Hey guys! Prepare for an uber long post on the complete food tour of the Illumination Summer Night Market!
This year, the Illumination Summer Night Market is held right on 12631 Vulcan Way in Richmond near IKEA, and right beside the Knight Street Bridge. They will be running from May 5- Sept 10th, 2017 and it’ll include everything from spectacular light installations, a quirky teddy bear theme, 200 merchandise stalls, and 60 food booths. Of course, knowing that this is a food blog, we are going to focus primarily on all things food at this night market. I visited about 30 of the different food stalls that night so please continue to read on if you want to see exactly what I ate (and what you can eat there too)!
Snowberry is a stall that specializes in bingsu, or shaved ice. It’s hard to tell this place is called Snowberry because they don’t even have the English name on their banner but nevertheless you can find them if you recognize their banner art. 🙂
Their signature items are their cantaloupe and watermelon ball bingsus. They’re served in a half melon bowl and they retail for $7-$10.
We got the Cantaloupe one and aesthetically it was really beautiful. The melon bowl is first filled with shaved ice, then its topped with perfectly round cantaloupe balls and condensed milk.
Because the dessert is so big you’ll definitely want to share this with a group of people. Also, don’t forget to take some pictures before you eat it. 😀
At BBQ Corner, you can get a taste of traditional snacks from China.
We tried their Gluten Skewers (6 skewers/$8) and if you’re confused as to what exactly are ‘gluten skewers’, you’re not alone. Our entire group had no idea what this was and when we bit into it, what we can say is it tastes like you’re eating skewered mochi dosed in cumin and smokey spices. I really enjoy the texture of mochi so I enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I would necessarily pay $8 for six tiny skewers.
At Old Wang, the menu can get a little confusing if you don’t read Chinese. I know, because my Chinese sucks and I didn’t really understand what was being offered. If I’m not mistaken, they specialize in these egg and meat pancake wraps, and one of them costs $9. If you want to make it a combo and get a drink, it’s $11.
On a sizzling hot griddle, they layered a crepe/pancake looking base, added onions, parlsey, spam, hoisin sauce, and egg.
As plain as it looks, this was actually pretty good. I can imagine this tasting even better after a night of drinking. 😀
Radish Cake is a very simple stall that serves three things: radish cakes, cold noodles, and yam balls.
We were going to try their radish cakes but since they were sold out, we opted for the yam balls instead. They come in four different flavours: condensed milk, chocolate, honey, and cheese.
I personally tried the honey one and it was really good! The texture of these yam balls were chewy, stretchy, just like mochi if you were to roll them up into balls and deep fry them. As a dessert, they’re pretty addictive.
So for the first time ever, there’s a crawfish stall at the Night Market! If you thought eating food with skewers while walking and being shoved by people isn’t enough, now you get to do that while you crack open some crawfish with gloves on! 😛
As weird as eating crawfish at a night market was, it was actually pretty tasty! We were fortunate enough to have the guy at the counter de-shell it for us (not sure if he does this for everyone or only for media but you can always ask!). I say, if you’ve never had crawfish before and want to try, definitely go for it. Otherwise, it’s probably not worth getting that messy at the night market.
Bi Bim Rito
This is the Pork Belly and Kimchi Fried Rice plate from Bi Bim Rito and it was pretty solid. The pork belly in particular was flavourful and really juicy.
Shine Valley Lamb
At this stall, you guessed it! They sell lamb. I believe this is a plate of lamb chops cut up into chunks. Super solid lamb dish if you’re into lamb and don’t wan to prick yourself with skewers!
I heard from my friend that this stall is opened by a guy who’s mom makes these dumplings by hand, hence the name “Mama’s Kitchen”. The dumplings are pan fried till super crispy on the bottom and overall taste pretty good.
You can get ice-cream in Taiyaki now at the night market!! Yayyy!!
Sweet Fish essentially sells Taiyaki (fish shaped cake – no there’s no real fish inside!) that’s been created with a hole in the middle, to purposely be left for sweet fillings like ice-cream, whipped cream, and other sweet decorations.
I didn’t get a chance to try it but I heard this was one of the best items of the night. It’s the custard one and it costs $6/piece.
So this stall is called Sexy Salad and you may be wondering….what makes it so sexy? Well the girl running the stall will tell you all about it if you go!
From what I gathered, it is not the salad that is sexy. It is the reality of eating salad instead of fatty meat skewers at the night market that will make you sexy. Personally, I wouldn’t pay $4.99 for a simple salad with a few tomatoes, orange slices, and romaine lettuce/spinach leaves, but if you don’t mind the price and want to eat healthy you should check Sexy Salad out!
BBQ Squid can be easily the most busy stall at the Illumination Summer Night Market. They offer up all kinds of squid: fried squid, grilled squid, whole squid, squid tentacle…etc.
I don’t know about you but the grilled squid looks like the bomb diggity. 😉
We got a sample platter with squid rings, tentacles of both grilled and deep fried variety. Needless to say, they are absolutely delicious and I would gladly get it again. The only problem is the price. One plate costs ~$10-15 which I think is way to expensive for night market food.
Cheese Potato is a stall that serves up cheesy fillings served on a whole panko crusted roasted potato.
None of my group members including myself actually liked this dish because we all thought it was weird that the cheese sauce was sweet. Apparently this is a common snack item in Taiwan so I don’t know if it’s just us not liking it due to personal preference or if it really was bad and it’s not supposed to taste like this.
Deep Fried Squid ($8). For eight bucks, I would actually get this over the BBQ Squid.
Very solid Taiwanese deep fried chicken nuggets ($7)!
These ‘porky fries’ comprised of sweet potato and spam fries were surprisingly good! They’re drizzled with Japanese mayo, togarashi spices, and lots of seaweed.
If you know night market, you know Top Wok Dim Sum. They’re always at every night market providing the classic dim sum dishes people know and love. Shrimp dumplings, Siu Mai, Stir Fried Noodles, Rice Rolls and more. 😛
Siu Mai on a skewer.
Classic curry fishballs.
Nothing to write home about but the dish was solid and definitely very authentic class Hong Kong style dim sum food.
Xin Jiang A Fan Ti Halal BBQ
These meat skewers covered in cumin spices are always excellent. Can’t go wrong here.
Chuang Chuang Xiang
Chuang Chuang Xiang is a new vendor this year and they serve up Chengdu skewers. Chengdu spices are incredibly unique in that it reminded me of Szechuan flavours (not that spicy in the beginning, but it actually creeps up on you and numbs your tongue after).
I didn’t get a chance to try this but I heard this citrus fruit tea was really good.
I wish they had English signs as I had no clue what they were serving when we ordered. 🙁
Even though we had no clue what this was, it was friggin delicious. It’s like a Chinese style crepe made with egg, hoisin sauce, crispy wonton wrappers, and green onion.
If you like crepes, I would highly recommend it!
This is the Chicken Wrap and Pork Dumplings. Solid and not bad.
Chinese Escargot Rice Noodle
So, I don’t know why it’s called Chinese Escargot Rice Noodle because I couldn’t find any escargots in the noodle dish. HOWEVER, both Meta Knight and I fell in love with it because the flavours were so intense and wonderful. It’s a bit spicy, a bit sour, a bit refreshing. I can’t really explain it but it’s really good! You gotta give it a try if you’re into noodles!
I didn’t try this but this is the Virgin Mojito from a non-alcoholic stall called Alcool. They aim to recreate your favourite sinful cocktails without any liquor.
Fruitme | Ice Garden | Mangoholic |Comebuy
For your drink options at the Night Market, you can select from mango slushes, watermelon slushes in watermelon bowls, and classic QQ milk tea with (agar jelly?). All were quite delicious except for the mango slushes which were just a tad bland (I don’t think they put any sugar in it which you can view it as a good or bad thing).
All in all, I hope you enjoyed my complete food guide to the Illumination Summer Night Market 2017. It was such a long post to write but I definitely hope it was useful in helping you navigate the food scene a little better! Also, since there are so many stalls, you need to know in advance which ones to visit or else you might end up with a couple of bad items that’ll cost you $20+! Amiright?!
Disclosure: I was invited by Chinese Bites for a media food tour of Illumination Summer Night Market. Admission and all food were comped. All opinions are my own.