Posts Tagged: Richmond

Feb 15

Chinese New Year in Richmond

richmond3The last time I can remember this scent in the air was in Sri Lanka; the smoky perfume of incense mixed with the sweet smell of flowers left as offerings to Buddha. But this time I’m not in Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth, there is no elephant tethered outside, no mischievous monkeys clambering the temple walls, nor gaudily-painted tuk tuks or King Coconut sellers ready to take your money. No, despite the incense and the gloriously golden glitz of the multi-armed Guan-Yin, I’m actually just a few miles from Vancouver in Richmond.

A short stop away from the Canada Line train, along the Highway to Heaven (the poetic name for No. 5 Road) you’ll find some 20 different places of worship: temples, mosques and churches co-exist peacefully together, side by side. Take a turn on to the Steveston Highway and you’ll find the most dazzling of all, the International Buddhist Temple, North America’s largest, modelled after China’s Forbidden City in Beijing and the start of my exploration into how to celebrate Chinese New Year in Canada. The festival is a big deal in Richmond, where some 60% of residents are Asian-Canadian, so before each Lunar New Year in February, the temple does a brisk business in the golden baubles and flowers trade, with the devout stopping by to purchase armfuls of each to take home and to give as gifts.   Continue reading →

Oct 12

Richmond Night Market

I’ve been eyeing up the Richmond Night Market ever since I first read about it, but every time I’ve visited Vancouver it was the wrong time of the year and it wasn’t on. Not this time! Finally I got to visit and it was just as good as I’d hoped.

Where to first?

I went with friends (by far the best plan if you want to eat as much as I did. Share and experience more!) we took the speedy Canada Line to Bridgehouse – just before it separates to go to Vancouver airport about 15 minutes from downtown – then followed the crowds across the gravel (wear flats!) to the market entrance.

Once inside we were overwhelmed with around 80 stands to choose from. I was glad I’d asked Sophia for a few pointers before I’d gone, especially about paying everything in cash – no one takes cards. First stop: the  ‘Rotato’ Hurricane Fries stand. Mmm!

Next, crisp and salty sweet popcorn chicken which was so good, I couldn’t even wait for it to cool down before eating it!

Popcorn chicken: sweet, spicy and so, so good.

Along with all the great food, there was a really sweet ‘wishing tree’ area – people write down their hopes for the future and tie them to the trees. It was hard to not get a lump in your throat reading everyone’s wishes… most were for a happy, healthy life for friends and family and there were many requests for a swift recovery for relatives who were ill. But one wish made me laugh out loud, “ROBOTS” – the perfect antidote to all that tear-jerking sentimentality.

The Wish Tree area, just write down what you want, tie to the tree and hope for the best…

By now we were on a huge, giggly sugar/salt high and feeling slightly crazed, which is the only explanation I have for what happened next… We spotted some children with the best balloon we’d ever seen, it had feet! And kind of walked along… Amy declared that she had to have one – which is why we ended up wandering the market with ‘Mr Happy the Pig-Balloon’. Oh boy.

Yes, that is Mr Happy being offered a cupcake. As I said, we’d had a *lot* of sugar at this point…

Definitely one of my most fun nights out in Vancouver so far; great food, hilarious company and the evening ended with a train ride home with a pig-ballon… now, how often can you say that?!



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