The Richmond Night Market is North America’s largest night market. With 70% of Richmond inhabitants identifying as Asian and only a 25 minute ride from Vancouver…it’s like San Francisco’s Chinatown moved north of the border to expand and become its own city. Business names and markets are all in both Chinese characters and English. The shopping centres and strip malls have shops reflecting the shopping desires and habits of the city’s population.
This has created a heaven for foodies to explore authentic Asian foods. From Richmond’s Dumpling Trail to the Public Market and incredible Night Market – I highly suggest staying a night in Richmond or taking the 30 minute skytrain from Vancouver to explore this city’s embarrassment of riches.
Tips & Tricks
The Richmond Night Market has returned since a two year hiatus and conveniently located at the base of the Bridgeport Station and River Rock Casino & Hotel. If you can stay nearby for an easy walk to and from the Richmond Night Market, otherwise you could expect crowded parking and even more lines.
If it isn’t a great idea for you to stay in Richmond or this trip is an afterthought to your visit to Vancouver then you can take the convenient skytrain which exits within a 1 minute walk to the market.
Maximize your time
The Richmond Night Market begins at 7 pm and goes until midnight on weekends only from May to October. You don’t need to arrive as soon as it opens but do expect a line. To skip it you can purchase the $35 fast pass that gets you 6 entries. You can either use the pass to get you and 5 others in immediately OR you can use it over the course of the season to go up to 6 times. No matter your choice I think it is a great idea to splurge and get the fast pass.
Arrive hungry! The main feature of the night market is food. Taking after the night markets of Asia, you come and stay for the food. There are so many unique eats to try so do a round before making a game plan. I’d suggest planning a progressive meal from light bites to main eats and finally desserts. Although I do have to admit, Taryn and I dove into the desserts, hard.
Divide and conquer
My sister and I, two foodies looking to try as many new foods as possible in our first visit, decided to separate so that each of us could be ordering and waiting thus coming together with two foodie items rather than one in the same amount of time we’d be waiting for one.
One aspect I really appreciated about the Richmond Night Market was the organization of each vendor. One side of the booth is dedicated to ordering your food. The other for pick up. Once you order and pay some vendors tell you an approximate time your food will be ready (25 minutes for example) while some give you a number and others even provided buzzers to notify you when your food is ready for pick up.
Keep an open mind
There are so many new foods to try at the Richmond Night Market. From grilled or deep fried squid to mochi and Korean BBQ, there’s no doubt something for everyone to try while there. Keep an open mind and be willing to try something new.
Cash is king
Bring cash! Many vendors do not accept any form of credit or debit. And why would they? The fees eat into their bottom line so bring enough cash and tip a little too if you can. How much cash?
We were prepared for prices to be high but the again we live in the Okanagan which is a notorious city for being expensive (hello $25 eggs benny).
So we had brought $200 to cover us both for all food, games, shopping and anything else we might come across. We came home with about $50.
Is it worth it?
Full disclosure, Taryn and I booked it to Richmond purely to explore the food scene in 24 hours.
We stayed at a dump to maximize our funds to explore the Richmond Dumpling Trail, Richmond Night Market and the Public Market. It was an eating trip and for a couple of gals who are new to Asian eats and the wide array of delights Richmond offers it was such a great time. I would definitely return to dedicate more time to explore Richmond and its food scene.