Two years ago, we dragged some friends to a Chinese Night Market on a trip to Vancouver. We expected a bit of culture shock and an endless array of cheap food. What we got, mainly, was tables full of strangely enormous underpants. Well, we found the right market this time, and it's in Richmond, not Vancouver. This one, for at least this year, is officially known as the Summer Night Market.
It claims 800 booths; I doubt it was that many, but at least half of them were food. In no particular order, we shared: fresh pineapple slushee, egg cakes, dragon's beard candy, a skewer of halal lamb, vegetarian samosas, fried tofu with about six kinds of sauce and a mixed pickle, and a sweet five-spice Taiwanese chicken skewer. Oh, and weird mini doughnuts, with too much lemon extract, but we couldn't resist the doughnut truck. Everything but the doughnuts was delicious, and as soon as my camera battery is recharged, I'll get some photos up, including (hopefully) of a waffle baked into a carp shape.
The most striking non-food memory relates to a carnie game that looked like it was doing pretty well. There were about eight low rectangular plastic tubs, each half full of water with a couple dozen young goldfish (or carp?) swimming about. Customers could purchase a set number of fish (and/or aquariums) or they could purchase a set number of nets, and try to scoop more fish into a bowl, all of which they'd keep. Greed kills, my friend.
The nets were just a few inches across; there was no time limit, but the net looked like it was made of paper, so once the net broke, your time was effectively up. None of this is all that different from any other carnie game; there's more than one sucker born every minute, and I do love watching people lose everything by trying to get just a bit more than they started with. But it doesn't take all that many fish to feel like a winner, apparently, so all around the market I saw people, mostly kids, wandering around with the sort of plastic bag one uses for vegetables, except with a bit of water and a few live fish swimming about.
The part embedded in my memory: A preschooler and his sister, each clutching a bag with about a dozen fish. The boy got distracted by a vendor, forgot to concentrate and fell splat on top of his bag, which broke his fall but burst. The mother kicked in with a very distinctively Chinese version of the International Appalled Mother noise, lots of "haw" and "ohhh" which started out with a tone that indicated "Oh Dear My Son Fell" and almost immediately became "Oh My God, The Fish Are All Dying Everywhere".