NOTE: As part of the ChineseBites media event, all food and beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own experience.
Thanks to ChineseBites, we were invited along with other food bloggers to sample over 20 items at the Panda Market. Thanks to the rebranding, you can now clearly figure out which night market is which. The Panda Market is the one near Ikea (also known as the older one). We were invited in 2015 as well, and you can read about it here.
The Panda Market has really shrunk this year in terms of food stalls (down to only one lane!). Admission is free although parking does cost money, but round up your friends and carpool and it’ll come to a dollar per person.
I also liked how there were less people here so you can actually stand around and eat or even find tables in the back alley to sit down and enjoy your food. We checked out the Richmond Night Market by River Rock and there was no chance of that! You could barely move there and the line ups were crazy long…
Xin Jiang A Fan Ti Halal BBQ
I was paired up with Areta from Foodgressing to indulge in our night market adventure. We started off at Xin Jiang A Fan Ti Halal BBQ.
Chicken Skewers, Lamb Skewers
We were able to sample the Chicken Skewers and Lamb Skewers which may be one of my favourite items of the night. The chicken was my favourite because it still remained moist inside. The lamb was good but the one I had had a lot of fat stuck on so those parts were inedible. I loved the spices they used though and you can ask for spicy to get more kick.
There are two stands that sell squid at this night market. The one we sampled from was called BBQ Squid.
Fried and Grilled Mix Squid
We tried the Fried and Grilled Mix which as the name says, comes with a variety of grilled and fried squid rings and tentacles. The grilled squid comes with a sweet chili sauce but I found it to be more chewy, although not gummy. My favourite was the fried one as the texture had more bounce to it. This plate is priced at around $8.
Getting thirsty, we headed to Shake Shake which has the trendiest drinks, including lightbulb drinks, watermelon and pineapple juice in the actual fruit, and liquid nitrogen drinks.
We tried the Watermelon Juice which had liquid nitrogen fuming out on the side making it very picture worthy. The smoke actually lasted for quite a few minutes too. We added some popping balls in the drink, but I found that tasted a little odd. The watermelon juice itself was okay but the watermelon itself clearly wasn’t very sweet. They also have a pineapple version.
Cheese Tarts: Lavender and Original
Next to Shake Shake is Cheese Tarts which sells out fast so may be a stall that you want to check out first. They sell the popular cheese tarts that are the hype in Japan and Asia. Here, you can choose between Lavender and Original and they heat them up for you. I found the center to not be as runny as the ones in Japan but I did enjoy the lavender flavour. Great for those who enjoy floral flavours.
Top Dough brings Czech pastries to Richmond and features Trdelník also known as chimney cakes.
They feature three versions: the original, one filled with nutella, and one filled with nutella, whipped cream and topped with a slice of strawberry. We got the last and this one is cone shaped in order to hold all the cream. I liked how the outside was crunchy, but the inside was gooey and I felt like it was undercooked. This is not as good as the ones I had in Prague for sure, but I guess it’s decent for what we have in Richmond.
Mini Doughnuts: Oreo
At Mini Doughnuts, you can get your favourite carnival snacks and mini doughnuts! You can have them plain with just cinnamon and sugar or have them dressed up with some interesting flavours. Each order normally comes with 12 doughnuts, but they were able to give us 6 of each flavour instead. The first was the Oreo which was dressed with icing sugar and topped with crushed Oreo cookies.
The second was the Birthday Cake which comes with icing sugar and topped with rainbow sprinkles. They also have a S’mores version. The doughnut itself was great but I find that the ones with icing sugar get quite sweet after a couple. I would order these with just cinnamon sugar instead.
Shanghai Special: Pork Schnitzel
At Shanghai Special, they serve Shanghai food but also Pork Schnitzel! Sort of random, but it turned out to be quite good with the pork being only a tad dry but the batter very crispy.
It’s Toasty: French Toast
It’s Toasty served French Toast which we thought was deep fried tofu at first. It was served with a side of condensed milk and this was again surprisingly very good. The outside was crispy and the center pillowy soft and fluffy!
Pie Pie Okonomiyaki: Squid Okonomiyaki
At Pie Pie Okonomiyaki, they serve variations of Okonomiyaki filled with different ingredients such as pork and beef. We chose the Squid Okonomiyaki which was topped with Japanese mayo and bonito flakes. I found the inside to be rather gooey and doughy and would’ve liked it crispier.
Be Fabulous: Corn Pancake
Be Fabulous served us Corn Pancake along with a side of sweet chili sauce. It was well seasoned but something about it was quite underwhelming.
Orr Street: Green Apple Slush with Pearls
Areta got the Green Apple Slush with Pearls from Orr Street and we found the Mr. Panda to feature our drink. Yes, you’ll find a couple of these pandas walking around!
There are two stands that sell the famous hurricane potatoes. The first stand was Twist Potato.
Bavarian Cream Korean Waffle
Twist Potato is also the only stand that sells the Korean Taiyaki fish waffles. We filled ours with Bavarian Cream. I found this to be underwhelming and the cream was like a custard which I found too sweet. I’d much rather get the ones at Snowy Village!
J&J Hurricane Potato Fries: Barbecue; Twist Potato: Garlic Mayo
The other stand is J&J Hurricane Potato Fries. Let’s compare it to Twist Potato! By the looks of it, Twist Potato (on the left) is much taller and so you get way more potato, but at the same time it’s more thinly sliced. After trying both, I actualy enjoyed the one from J&J more because of the thick cut texture. However, based on the flavours we tried, we enjoyed the Garlic Mayo from Twist Potato more than the Barbecue at J&J. But then again, you can choose from a variety of flavours so at the end of the day, I would probably go with J&J. J&J also allows you to choose two flavours.
Mr. Pretzels: Neapolitan Pretzel
Next we tried the Neapolitan Pretzel from Mr. Pretzels. This was topped with Parmesan and some Italian herbs and must be eaten when warm! It was very soft and great for sharing.
Totoro: Mango Bubble Tea; Happy Lemon: Passionfruit Lemonade
Onto more drinks because night market food can make you very thirsty! Areta got the Mango Bubble Tea from Totoro, while I got the Passionfruit Lemonade from Happy Lemon. I love how you can flavour your classic lemonade and this was just the right sweet and tart.
TW Traditional Snacks: Taiwanese Sausage
Yup, this looks funny… but TW Traditional Snacks ran out of popcorn chicken and I had already tried their stinky tofu last year, so I tried their Taiwanese Sausage this time around. Quite typical and is sweet in flavour. Nothing too special. I would stick to their Stinky Tofu or Popcorn Chicken!
A new addition is the Sea Monster which seemed to be a big hit.
They literally deep fry a whole squid on a stick and you can choose a seasoning to go with it of which we chose the sweet onion. This is difficult to eat and can get very messy, but I actually quite enjoyed this. The squid itself was very tender and I loved the crunchy batter and seasoning.
Takoyaki: Squid Takoyaki
Takoyoki is another popular item and here you can choose to add other ingreidents again such as pork. We stuck with the traditional and got Squid. Crispy on the outside and gooey inside. Not bad.
Cocoro: Deep Fried Oreos
Onto some desserts at Cocoro, we tried the Deep Fried Oreos which I had first tried at the PNE. I always found these to be good, so it was no surprise here either. They’re on the sweeter side, so definitely share them.
Mangoholic: Mango Shaved Iced
Mangoholic served us their Mango Shaved Ice, which is perfect for a sunny day. The mangoes were ripe and sweet and came with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Not bad!
Ying Kee: Bubble Waffle
Last but not least, Ying Kee served us Bubble Waffles and I went for the classic original although they have other flavours. The outside was crispy but I wished the inside was more chewy.
And there you have it! We tried almost every single food stall at the Panda Night Market! I have to say, I did appreciate how the line ups and wait times were way shorter than the one at the Richmond Night Market.
Of course, you won’t find as many innovative items here as they tend to open at the Richmond Night Market, but if you are looking for your classics, then I think the Panda Night Market does a pretty good job.
There are also fun and games for the kids and live entertainment. But I mean, I think I most of us go the night market for the food, right?