The International Summer Night Market 2015

Hey all, This is more of a comparison post seeing what the International Summer Richmond Night Market is like compared to the Richmond Night Market at Bridgeport. I went to the Bridgeport one last week, and this week, the Summer one! IMG_0891 I started saturday with the Whitecaps game against Real Salt Lake yesterday! It was great being back in BC Place to cheer on our team— it was my first game of the season in which I actually went to the stadium. The other games, I had watched on TV. I really missed the atmosphere and it was definitely a lot more nail-biting watching it live!

Whitecaps selfies. Erik Hurtado was signing!

Whitecaps selfies. Erik Hurtado was signing!

Afterwards for dinner, we decided we’d go to the night market. I refused to pay another $2.75 to go to the Richmond Night Market near Bridgeport so we went to the International Summer Night Market. It wasn’t a big hassle, especially as my friend W. drove. How does it rate compared to the Bridgeport one?

Less crowded food stall area

Less crowded food stall area

There was definitely less people in general, which also probably led to there being less stalls— both eating ones and shopping ones. However, the lines are a lot shorter, and you get food faster. There is a smaller range in the variety of food: for example, the Bridgeport one had feverish stalls (more?) that sold solely beverages. In the Summer Night Market, there was more like two? One and a half. They only had one stall that specialized in bubble tea. They did have three that made hurricane potatoes though. IMG_0881 In general, prices were slightly cheaper, especially if you took the time to look around. My boyfriend and I each had a plate of Takoyaki. It was $3 for 4 pieces. There was another stall that sold it for $5 for 6 pieces or something (and that stall had more variety. You could have something other than just octopus), but we just wanted to fulfill our takoyaki cravings. At the Bridgeport one, the cheapest takoyakis we could find were about $5.50 for 6 pieces. Drinks in general were also cheaper, and honestly, I’d say you’d be saving if you ate at the Summer Night Market. You just have to be willing to sacrifice a bit of choice. IMG_0888 A quick sec to give a shoutout to Mr and Mrs Poppins! Such a cute couple, and we bought a bag of their seaweed furikake popcorn and walked around munching on it for the rest of the night. $2! And very interesting flavours. I’d highly suggest you go by since they have samples of their flavours for you to try! IMG_0876 The stalls were honestly not very interesting. But then again, I don’t love the stalls at the Bridgeport one either. If you wanted your cell phone cases, socks, and jewellery stalls, the Summer one also has them. Just less. But they’ve got less quirky stalls, making it a little less entertaining. IMG_0890 We ended up eating our food while watching people perform on stage. And then there was a competition for the people in the crowd to go up and do a series of challenges. One of our friends went up and automatically got free Krispy Kreme donuts! Anyhow, I still think the Summer Night Market is a great place to spend a night and just have street food and look at stalls. You’ll probably be done making a lap around it faster than the Bridgeport one, but hey, it’s free entry! Plus, less crowded 🙂

– Karen
Panda Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Whistler = A Winter Wonderland

Hey all, I have not been to Whistler for… I’m guessing at least ten years. To be fair, I was actually on another continent for five of those years, but I realized how much I wanted to see it again. It felt like the first time since I barely had any memories of it. It’s reading break and to start off our holiday, two friends and I went to the snow dusted municipality of Whistler. Here’s the thing though: we don’t snowboard or ski– so what is there to do there if you’re both hesitant to slide down the mountain at high speeds, and want to avoid spending a few hundred bucks on rentals? Well, our itinerary was basically the following:

1. Eat

2. Toboggan (Would recommend just heading by Canadian Tire and getting your own board. It costs $10 there, and $30 in Whistler)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan :)

A pic with some kid who taught us how to properly toboggan 🙂

3. Skate Photo 2-16-2014, 4 58 29 PM

4. Watch the Sochi Olympics in the square (or in the hotel with a nice can of beer at 9AM in the morning– Yay! We won men’s hockey which was no surprise!) IMG_2846 5. Eat

6. Watch shows (x)

Driving around Whistler was beautiful– it looked exactly like a winter wonderland that you would expect to see on Christmas Cards. The snow covered the limbs of trees, framing the green giants. In some areas up there, the snow was so thick and untouched it looked fake! I wish I could bring back the exact image of the environment with me because it was beautiful. But I guess I’ll have to do with just pictures.

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This was more beautiful in person!

Sure, Whistler is cold, but it’s not too bad if you wear a decent amount of clothing. I was fine with a large waterproof jacket and a sweater inside. I would highly recommend not wearing jeans because any contact with the snow will result in you feeling like you wet yourself. This little three day holiday was refreshing in one other aspect as well: we did not wake up till noon every day. We planned everything quite well and knew when we had/should head out to Whistler Village again, so everyone felt well rested! I mean, it has been a while since we could all sleep in. Most of time during vacations, I am forced to wake up early in order to make the most of my time, but I realize that with proper planning, sleep is an option. Hope other fellow UBC students are having a good reading break so far, and that everyone else is enjoying the slow transition from winter to spring! – Karen

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2014 Kickoff!

Hey everyone,

So not sure if any of you Vancouverites checked out the kickoff event at Granville Island for Dine Out Vancouver 2014, but it was interesting. I mainly went because my friend and I were going out for lunch anyway, so we just decided to meet at Granville Island instead so we could catch a glimpse of the thing.

The kickoff event was basically FREE SOUP!

The sketchy sign leading me to free soup

The sketchy sign leading me to free soup

They invited 50 chefs to come in and contribute an ingredient for the soup, ending with 50 different ingredients. However, upon closer inspection of the sigh, the 50 ingredients sometimes were quite similar to another one on the list.

I took seconds, since the line had died down a while later. The soup was interesting in taste. It had a tang to it, but there was plenty of stuff to munch on in my cup since they had so many ingredients. I distinctly tasted chorizo, but the other ingredients got lost and muddled together in taste.

While waiting in line, we were serenaded with some live music. I thought this was a neat little event to start off Dine Out!

If you’re in Vancouver, I’d seriously suggest doing Dine Out while it’s happening! It goes on till February 2nd. Restaurants that you otherwise may never think to go into is offering a set menu (well, limited choices anyway) for a fixed price. So you could be dining at Cloud 9, and instead of paying the usual $40 for an entree, you can get a 3 course meal for $28!

The starters

The starters at Whet

Entrees!

Entrees!

I went to Whet on Granville Island last Thursday for Dine Out, and will be going to Hapa Izakaya. When my friends and I chose Whet, we were hesitant. The menu looked so darn good, but their reviews said they had pretty bad service. We took the risk and the dinner and service turned out to be a-ok. I was surprisingly full after the meal!

 

– Karen

Japan was as hot as heck.

Once upon a time, I said I’d document my Japan trip. But during the trip, it was just days and days of not getting enough sleep due to us having joined a tour. That required us to wake up early each morning (despite sleeping late each night), so that we would have enough time for the activities they had lined up for us.

So I guess here’s the whole trip blurted out in one blog post! I’ll try to keep it short!

Firstly, it was really really really hot during our visit to Japan. When we went to the hot springs, it was 40 degrees Celsius in our part of the country. If you’re going to Japan anytime soon, don’t worry—it’s not always like that. We just happened to visit while a typhoon was passing by, so the air was very stagnant. Anyway, the Japanese have air conditioning, but the national law limits the maximum at which they can set their air con to 27.5 degrees. Which sounds like a typical summer day in Vancouver. What annoyed me most was that it wasn’t as if they didn’t have the proper technology, it’s just that they couldn’t turn the air condition any lower. But I guess Japan is a very environmentally friendly country. As tourist, we also had a hard time sorting our garbage into the appropriate garbage bins as they sorted their trash quite precisely. Props to them for being so advanced in their thinking…kinda sucks for us because we weren’t used to it!

I obviously didn’t read the pamphlet outlining our tour very well, because I wasn’t aware that we were going to a traditional hot springs until the day before leaving for Japan. And by traditional, they basically mean everyone’s in their birthday suits when soaking in the springs. Of course, they separated the males and females, but it was very awkward. And it didn’t help that this one random lady decided to sit in the changing rooms as you stripped down. Anyway, my mom and I chose to go down to the springs at around 11pm since it is less likely to be crowded at that time. Smart move on our part because we only had to see three other naked ladies.

Mount Fuji was okay. I mean, it looked like any other mountain.

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But public transit on the other hand…

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Now that’s something to marvel at. It seemed as if there was no limit as to how many people they could squeeze into the subway. Reminded me of that Youtube video showing people in Japan getting squished into trains—they even had professional train squishers. The different railway lines were also very difficult to get a grasp on. If you don’t believe me, just try Googling Tokyo’s subway map.

One of the things I looked forward to most on this trip was Tokyo Disneyland! Despite the heat, we still spent the whole day running around the park, trying to get on as many rides as possible. Many of the queues were okay in length, ranging from around 25-45 minutes per ride. We would go on all the rides with short queues, and then decide if we really wanted to wait for the longer ones. The Monster Inc. Ride and Go Seek ride took an hour and a half to queue for, but that was the last ride we went on, and was the only ride that took us more than an hour to get into. We also go Fast Passes for several rides along the day.

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It was Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary while we were visiting, so Cinderella’s castle was decorated accordingly! I must say that the night parade—Dreamlights—was very beautiful! They turned off many of the lights in the park (or at least the lights in the streets where the parade would pass through), and the floats looked amazing!

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During my stay, I ate lots of great food! We had sashimi (I fell in love with shrimp sashimi! The huge ones that is.), abalone, premium beef, and FRUITS! They were amazing. Japanese peaches are heaven itself. You actually have to use a bowl when eating their peaches because it’s super juicy. Our tour guide told us that Japanese people remove the skin of the peach first (it’s actually really easy because the peaches are quite soft) before eating them. I just ate them whole.

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Since we lived in downtown Tokyo, I couldn’t ignore the bright, dazzling arcades that lined the streets. I spent a lot of coins on those games where you try to clamp a plush doll or toys. I was trying to get this fat cat for ages, and then gave up after spending a few hundred yen. But then this one guy comes along and gets it on the first try. I was very disappointed, and decided to just throw in my last 100 yen and randomly clamp at the new cat they put in, and for some strange reason, I manage to get a hold of it! Trouble is, if I bring it back with me to Canada, it can make for quite an annoying luggage.

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I’m missing quite a few bits and pieces in this post, but sitting here, these are the highlights that I remembered most. I had a lot of fun, but was exhausted. The heat didn’t help. On the last day of the trip, I actually said “I can’t wait to go back to Hong Kong to cool off.” That was a line I never thought anyone would say.

I’m currently working between Hong Kong and China. It’s tiring travelling back and forth, and I’m learning lots! Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a post soon about my adventures in Hong Kong!

Until next time!

– Karen

Richmond Night Market: expensive street food land

Hey all!

So I went to the Richmond Night Market (the one near Bridgeport station on the Canada line), and I blew a fortune on food.

For those of you who don’t know, the night market is a place where lots of stalls are set up and rented away to vendors to sell their merchandise. You get a lot of asian clothes, jewellery, and even the occasional apocalypse supplies stall. The goods they sell are relatively cheap, and you get a taste of Asia. Then, there are the food vendors.

To be honest, a lot of people only go to the night market for asian food. If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong or its surrounding cities in Asia, you can guess what these food stalls look like. They’re very much like street food you’d find in HK, except here, it’s concentrated into 3 lines of stalls. It’s jam packed with people, but you also find amazing food prepared right in front of your eyes. Downside? You end up spending a fortune because everything is in small portions and it takes a while for you to get full.

So here are some of the things I ate yesterday…

Oikos gave out free yogurt! At first, I stopped to see why everyone was lining up for yogurt. I mean, of all things to eat at the night market, you’d wonder why anyone would get yogurt. But then I realized that Oikos is found in supermarkets, so that would be like Nestlé opening a stand at the night market– which didn’t make sense. And then we found out they were giving away free yogurt.

This year, the night market near Bridgeport had a duck theme– probably as tribute to the giant floating duck stopping by Hong Kong. It was cute, but a bit random. And very hard to explain to people why they chose that theme. I tried with my friend, beginning with “Well, you know, Asians, ducks….” I kind of trailed off because I didn’t know how to end that sentence. But regardless, we took a few pictures with these culturally themed ducks, as well as the huge inflatable one.

They do have a competition going on where you can win a trip to anywhere in the world. They also have a wishing well for anyone who wanted to pay $5 for a duck, all proceeds going to the BC Cancer Foundation. Like the other night market, they too had performances. We saw some fire dancers there, and some musical acts. Oh talking about music, they have the most interesting choice of songs blaring on their speakers around the market. It’s all very diverse, jumping from English songs, to Korean pop music, to Chinese ones.

Bring plenty of cash if you’re going, because it is cash only! Go on an empty stomach if you want to try as many of the stalls a possible, but go on a decent one if you don’t want to go broke. Reminder that admission is $2! I almost forgot we had to pay to get in because I was so used to the old night market where it was free!

-Karen