Sherman's Food Adventures: Richmond Night Market 2019

Richmond Night Market 2019

What?  A post about the Richmond Night Market in early-October???  Isn't it going to end in a week or so?  Yes, you are right, I am really late to the game this year!  Reason-being is that I was gone most of the Summer and didn't have a chance to visit in the Spring.  So better late than never right?  I only visited the market twice and didn't do my usual stuff-my-face-until-I-puked while tagging along with Mijune.  Rather, it was much less aggressive and I only tried enough items to get a taste.  I totally ignored the rainbow grilled cheese because I wanted to eat food that was interesting to me and not just for an IG shot.

So without any more delay, let's get to the eats!  No visit to the Richmond Night Market is truly complete without an order of Deep Fried Squid Tentacles (or grilled squid, if that is your preference).  The moment I got in, I made a bee-line to Squid Feast to avoid the long line-up later on.  Getting the large-sized version, this was truly enough to share.  Crunchy with an appealing chew, these tentacles were further spiced by the spicy garlic sauce on top.  Even without it, the batter was plenty seasoned already.  Another must eat at the RNM is Chef James' BBQ Skewers at Xin Jiang Man.  We got the combo that included lamb, beef, shrimp and lamb kidney.  Beautifully charred on the outside with a mixture of spices including the unmistakable taste of cumin, these were also cooked just right.  My favourite was the lamb due to the fattiness and texture (as well as the gaminess).

Fast becoming another staple of the RNM, we got a half-order of the Roasted Pork Hock (from Original Oktoberfest-Style) since we didn't want to fill up on a whole one.  However, if you are sharing with a few people, there aren't many things that are as good of a deal as the whole pork hock.  Good value is one thing, but the pork hock is also fantastic.  Just like last time, ours was tender and fatty with crunchy cracklings.  Add in the side of mustard (which is my personal favourite condiment), it was hard to stop eating it.  One of the newest items at the RNM is the Crab Roe Rice at the Crab Hut.  For essentially a scoop of rice, it set us back $15.00.  It was definitely quality over quantity here as the essence of the crab roe did come through with a briny sweetness.  Every scoop of rice was delicious but at the same time, whether it was worth it or not was purely subjective.  Bluebeard and Viv thought it was not, but I can see how some people would like it.

For the past few years, one of the more popular items has been the Stuffed Crab Claws at Mr. Crabzy.  At $17.75 for 3, it ain't cheap, but remember, we aren't eating some piece of flatbread or something.  Quality of the ingredient is one thing, but the way they do here is also very good.  Generally, the traditional way of making these is by molding processed shrimp pasted at the end of a crab claw and deep-frying it.  That they did here, but the shrimp paste was not merely a mousse.  There was the delicate rebound texture of bits of shrimp to go with the light airiness of the paste.  The natural sweetness really came through.  If you've ever visited a Brazilian Rodizio, you might recognize the Pão de Queijo (or cheese bread balls).  I can't profess to say I've eaten many of these, however, these ones were really good being light, slightly glutinous and plenty cheesy.  These can be found at the Whatafood stall.

Something a bit different are the Vietnamese-inspired Tacos from Taco Tigre featuring chicken banh mi, 5 spice pork belly and beef pho.  This was $10.00 for 3 and yes, the picture is missing one as it was eaten.  LOL...  Anyways, I got to try the Beef Pho and yes, it really did taste like the components of Pho except for the moisture of the soup.  There was a drizzle of hoisin on top which was good, but I would've preferred some sriracha.  I wasn't the one who bought this, so I ate what was presented on the table.  Another RNM favourite is the Daifuku at Asomi Mochi.  These have gone up in price, much like many of the other food items here.  They are now 2 for $9.00 or $5.00 each (up from $7.00 for 2 last year).  I find the mochi quality on these to be excellent with a pillowy-soft texture while still having a glutinous-chewiness.  The matcha is my personal-favourite.

So with 2 admissions left on our Zoompass, Viv and I returned several weeks later to get a few more items from this year's market.  We went for the $19.00 full-sized Lobster Roll from Salty's Lobster Shack.  Although this was not served in a buttered split roll, it ate well nonetheless.  It was packed with bits of lobster mixed with mayo and some celery and dill.  There was probably a bit too much dressing, yet at the same time, we were not left wanting in terms of lobster.  I wished for more larger chunks of lobster in the mix, but for the price, it was fine.  While I was getting that, Viv was across the way at Zzim getting some Korean Chicken Drumsticks.  She got the large order for $11.00 and paid an extra $1.00 to get half-and-half.  The result was 2 drumsticks in hot spicy pepper and 2 in sweet garlic soy.  In terms of filling up your tummy, this has to be one of the better deals at the RNM.  The drumsticks were juicy as promised where we found the spicy pepper to be more flavourful.  Loved the addition of chewy rice cakes.

For several years, the Mac & Cheese Roti at Mamak La has been one of the most popular items at the RNM.  I've had it once before, but haven't eaten it lately and Viv has never tried it at all.  I wouldn't classify this as amazing, although it is really something different and completely fusion.  The roti itself was flaky and fairly chewy (in a good way) with some elasticity.  Due to the preparation, it would never be "fluffy" as it is compressed and grilled.  Inside, we found nacho 3 cheese which had a resemblance to Kraft Dinner. That wasn't a bad thing since the noodles were chewy and plenty salty from the cheese as well as the extra cheese slice.  Drizzled on top was curry mayo sauce.  Another popular RNM food item is the Fish Stick from aptly named Fish Sticks.  This was actually sliced fish cake, tempura-battered and drizzled with your choice of sauce.  Small was $8.00 and a large was $12.00.  This was actually really good where the batter was light and crispy.  I got a mix of garlic lemon pepper and spicy mayo.  Both were good and this was surprisingly delicious.

Our favourite item of the night was dessert in the Dok Jok with Coconut Panna Cotta at Tuk Tuk.  Essentially a creamier and richer version of the popular Chinese coconut pudding, the panna cotta was super flavourful with the aromatics of coconut milk and with just enough sweetness.  On top, the 2 Dok Jok cookies were lightly crispy and delicate.  They were drizzled with just enough sweetness.  Loved these!  This is a must try in my opinion.  This was a respectable $8.00.  We ended the night with the usual (like for the past 3 years for us in the Summer Special at Icy Bar.  This was $7.50 and still worth it despite the increases in price over the years.  It sported coconut milk, chia seeds, strawberry, mango and jelly with condensed milk.  Sure, it was sweet, but just enough IMO.  Plenty refreshing and a great way to end a visit to the Richmond Night Market.

The Good:
- Dok Jok with Panna Cotta
- Fried Squid Tentacles
- Roasted Pork Hock
- Fish Stick
- Chef James' BBQ Skewers
- Crab Claws

The Bad:
- Prices are creeping up to the point where you can get a tasting menu somewhere
- Really busy at peak times, go early at opening
- Without a Zoom Pass, you will not get in quickly


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