Arts & Culture Food

The Richmond Night Market is a perfect spot for anyone who wants to enjoy Asian street food in a fun carnival-like atmosphere

The annual night market makes a triumphant return after being absent for the last two years due to COVID-19; the enriched culture and traditions should make this one of your destination hotspots if you're in BC this summer.

As soon as you arrive near the night market, the first thing that catches your eye are the sights, the bright colors of kiosks and lights across the market are captivating, creating a sense of mystery as people wait to see what’s over the fence. What hits you next is the smell, the rich aroma of exotic cuisine and dishes fan out in the air, teasing enthusiasts of the treats and goodies inside, making waiting in the line hard. though the scents and sights are just  building up the anticipation as once you get in, the real magic begins.

One of the largest outdoor markets in North America — the Richmond Night Market — has developed a wide range of fans from Vancouverites, tourists, and more. 

The night market, which has been running for 22 years, is making its long anticipated return after being cut short last year due to Covid restrictions and rising case counts. 

Founded in 2000 by Raymond Cheung, the Richmond Night Market has sprouted into what is known as a summer staple for people in BC and has even reached popularity outside of Canada, making multiple headlines in the New York Times. 

Before you can get into the market, you must wait in line, which can get quite tedious. 

“The line to get into the night market is relatively long,” says École Alpha Secondary student Hillary Lu. “Unless you have the fast pass which I really recommend because it’s 35 dollars and you can take up to six people with it.”  

Another way to get the most out of your visit would be to take a look at the Richmond Night Market’s official website where they offer their online coupon book. It’s a great way to save your money and extend your budget for the night.  

The night market mainly consists of three parts; the live entertainment, the retailers, and most importantly, the rich amount of food. The night market has a lot of authentic asian dishes like BBQ squid, dumplings, rotato stick potatoes, and Japanese poutine. 

Lu isn’t as impressed as some are with the food though. “The food there is kinda mediocre. People say the food is expensive but I think it’s worth what you get as long as you get something that isn’t… at a fast food place.”

The market hosts a variety of diverse lineups of performances on a nightly basis. These performances can range from exhibiting entertainers, dance groups, martial art showcases, and more. 

“The Night Market just felt lively, whenever I was there I never felt bored as there was always something to do,” says 15-year-old Justin Chiem. “The entertainers and performers were a great conclusion to an awesome night.”

Once you’re done enjoying the culture enriched food and watching amazing entertainers, the last thing to do is grab some memorabilia and items to commemorate the night. To get the most out of your visit, leave yourself enough time to look around the wide variety of store kiosks; it offers many, unique arts and crafts, pet accessories, as well as clothes and souvenirs. 

“The shops there are nice, they sell very unique items you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else,” says Lu. “There are cool things to buy but it’s overpriced considering you could buy a lot of the stuff for a cheaper price off AliExpress.”

However teens may find that the night market may pose challenges to those only working part-time jobs, if you are going be prepared with cash. 

Patrick Regional Secondary School Student Mya Castillo Perez stated that “The night market is overpriced… they do not accept cards which is very inconvenient since the night market is very busy and you need to be quick when paying for things, counting your cash and holding the line wastes everyone’s time.” 

The return of the night market has shown us that through the struggles and conflict of the pandemic when we are able to persevere as a community, beautiful things can happen.

Raymond Cheung’s says, “We [are] almost [at the] end of the pandemic, almost like a rainbow is going to come out after the storm.” 

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