One of British Columbia’s favourite summertime activities is back on the menu this weekend with the 2018 opening of the ever-popular Richmond Night Market.

Launching at 7pm on May 11 and running every Friday, Saturday & Sunday (plus stat holiday Mondays) until October 8, the alfresco dining and shopping extravaganza – reportedly North America’s largest night market – lures thousands of hungry visitors every weekend.

Richmond Night MarketRichmond Night Market | Photo: Tourism Richmond

This year, the market’s belly-pleasing smorgasbord of more than 100 international food stands is serving an estimated 500 kaleidoscopically diverse dishes. Specialties will range from Chinese fish balls to Korean chicken wings and from Brazilian pastries to Japanese poutine. As ever, the line-ups will likely be longest at those stalls serving tornado potatoes – irresistible spiral fries threaded onto handheld sticks.

There’s also a strong focus on seafood at this year’s event with the market promising an array of affordable king crab, snow crab, Dungeness crab and lobster dishes. Room for dessert? You can also dive into everything from bubble waffles to chocolate-dipped fruit and from dragon’s beard candy to nitrogen ice-cream balls.

TaiyakiTaiyaki | Photo: John Lee

It’s not all about food, though. There will also be more than 200 browse-worthy vendor stands to catch your eye. Hawking everything from Japanese action figures to shiny cellphone cases and from electronic gadgets to cute accessories for pets, a slow weave around these enticing stalls is the perfect way to take a temporary break from eating.

But shopping isn’t the only non-culinary side dish here. Along with nightly live entertainment, the theme of this year’s market is Amazing Summer, which means family-friendly bouncy castles and a jungle-like lagoon with a huge inflatable octopus. There’s also an Amazing Race Inflatable Obstacle Course to tackle. And if you’re feeling lucky, there’s a chance to win a seven-day Hawaii vacation for two at this year’s event.

The only night market in Richmond this summer, the venue couldn’t be easier to reach. A short walk from the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station, regular admission is $4.25 (free for seniors and children 10 and under). As in previous years, those planning to visit more than once can also buy a six-entry transferable Zoom Pass for $25, enabling you to bypass admission queues via express entry. Need more? Arrive here on your birthday (ID required) in May or June and you’ll receive free entry and a T-shirt!