Sunday, August 03, 2008
Takoyaki at the Richmond Summer Night Market
I had a great time at the Richmond Summer Night Market, and the above photo is one of the things that make it worthwhile for me. I fell in love with takoyaki as a young teenager visiting Japan on an exchange program. It reminds me of experiencing the summer festivals there and of being fresh and naive, curious about the world, and joyfully sucking in Japan like a brand new sponge. I love street food, and our city is definitely lacking. I remember a time when bylaws made the environment hostile to even the hot dog stands. Mind you, I appreciate that someone is looking out for hygiene and that health standards are high here for food safety and all that. But I'm a five second rule type of gal (maybe even 15 seconds), and a bit of a risk taker. Hey, my delicate sheltered belly survived Mexican taco stands and the deep fried goodies down there and I don't even live there. So I am all for more street food here.
Anyhow, I was glad to see that the Richmond market is alive and well, and I want to support it, since it did take some effort to save this event. Sure, when I went there seemed to be fewer food stalls than the previous years, but I heard that more were coming later (there may already be more now). And we had no problem stuffing ourselves silly with what was available there (even needing to strategize, as there were a couple of things I just couldn't fit in at the end).
Our adventure at the night market started right when they opened, so it was relatively uncrowded, and I even snagged a parking spot right next to the market. We had veggie-filled fish waffles, so many lamb skewers (Bac'n Girl came back with fistfuls of them for us...I love how happy she looks when she's got a bunch of meat), the takoyaki of course (toasted doughy balls with a chunk of octopus in the middle and lots of toppings), giant fried chicken breast, halibut taco, duck-filled pancake, sweet rice flour balls, super spicy curry fish balls (which weren't that spicy), korean potato noodles, stuffed peppers, and dragon beard candy and other sweets. I enjoy the wandering about and getting excited about a food item. It's different from just having a meal where people bring you all the food and take care of your every need. There is an element of conquest to the market experience. "Oh, we have to get some of that!" "Okay, I'll go get this while you get that!" It's somewhat dirty and messy, inconvenient, awkward to eat, and a hell of a lot of fun.