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night market

Chinatown Night Market 2009

We talk a lot about the Summer Night Market (aka. Richmond Night Market), but it’s not the only game in town. The Chinatown Night Market has been going on for 14 years now. It amazes me that a city could support not just one, but two weekly Asian night markets.

The 2009 Chinatown Night Market…
…runs from May 15, 2009 to September 6, 2009.
…is open from 6:30PM to 11:00PM every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.
…is located on Keefer St. between Main St. & Columbia St. (map).

Chinatown Night Market

The reason we haven’t talked about it is because we haven’t gone for years.

I actually never go to Chinatown. Not a fan of the downtown eastside and Richmond more than satifies my Chinese cravings. However, I was in the area last Saturday and decided to finally check out the night market. I had low expectations.

Chinatown Night Market Chinatown Night Market

I arrived around 6:30PM: minutes after the vendors finished setting up their booths so the pictures might look more like a Chinatown Day Market. Fantastic weekend weather we’ve been having eh?

This market is very tiny compared to the Richmond Night Market. There are about 10 food booths and 10 non-food booths. Its footprint is a single city block stretch down Keefer St. It’s quite nice. The night market in Richmond is located on a warehouse parking lot behind a Home Depot whereas this one has historic Chinatown as a backdrop.

As usual, I skipped past the non-food booths selling crappy merchandise (check out the 8-ball PiMP stick in that pic) and went straight for the food booths.

Chinatown Night Market Chinatown Night Market

Pretty standard stuff here. Curry fish balls, takoyaki fritters, bubble tea, chow mein, dim sum, bbq pork buns, spring rolls, meat skewers, gai dan jai (chinese egg pastry), etc. Things are generally priced from $2 – $5 each. I had me some curry fish balls (tangy), siu mai dimsum (yum), mango bubble tea (bland and artificial), gai dan jai (great!), and deep fried tofu (crispy and fresh). BBT aside, everything was great.

Chinatown Night Market

The real star of the show were the rice noodle rolls aka. chee cheong fun.

You’ve probably had rice noodle rolls before. They are a popular dim sum dish. They’re made from rolled rice noodle sheets which in turn are made from rice flour and water. You can buy pre-made packs at any grocery store for a few bucks.

One of the booths here has rice noodle rolls individually made to order. I’ve never seen the process done before – it’s pretty cool. They were probably the best rice noodle rolls I’ve ever had.

Chinatown Night MarketChinatown Night Market

The entire process takes a couple minutes. First, they pour a viscous rice flour and water mixture onto a shallow metal sheet (pictured left). They add dried shrimp or fresh shrimp or beef to the mixture depending on which flavour you ordered (I got beef). You can also add an egg. The metal sheet and mixture is then slotted into a metal box steamer. See that box covered with Beat 94.5fm stickers in the right picture? That’s the steamer (do the stickers add flavour?). The mixture is steamed for a couple minutes in the box until it turns into rice noodles.

After it’s taken out of the box, they’re not rolled into noodles but simply scrapped off the sheet onto your plate. As the noodles are scrapped, they get folded into an interesting texture. This is the finished product, after adding some sweet soy sauce.

Chinatown Night Market

As I said, it taste fantastic. Super fresh. And it only costs $3 (+75 cents if you add an egg).

The Richmond Night Market doesn’t have this. They have normal rice noodle rolls that are great, but they’re not made to order from scratch. The night market in Richmond does have bigger and more obnoxious crowds, more expensive headache-inducing parking, and more booths selling crappy merchandise.

I came here with low expectations, but I left pleasantly surprised. There’s not much to do in Chinatown – especially at night – so you’ll have to find something else to do after visiting this night market. If the weather is nice and your stomach is empty, I’d definitely recommend stopping by the Chinatown Night Market for some fast food.


News: Summer Night Market 2009 has begun!

Summer Night Market 2009 logoIt’s that time of year again…

The Richmond Summer Night Market opened its doors tonight for yet another iteration of the popular summer festival. It’s open every weekend until October 4th, 2009.

Same venue: 12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond, B.C. (behind the Home Depot)
Same hours: 7PM – 12AM on Fridays & Saturdays, 7PM – 11PM on Sundays
Same crappy merchandise.
Same headache-inducing parking.
Same claustrophobic crowds?
Same delicious street food!

We’ll be visiting soon.Will Ed continue his tradition of eating a Mango UFO? Will Dan get arrested for purchasing pirated DVDs? Will the Summer Night Market be shut down by a federal court ordered injunction?

All these questions will be answered soon! Stay tuned!

Taiwan: 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market

Eat Snap Repeat Around the WorldTime for the first installment of Eat, Snap, Repeat Around the World in Taiwan!

Vancouver has no shortage of Taiwanese cuisine restaurants, and a few popular players have been covered by ESR in the past. The food served at these establishments are a reasonable subset of restaurant food in Taiwan, and gives us Vancouverites a window into what food in Taiwan might be like. But what is Taiwanese food really like? By that I mean if I was living in Taiwan, what would I be picking up on my way home for dinner, or share with friends on a summer night after a movie? Those questions were answered on my recent trip to Taipei.

In this first post on Taiwan, we’ll look at one of the best known food spots, 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market.
Shilin - Taiwan Night Market 士林夜市

Being the size of Vancouver Island, but with a highly developed rapid transit system similar to Japan, just about anywhere in the capital city of Taiwan is reachable in 15 minutes. The Shi Lin night market is located right outside one MRT station, and within a 5 minute walk of another. The market itself is not enclosed in a marked area, and spills into the alleyways of several street blocks. Stalls of food, drinks, clothing, trinkets, are intermixed into a huge jacuzzi for your senses.

Shilin - Taiwan Night Market 士林夜市

 Continue on for details…

Continue reading “Taiwan: 士林夜市 Shi Lin Night Market”

News: Summer Night Market is a GO for 2008

A news update on the Richmond Night Market.

Short story:

  • The “Summer Night Market” will begin Friday, May 30 and run until October 5 (June 23 update: the food has arrived and the market is in full swing!)
  • The night market is open:
    • Fridays & Saturdays: 7pm – Midnight
    • Sundays & Holiday Mondays: 7pm – 11pm
  • The market is located at 12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond (behind Home Depot)

Long Story:

Richmond Night MarketThe Richmond Night Market has been serving up Asian street food (and other festivities) every summer since 2000. It’s grown in popularity every year and, love it or hate it, is a unique event in Vancouver. We covered it last year. There were some serious question marks as to whether or not the event would return this year.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Raymond Cheung (Target Events Production Ltd.), the event founder, cancelled the event for 2008. This is due to the lease running out on the current location at 12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond (behind Home Depot); apparently, the landlord wanted a lot more money
  • Raymond Cheung is looking for a new venue for the night market, and hopes that it can return (in a better location) in 2009

So the summer night market is off for 2008 right? Nope, it’s ON.

  • Paul Cheung (Lions Communication, organizers of other Vancouver festivities throughout the years), has acquired the necessary permits and will be hosting the night market at the same location (12631 Vulcan Way) under the new “Summer Night Market” moniker.
  • The new venue (at the same location) is currently under construction. Improvements such as improved access and cheaper parking (whoo!) have been promised

Sweet! So when can we check it out?

  • According to Lions Communication’s website, the event will begin Friday, May 30 and run to October 5 (June 23 update: the food has arrived and the market is in full swing!)
  • The night market will be open:
    • Fridays & Saturdays: 7pm – Midnight
    • Sundays & Holiday Mondays: 7pm – 11pm

Cool. Same place, same time, cheaper parking. It’s all good right? Not yet…

  • Raymond Cheung has filed trademark and copyright infringment lawsuits against Paul Cheung, claiming that the “Summer Night Market” infringes on the “Richmond Night Market”
  • Last Sunday, there was sabotage on the construction on the new venue

So, as long these 2 complications do not delay the opening, I guess we can begin looking forward to summer nights of tasty Asian street food, cheap Chinese ripoff products, and stressful (slightly cheaper?) parking.

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