Not planning to travel outside Metro Vancouver this summer but would still like to enjoy mouthwatering fare that brings to mind street food from Italy, Japanese snacks, or classic Montreal eats? It really isn’t necessary to take a trip to faraway countries for authentic cultural grub—Vancouver is known for its copious amounts of diverse cuisines.
Cue the arrival of summer food events in the city: local gatherings such as ongoing night markets and single-day festivals that offer tasty culinary choices.
Here are five food events to check out around Metro Vancouver this summer.
Italian Day on the Drive (from Venables Street to Grandview Cut)
Vancouver’s Commercial Drive—also known as Little Italy—will once again host the annual Italian Day extravaganza on June 11 (noon to 8 p.m.). The daylong cultural celebration will feature live entertainment, children’s activities, street performers, and, most importantly, an abundance of food. Yes, eventgoers will find everything from cannoli to meatballs, Italian doughnuts to gelato, and, of course, pizza. More than 20 food trucks and 15 merchant patios will be present, which will be needed to feed the tens of thousands of people who turn up. Italian Day is a celebration of culture, community, and heritage, but people mostly come for the grub.
More information can be found at the Italian Day website.
Vancouver Farmers Markets (various locations)
Those who walk or drive by a farmers market without taking a second glance are missing out on some delicious eats. Vancouver has seven different farmers markets (running through October), and each of them offers unique venders, including food trucks and artisanal-food shops. Besides local produce, meats, and seafood, visitors will also find ready-to-eat culinary creations that include baked goods, desserts, soups, perogie, pies, crepes, and raclette (a Swiss dish with melted cheese). You can get your groceries for the day after satisfying your stomach.
More information and full market schedules can be found at the Vancouver Farmers Market website.
Richmond Night Market (8351 River Road, Richmond)
This Richmond hot spot may be known to tourists as North America’s biggest night market, but it is affectionately known as “the outdoor food court” by locals. The Richmond night market is open every weekend until October and boasts more than 500 food stalls, which makes it a mandatory summer destination for anyone who loves eating. Arrive hungry, because you will be able to try items like takoyaki (Japanese battered snack filled with octopus), “hurricane” potatoes, bubble tea, shaved ice, meat skewers, fried chicken, dim sum, poutine, egg waffles, Asian-style tacos, and poké bowls, among many others. After you have made your gourmet rounds, check out the night market’s other draws: carnival games, over 200 retail venders (think phone cases and cute stationery), live entertainment, and kids’ rides.
More information can be found at the Richmond Night market website.
YVR Food Fest (215 West 1st Avenue)
No plans for the Canada Day long weekend other than catching free fireworks? Check out the annual YVR Food Fest (June 29 to July 3) at Olympic Village. Returning for a packed few days of food trucks and dinner events galore, food lovers will be able to indulge in their favourite nosh and simultaneously celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. The multiday food festival will also feature a speaker series revolving around culinary topics, a long-table dinner, an outdoor brunch, and a Canada Day barbecue with live music. But, arguably, its most popular event is the street-food showdown: a gathering of more than 80 food carts and restaurants that will serve tasting-menu items and drinks from wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
More information and tickets can be found at the YVR Food Fest website.
Shipyards Night Market (138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver)
Besides fantastic summer hikes and trails, the North Shore also offers a summertime eating spot: Shipyards Night Market. Every Friday night (5 to 10 p.m.) until the end of September, visitors will find a beer garden, more than 35 food trucks (Flip Top Truck, Torafuku, Disco Cheetah Korean Grill, I Love Chickpea, and more), and local food venders. After you grab a savoury bite from your favourite truck, you can satisfy your sweet tooth by indulging in some kettle corn, gelato, cannoli, dessert crepes, Slavic rolls, and other baked goods on offer. Your evening will include live music until the end of the night, along with other art and entertainment. Seems like a pretty great way to kick off your weekend.
More information can be found at the Northshore Green Markets website.