A trip to your local night market isn’t complete without spoiling yourself with a treat. At the International Summer Night Market in Richmond, the colourful array of culturally diverse food stalls help attract over 1.2 millions visitors to the market each summer.
For 2015, the market’s staff has picked twelve of their must-eat food items and have split them into two categories: creative dishes and iconic street-food staples.
In the innovative category, five food dishes made it to the list of staff picks:
Deep Fried Oreo with Ice Cream by Cocoro, a Heart from Japan
Using a tempura batter, the Japanese owner of Cocoro reinterprets the classic American treat of deep-fried Oreo cookies. The result is a warm cookie covered with a light and thin crust that melts in your mouth. The dessert comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Banana Spring Rolls by New Style Green Onion Cake from Alberta
The old saying of not judging a book by its cover holds true for New Style Green Onion Cake from Alberta. In addition to green onion cake, the owners of the stall make a delicious deep-fried banana spring roll that is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. The unique combination of banana and coconut filling makes the dessert luscious and velvety.
Deep Fried Avocado and Crabmeat by Duang Duang Deep Fry
The owner of Duang Duang Deep Fry might be new to the street-food industry, but she is no stranger to the kitchen. Deep fried avocado and crabmeat, also known as Monkey Brain in Chinese, is the owner’s original creation. Her special house sauce gives a spicy touch to the sweetness of the imitated crabmeat and the perfectly deep-fried avocado.
Sweet Tofu Pudding with Homemade Honey Cubes, Sweet Purple Potato Balls and Tapioca Pearls by Soy Boy
Inspired by traditional Taiwanese tofu pudding, the owner of Soy Boy uses high quality, fresh ingredients to make everything in the dessert from scratch. Some of the homemade specialty toppings on the menu include honey cubes made with watermelon tea and sweet purple potato balls made with Hawaiian sweet potatoes.
Flower Cotton Candy by Sugar Twist Cotton Candy
Only available at the International Summer Night Market, the flower cotton candy not only tastes good but also looks great on camera. The artist behind the cotton candy machine can sculpt a fluffy flower with as many as ten layers of floss sugar.
In the iconic street-food category, the staff recommends seven dishes:
BBQ Squid by Lao Er BBQ Squid
International Summer Night Market would not be the same without a barbecued squid stand. It is a classic street-food dish that can be found in many Asian cultures. At Lao Er BBQ Squid, patrons can order tentacles, rings, or whole squids that are marinated in the house spicy sauce.
Beef Tantuni by Tantuni Authentic Turkish Cuisine
Local foodies can experience one of Turkey’s top ten street foods without travelling aboard. At Tantuni Authentic Turkish Cuisine, patrons can order a classic tantuni with stir-fried beef, pepper, and tomato wrapped in a thin tortilla and topped with aromatic dry spices.
Deep Fried Stinky Tofu by Taiwan Traditional Snacks (Lu Gang Lao Jie)
Made famous by its distinct smell, stinky tofu is an acquired taste for many. To achieve the unique aroma and creamy texture, pieces of tofu are soaked in a brine of fermented milk, vegetables, and meat for a few months. The tofu will slowly develop a texture that is comparable to blue cheese. This one-of-a-kind street food can be found in Taiwan Traditional Snacks’ menu. It is deep-fried and served with chili sauce and pickles.
Hurricane Zucchini Fries and Yam Fries by J&J The Original Potato Fries
As one of the first food stalls that introduced hurricane fries to Metro Vancouver, J&J The Original Potato Fries has expanded its menu. Patrons can now choose a wide selection of spices and sauces to go with their order of crispy potato, zucchini, or yam fries.
Lamb Skewer by Xinjing A Fan Ti Halal BBQ
The enticing barbecue smell coming from Xinjing A fan Ti Hala BBQ can make your mouth water instantly. Marinated in a special mixture of cumin, Sichuan pepper and various spices, the lamb skewers are juicy, tender and flavourful. For patrons who are looking for an alternative to lamb, barbecue chicken skewers and chicken wings are also available.
Imitation Shark Fin Soup by Top Wok
Originated from the streets of Hong Kong, the imitation shark fin soup was once made for the poor. Today, it is not only one of the most popular street foods in Hong Kong but it is also an ocean-friendly alternative to the real shark fin soup. At Top Wok, vermicelli is used to mimic the texture of shark fins and cooked with a generous portion of wood ear mushroom, pork, egg, and dried shrimp to create the thick texture of the heartwarming soup.
Taiwanese Pork Sausages by Taiwan Traditional Snacks (Lu Gang Lao Jie)
The owner of Taiwan Traditional Snacks makes the classic Taiwanese salty sweet pork sausages from scratch. The meaty sausage is grilled to perfection and served with slices of pungent garlic.
International Summer Night Market is located behind Home Depot in Richmond. It offers free admissions and free shuttle service from Bridgeport Skytrain station. There are plenty of street parking near the market as well as a paid parking lot that is opened during the market’s business hours.
The market is open every Friday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm and Sunday 6:00pm to 10:00pm.
Images via William Luk at Mayowill Photography