Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Richmond Night Market - Dessert highlights

The Chinese Eggball guy!The Dragon's Beard Candy making stand

Event: Richmond Night Market
Cuisine: Chinese/Asian
Last visited: Sept. 19, 09
Area: Richmond, BC
12631 Vulcan Way (Behind Home Depot)
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

** Recommendation: Dragon's Beard Candy, Deep-fried ice cream

Ok so I know I'm a little late since the Richmond SUMMER Night Market ended a couple weeks ago. But I still want to review it because I want to give attention to things that deserve it. This review will only focus on a few dessert items I had there.

1) Chinese Eggballs (Here it was 1.5/6, usually it's a 4/6)

2) Dragon Beard Candy 5/6

3) Deep-fried ice cream 6/6

On the table:

  • Chinese Eggballs/Egg Waffles 1.5/6 (at this stand)
    • This is basically a Chinese waffle. It's waffle batter poured into this unique waffle-like griddle. The batter is flipped around and coated around the pan to create these "eggballs". They have a somewhat crispy exterior and the inside is soft and chewy when made well. It's also a little hallow. It's more sweet than savoury, but it's not really that sweet at all. It's actually relatively healthy because it's just egg batter.

    • You can buy it at a couple food stands, but I had to feature this stand because this guy is a local "celebrity". He's THE eggball guy or THE eggball maker. Ithink he's been doing this for well over five years now and the reason why his eggballs draw so much attention is because he puts on an entertaining show. His eggballs themselves are actually not that that sounds bad. But really, they make eggballs way better at other places. On the last night he was only charging $1 so he had quite a line-up. There always $3 - night market or not, $3 is standard.
    • All of his actions are X1000 so he manages to create an entertaining show. He draws a crowd in by being super dramatic in his production process. It's all his marketing! It's also funny because he's clearly NOT Chinese yet he's making CHINESE eggballs and speaking Chinese too (heavily accented I might add, but it's still hilarious and I appreciate it).
    • This stand or guy is a novelty. But if you want good eggballs, you're not at the right place. He skimped on the batter, probably because he was afraid to run out before the night ended and all of them were overcooked because the batter was to thin.
    • This is for pure entertainment.
    • Tip: If you want good eggballs I recommend: "Your Dessert" at Admiralty Mall in Richmond or "Timmy's" at Aberdeen Centre - both in Richmond. As long as they don't rush the process, have a decently flavoured batter that's not too sweet or watered down and make it upon order - you're in good hands..
  • Dragon's Beard Candy 5/6
    • This stand is also a popular one. You're almost guaranteed to see them at any Chinese festival or event that has food stands. You can't really make it at home (I don't know anyone that does or would), and even if you buy it at T&T it won't be as good or as fresh, so I suggest you to try it when you see it.
    • This "candy" is not the kind of candy you're used to seeing. This is ground up roasted peanuts mixed with sugar wrapped up in "dragon's beard" aka white sugar strands (it's like a Chinese style cotton candy). You get 6 rectangular nuggets in a box.
    • When you bite into them the white strands just melt away and then you hit the semi-sweet and very crumbly ground up peanut mixture. It's almost like eating a pocket of cotton candy mixed with icing sugar and ground up peanuts mixed with fine grains of sugar...but not nearly as sweet as the description sounds. The "dragon's beard" or "cotton candy" is a hand-pulled spun sugar (made of syrup) that has been pre-cooked so it's almost elastic like. It's pulled in a big container of glutinous flour (resembles icing sugar but not nearly as sweet and not floury tasting is floury in texture though) to keep it from sticking.
    • It takes skill and a true Dragon's Beard Candy maker to make these. There's a technique to it - when you watch him make it you'll know what I mean. He kind of pulls away at it and folds it repeatedly in the flour - then magically he pulls these strands out and passes it on to the next person. This person puts a spoonful of crumbly sweet peanut mixture in the centre and wraps it all up with the dragon's beard. It's a really unique dessert. Try it! Very traditional Chinese. But it's kind of messy so you're guaranteed to get flour/dragon's beard/peanut crumbs or all of the above around your mouth.
  • Deep-fried ice cream 6/6
    • No pictures. But I've tried it and it deserves attention because everyone loves it. It's not a traditional Chinese dessert or anything.
    • There's 2 stands that sell it.
    • 1) Walk down the first isle and about half way on your right hand side you'll see it. I think it's $4 and you get to select your flavour of ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, mango, green tea I think. Then they dip it in a simple flour batter and deep fry the whole thing. It's pretty big too.
    • 2) The second stand is also on the right hand side but about 3-4 stands down. This is the "gourmet" version of deep-fried ice cream. At this stand you don't get to select your ice cream flavour - it comes with the standard vanilla for $3.50. It's also smaller because it's only one regular sized scoop. It's rolled in this cereal-like batter rather than the flour batter. There's actually thought in this one. The stand is actually a catering company for a community centre so their deep fried ice cream actually has a recipe. The batter is crunchy and crispy and it creates a hard shell like exterior after it's been deep-fried. I prefer this one to the other one even though the other one is bigger and you can select your flavour.
    • 3) You can find deep-fried ice cream at Mexican restaurants as well because it was technically their invention first if we're going to give credit somewhere. I've also tried it an Indian restaurant - they're all good.
    • Tasty Twist Idea: For a healthy alternative to deep-fried and if you want an easy way to make this dessert at home what you can do is take a scoop of ice cream and roll it in crushed up nuts and cornflakes. Put your ice cream ball in the freezer to set for an hour, take it out and repeat the process until it is fully coated.
    • If you wish you can shallow fry it quickly on a very high heat with vegetable oil. Or take a creme brulee torch and quickly toast the whole exterior.

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