Go to the Richmond Night Market hungry…or else! Consider yourself warned.
Honestly, my friend and I were warned the same thing. Did we listen? Not enough. Our bright idea was to go to happy hour RIGHT before hitting up the night market. But that’s another story.
First time tips
You may be confused how to get to the location. Just follow the signs if you’re there early, and follow the cars if you get there after the opening time. It’s best to come as early as possible, by the way.
Bring cash, because EVERYTHING is cash-only. We thought we had enough, but we were wrong for two reasons:
- Payment to enter: I recommend splurging on the $20 speedy entry pass (you only need 1 for a whole car group). It saves so much time! As of August 2016, anyway, this is the routine. Before we went I was told, “you only pay for parking,” but that didn’t seem to be the case. At least I would not describe the process that way. In my experience, all we paid for was the entrance fee after we had parked.
- While circulating the food stands, we came to one inescapable conclusion: we had to eat as much as possible.
What to eat
If you’ve been to Asia, you’ll find things at the Richmond Night Market that you haven’t seen since your trip. This includes the following:
- Takoyaki–Quality, traditionally-made, and actually tastes good!
- Dragon’s beard candy–Korean, freshly made and fun to watch.
- Tofu pudding–YUMMAY with tons of options, just like in Hong Kong.
Of course, if you have yet to go to Japan, Korea, or Hong Kong, here’s your chance to literally taste the goodies! (Note: I didn’t see any egg tarts, sadly…)
I started off with coconut milk mango tofu pudding, of course. And yes, the title of the dessert was long, like that. The bowl was HUGE and nearly did me in. I felt full already.
But I wasn’t done yet.
The rotato, a thinly spiraled potato “rotated” around a skewer, was found to be overrated—or at least the nori shio (seaweed salt) flavor was.The nori shio seasoning was sweeter than I wanted it to be. Try the curry or another spicy flavor if you’re willing to brave the line. The ordering line wasn’t too long, but don’t be fooled! The pickup line will put your patience to the test.
In fact, the pickup line wasn’t much of a line at all. More like a smashing of a crowd against the side of the booth. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I wedged myself in between a few people and resigned myself to at least an hour’s wait. I couldn’t even hear the order numbers being called out, but number updates would trickle to the back of the mob now and then. I waited at least a half hour as the stand went through about 50 numbers.
I would say the rotato is not worth the wait if you go to the night market a lot, or even if you go too late. Later at night, the line suddenly gets even worse (as it did for the people who came after me in line). However, the rotato IS one of those iconic night market items that you may or may not decide is a must-try.
Tip: The ticket numbers are called out by the last two digits, because they go back down to 100 from 200, and work up from there. Also, the rotato is NOT gluten-free!
- Get your colored contacts here!
- Dance to random Kpop. I’m pretty sure I also heard some Taiwanese pop going on.
- Go to the right night market. There are two different ones, so we’ve been told. We went to the one with more food. (Duh.)