I didn’t walk away from the Richmond Night Market thinking it was good. I didn’t walk away thinking it was bad. What I do think is: It’s an experience–which means you have to go, if you’re around town.
It bills itself as the biggest night market in North America, and the crowds get crazy because it’s on the radar of locals and tourists alike. The doors open at 7 p.m., and there is a long line to get in well before then. We walked in thinking we’d be entering a wonderland of exotic Asian fare, but the food is primarily Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and the dishes are pretty much what you’d get at Asian stalls in a typical mall food court. In short, the food choices are not exciting. We were on the hunt for Xian cuisine (noodles and lamb) but had to settle for plain old grilled lamb skewers. Other dishes we tried: shredded duck egg rolls, vegetable tempura, steamed pork buns and chicken satay. Nothing jumped out.
So, the food’s not spectacular, but you should go if you’re around Vancouver. The night market is so near the airport that you can see the planes flying just above the Skytrain train tracks. There’s also kitschy carnival stuff apart from the food stalls, such as games and an array of doodads on sale. There was a vendor selling a t-shirt saturated with images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; if you saw it, you’d want it. I, however, restrained myself. It was time to bid adieu to the fair.