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

San Fran Fam Jam!

Hello all,

This is definitely a late post, but three weeks ago I went to San Francisco with my family! Although San Fran is quite close to Vancouver (well. comparatively.), it was my first time there.

The sun was out during our whole trip, which was nice when we got to San Fran, but not so nice as we road tripped by California. I had forgotten how hot it can get out there.

We did a bunch of touristy things such as visit Fisherman’s Wharf, including having a bread bowl of chowder. Apparently it’s considered a tourist trap, but I still went for it and it was good. The seagulls there must be pretty happy with all the people who throw unwanted pieces of bread to them after they’re down with their chowder!

I had wanted to go to Alcatraz too, but the tour was all sold out for the weekend that we were going. Instead we decided it was only right if we visited a museum or something to properly play the part of a tourist so we went to Ripley’s! Ripley’s Believe it or Not books were such a big part of my childhood it was cool to see their displays in person.

I must say that one of my favourite parts of San Fan was Chinatown. We came back three times over the course of three days for food. Something I found special was their dim sum. They sold them in stores and unlike everywhere else I’ve been in most parts of the world, you didn’t sit down in a restaurant to enjoy them. They’re packed up in a takeaway box and you eat it wherever you please. The dim sum places didn’t even have tables or chairs for you to sit, so that option was non existent.

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Chinatown was so authentic in San Francisco. If I don’t think about it too hard, it almost made me feel like I was back in Hong Kong. The mannerisms of people there, the language, the things they sold. Of course, there’s a lot of western influence intertwined but it didn’t make it any less authentic.

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My sister got me really hyped up for Ghirardelli’s factory, but when we ordered an ice-cream sundae there, it tasted like poop. Well, that’s a little harsh, but it definitely wasn’t worth the $11. I’ve had better chocolate (literally anywhere else).

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Our trip to Union Square was not eventful. It looked like a typical downtown region of any city, but the weather was really nice while we were there.

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ALSO, I never knew Japan towns existed. Chinatowns? Sure, everywhere. But San Francisco’s Japan Town was quite cool. They had so many geek wares there that I was trying not to freak out.

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10613079_10152440934504748_5513272189264340628_nWe lived a little ways outside of San Francisco, since we wanted a nice hotel that wasn’t overly expensive. I’d highly recommend everyone do the same since all the nice hotels cost a pretty penny inside the city. In the end we chose a hotel in San Mateo, which was close enough. We’d drive for about 20 minutes to get back to the city each morning, but that was no hassle with a car.

I wonder when I’ll have another family trip. This trip reminded so much of what it was like to be on holiday with my family, especially since it was a road trip. The past few family vacations always lacked a member or two — my parents and sister went to Vegas without me; my mom, sister and I went to Hong Kong/Japan sans my dad. You get the story. But family time really is the best 🙂

– Karen

Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE

Hello all,

Yesterday I visited the Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE! It comes free with your park admission, and it’s right by the Renfew and Hastings entrance. 

My friends and I arrived at 10AM and waited for the gates to open at 10:30AM. We were 2nd in line outside the exhibit, since although the park opens at 10:30AM for its soft opening, everything else actually opens at 11AM. Once they let us in, I made my friends rush to the Oculus Rift bit of the exhibit. I tried the Oculus out at the Evolution of Gaming exhibit a few weeks ago, but this was a different experience altogether. They incorporated 4D aspects such as the floor rumbling below you, as well as wind blowing at your face. 

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The Ascend the Wall “ride” lets you take the creaky elevator up the wall. It’s windy up there, and you get a sense of unease as the elevator isn’t the sturdiest of things. Not going the spoil the ending for you, but they do warn you to maybe sit out the ride if you have a fear of heights. 

Seeing the costumes in real life was so surreal. They’re even more beautiful up close. For example, I never noticed that Margery’s wedding dress had small barbs amongst her roses, or that her train was completely covered in roses. 

Of course, everyone lined up for the throne. 

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Since it was the first day, Sibel Kekilli was there for a Q&A. For those of you who watch the show, you may know her better as Shae. My friends and I also managed to catch her before she left for a selfie 🙂 She’s really nice and bypassed her security guards in order to sign stuff for fans and such. 

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No trip to the PNE is complete for me without checking out the BBQ section. I usually refuse to fill myself up on other fair food until I’ve had a pulled pork sandwich there. This year I got a ribs + meat combo. 


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Followed by a visit to the Safeway Farm Country. That probably wasn’t the best idea when you’ve stuffed your face with meat. 

If any of you guys are going, I highly recommend you also check out the Get Animated! exhibit! You can play some old school arcade games, look at the production process of several cartoons, and there are lots of interactive bits for you to explore. They also had some neat photo areas! 

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Leaving PNE at the end of the day reminded me as to why I am hesitant to visit every year. The transit home truly is the worst 😦 

– 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

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013

Hey everyone!

If you live in Vancouver, and have a Facebook, you may have seen an increase in pictures of food appearing on your Facebook Feed. I sure did, and it is making me crave all the delicious plates of food my friends post up!

A lot of these pictures came from friends who did Dine Out Vancouver, a festival that encourages people to go and eat at the many amazing restaurants around Vancouver. What is so great about having this festival in Vancouver is that our city is the home to many different cultures and ethnicities, which can be reflected in the food we serve. If you look through the list of participating restaurants, you are bound to find at least one you will want to visit!

Dine Out offers set menus at different restaurants, all for a fixed price of either $18, $28 or $38 depending on the restaurant. The set menu still offers a bit of flexibility, as they usually have two to three choices for each course of the meal. Reservations are easy, since you can simply do reservations online for most of the restaurants (though some require you to call them), but I highly suggest you book your reservation well in advance. We had some trouble securing a spot in the restaurants we had picked even though we tried making reservations four days in advance. This is understandable as they are busy, and the dates we wanted were all on weekends, which is when everyone else has time to eat out too.

A group of my friends and I went on the first day Dine Out was offered this year– January 18th. We decided to go to the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant located on Granville Island. We wanted seafood, and a menu that was not the most expensive, nor the least.

We all had a lot of trouble deciding what we wanted to eat, and our waitress patiently waited as we hemmed and hawed. I went with the salmon and shrimp salad for my appetizer, and the grilled salmon with rice for my main. I ended it off with a peach and apple crumble, served with gelato!

Overall, it was a good meal, and I enjoyed the ambiance of the Sandbar. It was not our first time there, since one of our mutual friends had her last birthday there, but with the set menu, it really does force you to try out something you would otherwise probably not have ordered! If I had to put a numerical rating on my meal, I’d give it a 7/10.

The menu

The menu

Warm bread that just kept coming!

Warm bread that just kept coming!

My appetizer

My appetizer

My main course

My main course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second time I went Dine Out this year, another one of my friend and I went to Ciao Bella Ristorante & Piano Bar down by Denman street. It was also a $28 menu restaurant, offering dishes with an Italian flair. I ordered the lobster bisque for my appetizer, grilled lamb chops for my main, and as my dessert, I got the tiramisu! My friend who went with me got their dessert of the day: zucchini chocolate cake. Props to her for being so brave and getting the zucchini cake. Turns out that you cannot taste the vegetable, but what it does is make the cake more moist! Overall rating: 7.5/10.

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

The lamb main

The lamb main

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

A chocolate cake with zucchini!?

A chocolate cake with zucchini!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So did you guys go try out a restaurant or two during Dine Out Vancouver? Let me know if you have any you recommend!
(Also, I am hopelessly trying to fit pictures onto WordPress, but I obviously am not doing it correctly! I want to place them side by side…is that too much to ask for!? Anyone know their way around positioning images on here? Much appreciated!)

-Karen