So the concept of the Night Bus (or Knight Bus) is fairly well known, and there is the lesser-known Night Bookmobile. A Night Market is pretty much how it sounds, a marketplace that opens up in the evening. Apparently the concept was imported from Asia, particularly Taiwan, and they are generally found in North American cities with large Asian populations. There are actually three competing Night Markets in Vancouver/Richmond, and one or two in Toronto. I assume there is one in New York, and one just opened up in Chicago (near Argyle) in 2013. They generally only run in the late spring to early fall, at least in Vancouver/Richmond.
They have certain elements of the street fair, mostly a lot of fried food that requires a fairly strong stomach. Some people have no problem with food from street vendors (I fall into this category but it definitely helps when one avoids meat) and others struggle with it. I've heard that in the past the quality of the merchandise was higher, but now it is mostly a lot of low-quality plastic stuff (who knew there were so many cell phone covers!), socks and stuffed toys of all descriptions.
I went last year and was a bit underwhelmed. I didn't really give much thought to it until I realized that the one in Richmond was running for two more weekends. I thought my kids would get a kick out of it, and we don't live that far away. Also it wasn't raining, so we went yesterday (it helps that it opens at 6 on Sundays rather than 7 pm). It was still pre-dusk when we arrived.
This year was Year of the Duck apparently (just joking). I don't know why the duck became so widespread in Chinatowns and Asian markets this year, but it was a cute touch. This market actually had two large ducks. You can also see the train to YVR. One thing this market has going for it is that it is walking distance from the Canada Line, which makes it particularly attractive relative to the other markets (for me).
The other duck.
It did not take long for dusk to arrive, maybe 30 minutes after we turned up. It the summer, it definitely takes longer for it to feel like a true Night Market, whereas this time it got dark quickly. Here are some of the merchandise tents. I did waver a bit and got my daughter a Hello Kitty blanket and my son a Pokemon toy. However, I was resolute and did not let him try out any of the swords on display...
Some of the finer fried foods on display.
We actually had coconut juice, which was tastier than I imagined, plus a kind of waffle with custard filling pressed into the shape of a fish (above). The custard fish was actually quite good, and I almost went back to get more, but will just have to live with my memories. I'm not going to get a special waffle press this year, but maybe down the line...
On the whole, it was deemed a successful excursion. I probably did enjoy it a bit more, experiencing it a bit through their eyes than through my more jaded ones. My son asked if we could go again next year; I said it was possible but contingent on many factors (ok, not in those exact words, but he knew what I meant).