Summer may not have officially arrived just yet, but for many in the Asian community — particularly those of Chinese or Taiwanese descent living in the Vancouver area — it might as well have started because the floodgates to the “night market” have officially opened (as of this past weekend), letting in the army of counterfeit Gucci purses, late night dim sum, and shady electronics.

The fad may have started with the night market in Chinatown a few years ago, but it really took off when they found a larger venue in Richmond. We saw it in the Lansdowne Shopping Centre parking lot, and then a large space near where River Rock Casino sits now, but today’s Richmond Night Market is located a little further east, along River Road between No 5 and No.6 Road. For the uninitiated, that’s right around the IKEA/Future Shop/Staples/Home Depot area on Bridgeport and Sweden Way. Just follow the convoy of cars as they slowly roll into the $3 and $4 parking lots.

I haven’t been to the market this year, but have in year’s past. If you look around, you can sometimes find a good deal on some blank optical discs (CD-R’s years ago; more DVD+/-Rs and RWs in recent times), the occasional artsy puzzle, or some random clothing made in China. Caveat emptor, of course.

The RCMP are saying that they will be in full force at this year’s night market, not only with the small handful of uniformed officers making the rounds, but they are also deploying a rather large team of plain clothes inspectors to check up on the stands at night market. In years past, they have found pirated movies and video games, non-flame retardent children’s pajamas, and countless counterfeit purses (LV, Gucci, etc.).

Will I go again this year? Regretably yes, and it is largely for “something to do” and to munch on some mediocre Chinese food… “Asian” crepes, takoyaki, siu mai, and more. I’ll see you there among the middle-aged Chinese women and their Darth Vader masks/visors, white driving gloves, and the never-ending nagging for a better price.

UPDATE (7/12/2007):
Here are a couple of posts that you may find useful:
* Richmond Night Market 2007: Updated information for the 2007 season.
* Food at Richmond Night Market: The different stands and what to expect.