Vancouver’s revitalized Chinatown Night Market
Roll up for Vancouver’s revamped night market
Obscure action figures and blingtastic cell phone covers have been staples of Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market (http://vancouverchinatownnightmarket.com) for 17 years. But while the cheap and cheerful trinkets are back for 2013’s May 17 to September 8 season – alongside a full menu of steaming food stands – change is in the air.
“I grew up with the market but it felt like there was a chance to bring in some new energy and invite a new audience down here,” says Ken Tsui, a Vancouver filmmaker and pop-up event creator charged with reinvigorating the Friday to Sunday 6pm to 11pm happening that runs on Keefer Street in the heart of Canada’s largest Chinatown.
That new energy includes a thick slice of local hipsterdom alongside the dozens of returning vendors. Cool first-timers Poppytalk (http://www.poppytalk.com) and The Pie Shoppe (http://www.thepieshoppe.ca) rolled in for the market’s May 17 soft opening while vintage clothing, arts and crafts and artisan ice-cream merchants are poised to launch by June 1.
Dining-wise, a Saturday meet-up of food trucks, from fish tacos to Indian fare, aims to tap local love for funky street nosh. They’re joined by newbie stand Chicken on Rice, specializing in Singapore’s favourite comfort grub, plus a full menu of regulars serving everything from shrimp dim-sum to the wildly popular tornado potatoes – fresh-cooked spiral fries on sticks.
But it’s the eclectic programming that Tsui hopes will entice Vancouverites back to a market that’s been overshadowed in recent years by rival events in Richmond, 10km south of the city. From a stage near Keefer’s Columbia Street intersection, the ambitious line-up (http://vancouverchinatownnightmarket.com/schedule) includes performance storytelling, hip hop karaoke, outdoor film screenings, a Street Fighter II tournament and a “ping pong club” that invites all-comers to pick up a paddle.
Tsui says he’s especially looking forward to a series of giant wall projections of vintage Chinatown images by renowned Vancouver streetscape photographer Fred Herzog (http://fredherzog.com). “There’s something deep and historical about this area and we want the market to celebrate that. We’re not trying to take everything apart and make it all new. But we do want to make this market a cultural hub for everyone.”