Fortunately, a kind soul on twitter took pity on me and told me that the original Richmond Night Market had relocated to River Casino and was open until Thanksgiving Monday, October 8. After doing some research of the available vendors, we set off on a sunny Friday evening.
The first thing we tried was the Abalone from Seafood Kingdom. Supposedly, their prices were cheaper near the beginning of summer, but we paid $9 for this and I though it was good value. The meat was tender, the portion was large enough for two. I think abalone tends to harden when you overcook it and it's a good thing this one wasn't. However, I couln't help but wonder if those getting their orders at 11 (ours was around 9) would find it tougher.
Another item they were showcasing was their Garlic Butter Lobster. This one was baked with a motoyaki (Japanese mayo) coating. It was meaty, juicy and tasty, but eating lobster while standing is a pretty daring feat. Trying to avoid getting lobster juice all over my clothes detracted fromt he overall enjoyment, just a bit. If you're not concerned, go nuts because it was pretty finger licking good.
I have always had an obsession with Quail eggs (Omakase at Kimura), and was delighted to see that they had Bacon Wrapped Quail Eggs on offer, at a place simply called, The Grill. The egg is cooked first, then wrapped in bacon and then fried to a crisp. The bacon was really crunchy, and the egg was nice and soft. It wasn't a runny yolk or anything, but it also didn't have that werid grey tinge of over-hard-boiled eggs. Another offering from the Grill was the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. This one was better combination of flavours, since the shrimp was still sweet against the saltiness of the bacon. The quail egg offered a texture contrast, but was too mild contribute any flavours.
We had also heard good things about Chef James, the person behind Xin Jiang Man BBQ. We couldn't resist taking a picture of the very friendly chef as he slaved over the hot grill preparing endless skewers of meat! And he did all this with a smile on his face!
Another favourite of mine are Rich Noodle Rolls, which we found at another stall called Po Wah. There are a childhood favourite of mine from Hong Kong. I used to walk to school in the mornings and if I woke up early enough, my mom would treat me to a small order of this en route to school. Cooked and served on brown paper right on the street, these noodles rolls really brings me back. Fortunately, the ones here do the memory justice. The rolls aren't overcooked to mush, and the mixture of cooked soy, cooked oil, peanut butter and hoisin are a perfect combination. I like take one at a time and try to unroll them inside my mouth. An Asian equivalent to tying a cherry stem with your tongue.
One "must-eat" at the night market is Curry Fish Balls, and we had 3 different kinds. These are the Spicy ones at Po Wah. I loved the chilli pepper seeds you see on this, it does pack a punch but not to the point that you want actually taste the curry flavour. The balls themselves are a great texture, with a slightly thick skin that you have to bite through, but once you do, the insides are a bit bouncy and gives you are great mouth feel.
In search of something spicier, we found them at Dim Sum Express, the same place as the imitation shark's fin soup. These were spicier for sure, with whole peppercorns adding to the heat. But it's true, be careful what you wish for, because these were just spicy with no other discernible flavour, no fish, no curry, nothing. In fact, this is the one dish we actually threw away.
The Rice Noodle Rolls were so good that we decided to bring some home with us. So back we went to Po Wah with our own container. And here is where two astounding things happened. First, he took one look at our container and said it's smaller than what he normally uses, so he would be giving us a discount on our order. Yes, a discount. Next, he asked if we had tried his Curry Fish Balls, and we told him that we tried the Spicy Ones. So then he decides to give us a Free Sample of the "non-spicy" ones. Sorry, what? A discount AND free food? Well, let me tell you, free tastes pretty good.
Before calling it a night, we decided to get some dessert, namely, the Dragon Beard Candy. This is named for the appearance of the coating, which is simply hand-spun sugar. Well, it's not simple to spin sugar into floss, but that's the only ingredient. Once the floss is the right consistency, he passes it over to his assistant who then fills it with a peanut paste and then rolls the floss around it.
Opened until Thanksgiving Monday, October 8.
Friday & Saturday; 7 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Sunday & Statutory Holiday 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.
You can either access via Translink and the Canada Line to the Bridgeport Station, but they also have over 1,000 parking spots! Check out their website for details.