There are only a few more chances to catch the 2019 edition of the ever-popular Richmond Night Market, which closes its doors on October 14 this year. But although its 100+ outdoor food stands won't be back to tempt hungry treat fans until next May, there’s no need to tighten your belt just yet.
Richmond is full of places to satisfy your cravings for the kind of dishes the Night Market is famous for. Looking for spiral potatoes, shaved ice or dragon’s beard candy? Read on and plot your own market-themed culinary crawl via these six taste-tested suggestions.
Where to get it: Bubble Waffle (Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way)
A mainstay of the Night Market’s quirky food options, these spiral fried-potatoes-on-sticks always attract line-ups on balmy summer weekends. But if you’ve missed out on this carb-lovers favourite this season, it’s also a year-round menu item at the third-floor Aberdeen Centre food court.
A few steps from the escalator exit, Bubble Waffle serves its Twist Potato version of this enduring market treat. Order at the counter (it takes about 10 minutes to prepare) and be sure to choose your preferred powdery topping—sour cream and onion is the favourite here, but we like the orange-hued nacho cheddar as well. Still hungry? Check out some of the food court’s other tempting options here.
Enjoy a Twist Potato in the Aberdeen Centre food court. | John Lee
Fried chicken steaks
Where to get it: Big G Large Fried Chicken (Union Square Shopping Centre, #1231 - 8338 Capstan Way)
This orange-accented Taiwanese fast food spot has been serving its signature dish—deep-fried breaded chicken fillets hammered to the thickness of a CD case—at this year’s Richmond Night Market. But ravenously hungry locals and visitors also know that Big G Large Fried Chicken has a bricks-and-mortar location in Richmond’s city centre.
Tucked into the Union Square strip mall, their Jumbo Chicken Steaks—ours resembled a Sasquatch footprint spilling over the sides of the plate—are offered with seven sauce or powder toppings, including Cajun, seaweed, BBQ, and hot sauce. We chose ‘spicy powder’ and spent the next 10 minutes devouring a crispy-coated steak with a succulent chicken breast interior. It’s enough for two people, especially if you add sides such as chewy fried tofu or crispy yam fries.
A chicken steak from Big G Large Fried Chicken. | John Lee
Where to get it: Icy Bar (#115 - 4940 No. 3 Road)
For many, the Night Market is all about desserts and decadent sweet treats. But you don’t have to abandon your sugar cravings when the event shutters for the year. Instead, head straight to Icy Bar, a cozy, sweet tooth magnet just across the street from Lansdowne Centre. Expect a warm welcome (arriving off-peak to snag a table is a good idea) plus a tempting menu of shareable desserts, including puddings and crepe cakes.
But it’s the shaved ice that’s the specialty here. At the 2019 Night Market, Icy Bar’s stand has been serving cups and bowls in several varieties. And in their store, this includes everything from mango tapioca to red bean mochi. We plunged into a heaping bowl of mango and strawberry: a towering bowl of chopped fruit with a large scoop of ice cream and a refreshing foundation of shaved ice.
A mango and strawberry shaved ice bowl from Icy Bar. | John Lee
Where to get it: iTofu (#125 - 4940 No. 3 Road)
The dessert train continues a few doors away at this sparkling tofu pudding hot spot. Winner of the Best Tofu Pudding category in the Diners’ Choice Awards component of 2019’s Chinese Restaurant Awards, iTofu has also been operating a stand at this year’s Richmond Night Market. Serving their silky-smooth drinks, puddings, and parfaits to market visitors, their city centre storefront is often even busier.
Aficionados rave about their velvety hot and cold tofu desserts (the organic iTofucotta is especially recommended). And along with friendly service, their desserts come with multiple topping options, ranging from grass jelly and red bean to fresh mango and soft and slightly chewy taro balls. Add some ginger syrup for extra zing.
Richmond's iTofu won the Best Tofu Pudding category. | Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards
Dragon’s beard candy
Where to get it: Rainbow Cafe (Parker Place Mall)
Dragon’s beard candy is a must-try Chinese treat, combining the wispy texture of cotton candy with a sweet and chewy undercurrent. Popular with Night Market visitors keen to take something home to share, you can also pick-up this unique dish year-round at one of the city’s most authentic hawker-style food courts.
Parker Place is lined with mom-and-pop stands specializing in a multitude of Asian culinary traditions (check out our story on some of the stands here). But if you head to the Rainbow Cafe counter at one end of the food court, you’ll find an array of Hong Kong-style drinks and snacks, including small packages of dragon’s beard candy to-go. Flavours include ginger, original, and coconut in several package sizes.
Dragon’s beard candy is available in the Parker Place food court. | John Lee
Where to get it: Outpost Mini Donut Company (110-12240 Second Avenue, Steveston)
There are several ways to satisfy your mini doughnut cravings at this year’s Night Market, including the Lil’ Fellas Mini Donuts truck and the quirky doughnuts on sticks served by Angel Duck Cafe. But you don't have to wait until next year to pop a few sugary snacks into your mouth. Instead, beeline straight to Outpost Mini Donuts, just steps from Steveston’s bustling wharf area.
Alongside their popular hot chocolates, this little hidden gem serves their own irresistible, fresh-made mini doughnuts. Toppings at Outpost Mini Donut Company range from chocolate icing and cinnamon sugar to seasonal specials that could include flavours like Boston cream or salted caramel. Aiming to feed a group (or just feeling a little greedy)? Pick-up a 13-pack ‘bakers dozen’ box to-go.
Choose from some delectable flavours at Outpost Mini Donut Company. | John Lee