.  Also the booth we went to today had a major typo in their banner which had me wondering, How the heck?!?! HongKING traditional egg puff? REALLY?! Rich pointed out that the corresponding Chinese characters say Hong Kong…
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Anyhow, last time we weren’t all that impressed by our egg waffles so today we were a little hesitant and only got one order.  We tried the mango ($4).  Again, we were disappointed!  These egg waffles were not properly cooked with the batter being dense and sticky in every bite we had!  The pieces were also all broken up as well. (See picture to the right) – definitely not very appetizing looking… Dislike.  We scouted 3 booths offering egg waffles, of which we have one left.  When and if we go there, we will update this post. _MG_9769 copy_thumb
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Last but not least, we had to top it off with some proper dessert.  We headed to a Mango Yummy booth.  This booth serves up various combinations of fruits on shaved ice.  They have about 5 items on their menu if I remember correctly. The Mango & Ice Cream Shaved Ice is shaved ice topped off with mango pieces, a scoop of ice cream, and some puree.  I also asked for tapioca balls, tiny little ones that just add another dimension to the dessert. ($5.50 + $0.50 extra charge for tapioca balls) This stuff is good on a hot day and after eating salty snacks, a cold sweet mango dessert hits the spot for me.  It’s pretty good stuff.  Of course, I’d like less ice and more mango and puree but hey, I didn’t make it myself so I gotta settle for what I got.
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_MG_9776 copy_thumb[2] Rich and Ying went for the Fresh Mango Sago Pomelo (杨枝甘露), which is essentially a coconut milk drink topped with fresh mango, pomelo and sago drops. They said that the coconut milk made the drink quite sweet, but it was refreshing after so many savoury snacks. As you can see, this one arrived looking more like a drink and they give you a big straw so that you can enjoy the coconut milk on the bottom.

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The Yummies:
  • Decent to good food, depending on the booth
  • Large variety of food within a short walking distance from each other
  • Rotato. Enough said. Get there early!

The Yuckies:
  • Parking, parking parking… even though it’s a big lot. Again, get there early!
  • Crowds can get pretty dense by 9PM
  • LONG lineups at popular food booths :(


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Richmond Night Market on Urbanspoon

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