Combine the romance of old Beijing, the sizzle of new Shanghai, and the community spirit of a county fair. Throw in ethnic dancers, maybe a few Tony Bennett wannabes performing amateur karaoke, and martial artists showing off.
Welcome to the night market. Chinatown has had one for 10 years, and Richmond―Vancouver, B.C.'s next Chinatown―has one too. Though only in its sixth year, the Richmond market has grown with bamboo-like speed. A total of 65 food booths offer everything from Chinese and Korean barbecue to mini doughnuts. New this year: cooking demonstrations of simple Thai dishes.
"People of all ages and income levels come and mingle," says Raymond Cheung, who founded the Richmond Night Market. "It keeps our community and our families close."
INFO: Richmond Night Market (7 p.m.-midnight Fri-Sat and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Sun through Sep 25; 12631 Vulcan Way, west of Knight Street Bridge, Richmond, B.C.; www.richmondnightmarket.com or 604/244-8448); Chinatown Night Market (6:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri-Sun through Sep 12; 100 and 200 blocks of Keefer St., between Gore, Main, and Columbia Streets, Vancouver, B.C.; www.vancouverchinatown.ca/events or 604/682-8998)