Disclaimer: I was invited to a media tasting at the Illumination Night Market by ChineseBites. All food and beverages were complimentary but opinions are my own.
This year the Illumination Night Market (previously Panda Market) will be charging a $3 admission fee. In previous years it was free but it’s still a bit cheaper than the other night market where admission is $3.75. They have added some pretty lights hence the name “Illumination” Night Market. I’ll be highlighting some of the items I enjoyed or thought were interesting as I tried too many things!
First of all, I noticed that quite a few stalls did not have English names. The menu items were still in English and Chinese.
There is no shortage of skewers here. This stall called Skewers (according to a guide I had) served some flavourful Spicy Lamb Skewers!
My Tea had a selection of fresh fruit teas and sparkling teas. This was the House Special Fresh Fruit Tea with had a mix of watermelon, strawberry, orange, lime, passionfruit and green tea. It was surprisingly refreshing and not too sweet. It was a great mix of fruits.
The Bubble Waffle was chewy just the way I like it.
This was the Dragon Crepe. I didn’t get to see how it was made and I’m not exactly sure what’s inside besides a mix of maybe pork and Hoisin sauce? It was pretty good though and I wouldn’t mind getting it again. Also the portion is fairly large.
Next I tried the Seaweed Porky Fries. These are also available in wasabi and hot spicy flavours. The presentation looked appetizing but it turns out that it was just spam fries and yam fries alternating on a stick. For $6, I didn’t feel like it was worth it although it was tasty.
The Cheese Potato looked appetizing as well but turned out to be a disappointment. They take the concept of a baked potato and put their own twist on it by making it a croquette and adding a vegetable and sausage salad in the middle. The salad dressing was mildly sweet and it was also cold which contrasted with the potato and the potato didn’t taste like much either. I was expecting it to be savoury and cheesy but neither element was there.
Fried Squid with sweet and sour sauce from Taiwan Snacks was done quite well. The batter was crispy and the squid wasn’t overly chewy.
Another stall that looked interesting was Bi Bim Rito. I thought the name was a creative combination of bibimbap and burrito. We actually didn’t eat this cone shown here. It was just their display model that they lent us for photos.
We did eat the Kimchi Fried Rice with Pork Belly though. It’s served with a side salad and the kimchi fried rice was savoury but not too spicy. The pork belly was a good choice, tender but not too fatty.
These dumplings are from a stall called Mama’s Kitchen. It’s run by a man and his elderly mother who hand makes all the Dumplings from scratch! I actually thought they were pretty good. It had a good amount of filling and it was juicy. The skin is a bit softer than you’d expect based on the crisp-looking edges of the dumplings. Also, each portion has 6 pieces but we ate 2 already.
I felt this night market lacked dessert options. :( There were only 2 dessert stalls, Sweet Fish and Snowberry (which had a Chinese only sign). Sweet Fish serves up 3 flavours of Taiyaki: red bean, vanilla custard and Chocolate/Nutella. Each one comes with vanilla ice cream and a cookie straw. We chose the vanilla custard flavour but since I didn’t eat the whole thing I never got to the custard part but I enjoyed the light and crispy “fish” shell.
If you’re a fan of skewers but have since gone vegetarian/vegan, this is the answer for you!
They have BBQ Wheat Gluten! They’re a bit chewy and reminded me of mochi in texture. You’re really eating this for the flavour and seasoning as it will not fill you up. It was $8 for 6 skewers.
At Old Wang, you can get this Crepe Wrap? Not sure what it’s called but it’s a noodle sheet (I think?) fried with onions, green onions, Hoisin sauce with spam inside.
Although a oily, it was quite good.
These Galaxy Yam Balls are from a stall that specializes in radish cakes but by the time we got there they had run out already. However, these yam balls were really good! It also reminded me of mochi in texture. You can tell I like chewy things right?
They have a few sauces that you can drizzle over the balls like condensed milk, honey and chocolate.
Lastly, there’s a stall that sells Spicy Crawfish! I’ve never had crawfish before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Apparently you can only eat the tiny tail part…and maybe the claw if you can get the meat out. The vendor will peel the tail for you. They also serve seasoned duck tongue here so I think I might be more interested in that than crawfish.
The Illumination Night Market also has an area where you can buy these wooden plaques, write your wish on it and then hang it up. I believe it’s similar to a Japanese tradition? The plaques comes in small ($5), medium ($8) and large ($10). You can also get a lock lock for $8.