I’m in Vancouver, British Columbia right now, starting university in lovely Canada. However, classes have not started yet because international orientation is in full swing. But, more on that later.
An integral part of orientation, Jumpstart, is the array of events and activities it showcases and provides for the incoming, international freshmen class to better acclimate them (us) into the city and Canadian life. One of the most popular excursions is the Richmond Night Market.
Located in Richmond, British Columbia, a little ways from campus and the city, it is the largest night market of its kind in North America. Starting in May and ending in October for a small fee (5 CAD/free for human beings below 10 or over 60), one has the opportunity to experience a selection of flavourful foreign foods, classic carnival games, and purchase cheap electronics and accessories in this parking lot turned rubber duck wonderland.
I toured around the food stalls with new Korean and Thai friends surrounded by other Jumpstarters and native Vancouverites. We came an hour early (because I guess no one at Jumpstart looked up the schedule) and were able to jump the line as result of our UBC orientation status.
The night market sells summer passes (20 CAD) that allow fast access multiple times to the fair for frequent visitors. If you are in Vancouver for a time, I would invest in one if you think you’ll be a returning customer.
The queue can be expansive at the market’s opening (take note, at 7 o’clock), and who wants to wait in line and just smell all the deliciousness? Arrive 15-20 minutes early for a good spot in line.
Some of my favourites were the ddeokbokki, tissue roti, and Tokyo ramen with all the fixings. Yum! The haemulpajeon was a bit oily, and the meat on the stick took forever to cook! But, both were tasty enough to be noteworthy and try for yourself. However, I did not get to try the assortment of fried squid or the potato on a stick (rotato) dish that seems to be a phenomenon of which I was not aware. I do not know why, but for some reason, the potato stall was the most crowded.
Most of the food is made to order, so it is not rapid fast street cuisine, but that does not mean it is any less delicious or edible.
Upon entrance to the market aside from being bombarded by rubber duck imagery, one will also receive a coupon book for eateries, cosmetics, and wearable merchandise to purchase during the market season. Enjoy some cheaper prices on already economic priced trinkets like computer cases, Korean socks, and even the occasional e-cigarrete in the commercial district of the marketplace.
The night market lasts from 7 PM to 11 PM Sundays and holidays but extends until 1 AM Fridays and Saturdays. Go, enjoy the food, take a picture sitting on the throne of rotato (trust me you’ll see it), and try the ring toss. Why not.
Overall, Jumpstart picked a great sight to see for us international students – an exhibition of the city’s diverse food scene and an candid assessment of the area’s demographic with all of which being open air, enjoyable, and communal.
Very Vancouver. It was one of my first times out of campus since Jumpstart and was much needed. The campus is a bit farther from the city than I previously thought (it is still a great location), but I do love my residence. Nevertheless, a breath of fresh air and a little non-Totem Park dining hall food was a sensible and exciting combination.
More to come about Vancouver, classes, and Canadian life! Stay tuned. And for more information on the market, follow this link. Enjoy!