I wasn’t sure what overwhelmed me at first: the combination of MSG and fried meats, or the crush of people.
Lisa and I were in search of something to do on Saturday night in Vancouver, B.C., so we set upon the Summer Night Market in nearby Richmond, which I feel is best described as an Asian-themed county fair. The draw was the heaping amounts of deep-fried goodness, such as takoyaki, hum bao, gyoza, bubble tea, dim sum and some potato offering that was given two baths in oil, followed by a sprinkling of garlic powder and a squirt of ketchup. We cleansed the palate with a combination of green team and black sesame ice cream (which wasn’t great, but needed to curb all the salt).
Oh, and if you need cheap iPhone 4 cases, there are about 20 different stalls selling them.
We clearly weren’t the only ones interested in visiting on opening weekend. CBC reported almost 18,000 attended the opening night of the Summer Night Market, which is held on a makeshift fairground behind a Home Depot. This is not to be confused with the Richmond Night Market, a competing festival that opens next week. And if you guessed that two competing markets with similar interests would not get along, you’re right. There have been public squabbles between the owners of the two markets, who aren’t eager to share the almost 1 million people who will visit throughout the summer.
Outside of the food, the highlight was the incredible people-watching at what was clearly a de rigueur weekend activity for Asian-Canadian youths in Richmond. I made this quickie assessment, of course, based on all the preening, flexing and flirting going on with the opposite sex.
In the end, it was a complete attack on the senses. The amount of food stalls (three solid rows, about 200 meters long) made for almost painful decision making. Everything looked good, but with only $60 CDN cash and a finite amount of space in our stomachs, we had to be strategic. Next time, there will be a plan.
The Summer Night Market runs until mid-September. Richmond, B.C., is just a two-hour drive (save for border waits) from Seattle and well worth an evening out if you happen to be in the Lower Mainland.