Recently many people have been asking about the Richmond Night Market (by the casino), so I thought I would put together a list of tips.
1. When planning what to wear to the Night Market, keep in mind that a) while there are a few tables, you will likely have to eat while standing up without a table, and b) there are a LOT of people walking around with food in a VERY crowded space. I have stained a few shirts by dribbling sauce on myself or getting splattered on by other people. So, darker clothing is better.
I also always bring a hoodie or a sweater. By the time you’re done eating dinner, wander around the non-food booths (to digest dinner), then go back for dessert, it’s dark and starts to get cold.
2. Bring water. While there are places to buy drinks at the Night Market, most of them sell bubble tea or other sweet drinks. I didn’t notice water for sale (but I probably just missed it). Every summer we replace our “in case of earthquake water supply”, and use the old water throughout the Night Market season. (If you don’t have an “in case of earthquake water supply” stop reading this and go out and buy some now. I lived through an earthquake, and our emergency water was all we had to drink for 3-4 days. Seriously, go buy emergency water now!)
3. Bring enough cash. All of the food and many of the non-food booths are cash only, and the ATM at the Night Market charges an insanely high fee.
4. Bring eating utensils. Ever wonder what to do with the extra disposable chop sticks that you get from take-out sushi? Bring them to the Night Market! Many places don’t give you proper utensils. They give you a bamboo skewer (two if you’re lucky, but it’s still impossible to use them like chop sticks).
Try eating squid, a dumpling or a pretzel ball with one bamboo skewer – it’s do-able, but it’s not pretty and often leads to the stains that I mentioned above.
5. Be prepared for crowds. Tonight (opening night) the line snaked all of the way around the Night Market parking lot and reached the casino parking lot. It was the longest I’ve ever seen it. The crowds are heaviest in the food area where you can be packed in like sardines. I do not recommend trying to push strollers or take dogs through the crowded food areas. Neither does well in the crowd. If you need to bring a stroller, (please, for the love of everyone’s ankles) park it in one of the eating areas and take turns going to get food. Alternatively, I would recommend going to the Night Market by Home Depot/IKEA instead. Their aisles are a lot wider, and there are fewer people.
6. If you plan to go multiple times throughout the season and/or if you have a large group (5 or more people), buy a Zoom Pass. Admission is regularly $2.25 for adults. The zoom passes are $10 for 7 entrances or $20 for 15 entrances. You can use the pass for multiple people at the same time or for multiple visits, and there is a separate Zoom Pass entrance to the right of the ticket booths where there is never a line. The best part is that you generally don’t even have to wait in line to buy a Zoom Pass. There are usually Night Market personnel walking around the ticket booth area (they wear Night Market shirts) who sell the Zoom Passes and direct you to the Zoom Pass entrance.
7. Parking at this Night Market is free, but getting into the parking lot can take a while. We often take the skytrain to Bridgeport and walk in (~5 minutes).
8. Go with an empty stomach and enjoy filling it up!