With more than 800 restaurants on its menu, Richmond is full of options for hungry diners. But if you’re keen to plan a unique foodie adventure, the city’s budget-friendly food court scene offers an open invitation to ever-curious palates.
Far from the branded chains dominating most Lower Mainland food courts, Richmond’s are lined with independent counters serving a huge array of Asian street food-style dishes. And among the most authentic is the fancy-free upstairs food court at the Richmond Public Market.
Under its gabled ceiling, colourful counters frame a chatty seating area filled with small tables. Take a stroll around first, noting which stands are popular and which dishes other diners are tucking into. If you’re not sure what to try, there are several highly competitive vendors serving great-value, pile-it-high Chinese combos. Also, be sure to bring cash, since some stands don’t take cards.
One of a new generation of food court vendors when it opened a couple of years back, Potelicious has quickly gained a following among in-the-know diners. There’s a good selection of generously portioned Taiwanese hot pot dishes (including several vegetarian choices), but their noodle and rice bowls are also extremely popular––along with tempting sides such as fish ball soup and wontons in chili oil. Potelicious should also be commended for using compostable bowls, forgoing the plastic trays deployed in many Metro Vancouver food courts.
Don’t miss: the bestselling Railway Pork Chop Rice Bowl is topped with a large sliced pork slab plus vegetables, marinated egg, and a delicious little spicy sausage.
Railway Pork Chop with Rice at Potelicious. | Photo: John Lee
Looking like just another home-style counter with rows of faded food photos, Xi’an Cuisine is actually one of the market’s most celebrated stands. Savvy regulars keep coming back for its thick, freshly hand-pulled noodles (available fried or in soup). Make sure you stick around after you order to watch your noodles being expertly stretched before your eyes. But that’s not all: there’s also a tempting array of comfort food sides to consider, ranging from Chinese pork burgers to green onion pancakes to delicious golden-fried pot stickers that are a favourite among regular diners.
Don’t miss: the fried pork and chili noodle bowl is a hot and spicy delight that’s topped with heaps of juicy pork; and the pot stickers (guo tie) are actually highlighted on Richmond’s taste-tripping Dumpling Trail.
Try the guo tie dumplings at Xi’an Cuisine. | Photo: Tourism Richmond
CHEF LIU KITCHEN
Build-your-own combo bowls are popular at this busy Taiwanese stand, where line-ups are common at peaks times but usually move fast. Your protein selection (including chicken, beef, and tofu) is served in a red bowl with rice plus a choice of three sides from the counter cabinet: veggie dishes and marinated eggs included. You’ll also receive a steaming cup of tea. The heaping Chef Liu Kitchen combos are well-priced but there’s also an enticing selection of smaller dishes perfect for sharing. These include chicken nuggets, deep-fried pigs intestines, and bowls of soup bobbling with bulging meatballs.
Don’t miss: the Taiwanese chicken nuggets are a winner. You can have them as a rice bowl main or a delicious side on their own—with or without chili topping.
A snack order of chicken nuggets from Chef Liu Kitchen. | Photo: John Lee
HEI HEI RICE ROLL
One of the food court’s newer vendors, plan to dine off-peak at the orange-hued Hei Hei Rice Roll stand or you’ll be waiting for your fresh-made order for more than 20 minutes. It’s worth it, though, to sample their glisteningly silky steamed rice rolls, available with fillings such as shrimp, pork liver or beef brisket––plus topping options including sweetcorn and salted egg yolk. If you’re really hungry, go for the fortifying combo option, complete with a choice of rice roll and congee bowl (minced beef and egg congee recommended).
Don’t miss: the delicious beef and pork rice roll is a great first-time dish to try here––perfect for a light lunch or a side to share.
PEANUTS BUBBLE TEA
Line-ups are also common at what may be the market’s busiest stand. Peanuts has been serving fresh-prepared milk teas and bubble teas for years. But it’s the tin-foil display trays of little wheel cakes (mostly priced at $1 each) that lure legions of treat-loving regulars. These warm, waffle-batter pucks of cream-filled deliciousness come with gooey centres ranging from coconut to chocolate and from taro to red bean. Since it’s rare for every variety to be available at the same time, just order a selection of whatever is in the cabinet and then dive right in.
Don’t miss: the white chocolate macha wheel cake is a must-try––a surprising fusion of sweet and slightly bitter flavours.
PINE HOUSE BREAD AND CAKE SHOP
If Peanuts is closed but you still have a hankering for dessert, leave the food court and head downstairs to the main market area. Nestled between the fresh fruit and vegetables stands, you’ll find the always-busy Pine House bakery vendor where locals drop by for their regular orders of cakes and bread. It’s also lined with cases and trays of highly tempting, individually-wrapped treats here. We bought a custard-filled bun and a coconut cream bun, then found a sunny table just outside the market under the trees (at Lang Neighbourhood Park).
Don’t miss: the treats are plentiful and most items are just a dollar or two. The soft custard buns are a great way to end your food court meal with a sweet flourish.
Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Tourism Richmond