Richmond is located in the Metro Vancouver region of the lower mainland and is a diverse community of over 200,000, with nearly 75% of that population claiming Asian heritage. A popular attraction from May to October every year is the Richmond Night Market, held on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holiday Monday evenings from 7pm to 12am (only until 11pm on Sundays and on holiday Mondays).
Located just a few minutes’ walk away from Bridgeport Station, the Night Market offers visitors the chance to try new takes on traditional recipes at some of the 120 food stalls, browse the 200 retail stalls, and enjoy the live performances held on the stage every night.
Spend the day exploring Richmond’s craft beer scene
Before the Night Market opens, an ideal way to spend the day is by visiting Richmond’s three craft breweries. Monkey 9 Brewing, Britannia Brewing Company, and Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks are all located on the New West, Delta, Surrey, and Richmond Ale Trail on the way into Richmond from the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen.
First up, Britannia Brewing Company lets visitors enjoy some craft brews with a side of history. Celebrating the heritage of Steveston Village’s fishing and ship-building past, Britannia offers two chances to sample their craft beer. Visitors can go to the production brewery on the way into the village for tasters and growler fills or to the restaurant in Steveston, aptly called Britannia Steveston, for flights and food.
Up next is Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, just a few blocks away from Britannia’s production facility. With an arcade-y vibe and a promise to “keep beer weird,” Fuggles & Warlock’s offerings are usually uniquely unheard of. They also have a small dog-friendly patio for basking in the sunshine with a flight.
Then head over to Monkey 9 Brewing on the other side of the highway for another sampling of local beer and maybe a lucky strike or two. Fun for adults and kids alike, Monkey 9’s location right next door to Lucky 9 Lanes makes it a great place to spend a couple of hours.
Show up hungry for the main event
After enjoying these three craft beer stops, head to the Night Market to cap the day off with a wide range of savoury and sweet street snacks. Opened in 2000 with just 13 stalls, the Richmond Night Market has grown over the years to its current size and location, with 320 stalls spanning across 18 acres. It is the largest Night Market in North America, attracting over 1 million visitors every year.
Many of the food stalls are family-run operations started by Vancouver-area chefs. They serve unique takes on traditional family recipes or a modern fusion of different types of cuisine. Richmond’s diverse population contributes to an exciting mix of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Filipino, and other Asian-inspired dishes, as well as Transylvanian, German, Brazilian, and Mexican cuisine (to name a few). Make sure to show up hungry!
The Richmond Night Market
The sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming at first glance, especially on a busier fair-weathered evening when crowds can reach up to 15,000 per night. With a balanced mix of locals to tourists, the Night Market brings together many cultures and cuisines from around the world. Every month, visitors can vote for their favourite food stalls via the QR codes displayed at each one. A “Top 10 Favourites” list gets tallied to help navigate the vast amount of options.
The Night Market is a family-friendly dry market. However, colourful virgin cocktails and various other non-alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed in the outdoor space. Many stalls are cash only, although some have begun accepting online payments through services like WePay. ATMs can be accessed at the entrance to the Night Market.
The Market is easily accessible via public transit. Visitors can also drive and park for free at the large lot. Entry costs $4.75 per person, although children under 10 and seniors over 60 get in for free. Visitors can also purchase a $28 Zoom Entry Pass that lets them skip the ticket booth lineups. The pass is transferable to someone else for up to six visits. (The Zoom Pass is highly recommended for groups as the lineup for tickets can reach wait times of an hour or more.)
Held rain or shine, the Night Market is a fun place to spend an evening out, trying some of the wonderful collection of food, shopping, or enjoying the fair-like atmosphere. Previous years’ themes (like the Magical Dino Park that had 18 animatronic life-sized dinosaurs) can still be seen in places throughout the park too.
So much choice, not enough stomach space
During my visit, I tried a sampling of savoury and sweet snacks, starting with Chef James’ famed skewers. Chef James, who works at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel during the day, began this family-operated stall 13 years ago. Serving chicken, beef, lamb, or prawn skewers, as well as corn on the cob and a few other things, Chef James’ stall is a Night Market staple.
Mamak La is another family-run stall that serves handmade Malaysian-style roti. Nearby at Zzim, Korean chef Aaron Lee, who is a sous-chef at West Restaurant by day, has adapted his grandmother’s recipe for braised chicken drumsticks. One of his favourite things about working at the Night Market is being able to share his culture and passion with customers through the food he serves.
A little bit further down the line of food stalls is Nori Express, a Japanese-Mexican fusion serving nori tacos. Traditional sushi ingredients fill the lightly battered and fried seaweed (nori) taco, combining the flavours of Japan with the popular handheld Mexican street snack.
One of the Night Market’s more special choices comes in the form of Taiwanese stinky tofu. This fermented tofu gives off a distinct smell that can be sniffed long before reaching the front of the stall. It’s a must-try for tofu lovers and adventurous foodies.
After enjoying the savoury, I was off to indulge my sweet tooth with a couple of dessert dishes. First up, Tuk Tuk’s Thai pannacotta and delicate dok jok cookies. Sampling both the coconut and green tea options, the juxtaposition of soft, creamy pudding and crunchy cookie was perfect. The last item to try was Asomi’s strawberry mochi. This bite-sized treat is a fresh strawberry covered in rice paste on the outside, with a number of flavours to choose from for the middle layer.
Drinks, eats, and authentic street market-style fun in Richmond
With three craft breweries to visit and an amazing Night Market to eat your way through, Richmond’s a fun day-destination for quality craft beer and an extra-special assortment of snacks.
If you’re heading over for longer than the day, plan to check out the neighbouring communities of New Westminster, Delta, and Surrey to complete the New West, Delta, Surrey, & Richmond Ale Trail! (And don’t forget to check in via the BC Ale Trail’s recently released app to collect points and redeem special rewards along the way.)