A kale, spinach, and avocado smoothie in the morning, and deep-fried ice cream at night. I believe that’s what they call “balance,” isn’t it?
I am well aware of yesterday’s irony; I first attended a festival dedicated to health and wellness (Move for Health, a great event!),
then headed to the opening night of the Summer Night Market, a literal buffet of fried snacks.
I’m a person who believes I can have my spinach and eat cake too, so yesterday wasn’t a contradiction in terms – it was a joyous celebration of eclectic eating!
Let’s start at Minoru Park, where the City of Richmond’s Move for Health celebrations took place.
I arrived just as everything was getting started, and the field was crawling with visi-vested volunteers and local community groups setting up their booths and games.
There were endless games and exercises to participate in, a stage with live music, and the ParticipACTION funmobile! No Hal and Joanne, unfortunately, but it still looked fun.
and The Burger Bus serving organic beef and chicken burgers. That last one has a pretty rad setup, I must say. The top of their van opens up to reveal a BBQ and flattop grill, and I couldn’t resist getting one of their burgers ($6).
It was excellent – a juicy burger sandwiched in a great bun with fried onions, organic greens, and plenty of condiments (at the back of the bus!) to top it all off.
I got a tour from the market’s manager, Paul, who said there are 61 booths with 50 different food vendors this year.
Some are new, and some are old favourites, like the Hurricane Potatoes, which at any given time you’ll see at least ten people carrying around.
They’re seasoned, spiraled deep-fried potatoes on a stick, and they’re popular because THEY ARE SALTY AND AWESOME – a must-try. My new favourite night market treat also comes from the Hurricane Potato stand, but it’s easy to overlook if you’ve got spirals on the brain. The German potato pancakes, served with sour cream and apple sauce, are absolutely phenomenal.
I tried a sample and fell in love, and will certainly be buying a full one next time. The Hurricane stall on the southwest corner also has these fish-shaped waffles filled with red bean paste, Bavarian custard, or chocolate. They taste like a bubble waffles with an added sweet kick!
Other new discoveries included:
The tuna and prawn ‘tarts’ from BIG BIG BIG. They’re difficult to describe, but I’ll say they’re like cold crunchy sushi cups with all the right sauces.
The grilled chicken skewers (wicked peanut sauce), the steamed coconut rice in bamboo, and the Thai Iced Tea from Little Thai Kitchen.
The Thai iced tea is brewed with spices like cardamom, and finished off with a pour of condensed milk.
The ridiculously tasty spiced grilled lamb skewer from Xin Jiang a Fan Ti Halal BBQ meats.
The fresh tamarind juice from Jambaba Juice.
Cocoro also makes deep-fried ice cream, which is a seriously frozen scoop of vanilla ice cream battered with coconut and fried quickly. The outside is crunchy and warm, while the inside remains cold. I was actually surprised by just how tasty this was; I kind of expected it to be more of a deep-fry trophy than something I’d want again, but I definitely want to eat this again.
I forgot to get a picture of my fresh mango slushie, but I did manage to snap a pic of my ‘dessert’ – the Peanut Satay Cup a Corn.
This vendor offers steamed BC corn tossed with various sauces, and their simple concept is a great one. The peanut satay flavour was peanutty, a bit spicy, and coconutty, and despite being full, I couldn’t help but eat the whole cup.
I can therefore end this first night market adventure by saying that if you’d like to attend the Summer Night Market but want to keep it relatively healthy, you can. Get yourself a cup of corn, some fresh fruit juice, and something grilled rather than fried.
In addition to the endless foods they have to choose from, the Summer Night Market also has buskers, street performers, vendors selling all kinds of curios,
a kids’ play area, and a stage with live music that will feature an ongoing Summer Night Idol competition through the summer.
Currently, you can drive to the Summer Night Market or take transit, and starting in June there will be shuttles to and from the night market at Bridgeport Station. Admission is free, and the market runs from now until September 8th on Fridays (7pm-12am), Saturdays (7pm-12am), Sundays (7pm – 11pm), and Holidays (7pm – 11pm).
This morning, I’m sipping on another kale, spinach, and avocado smoothie, and looking forward to the treats and exercise I’ll get in Richmond today. Burg, bust, balance!
May 10th – September 8th
Friday/Saturdays: 7pm -12am
Sundays/Holidays: 7pm – 11pm
Bring cash (ATM on site)
Vegetarian options available