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A Giant Night Market Takes Over Chinatown This Weekend

It’ll showcase the neighbourhood’s finest, and bring in a host of east Asian restaurants from across the city, too.

Montreal’s arched Chinatown gate lit up at night
Montreal’s Chinatown gate

Chinatown gets its own street fair this weekend, with Montreal’s Asian Night Market taking over the small neighbourhood, showcasing the bakeries, restaurants, and grocery stores of Chinatown, and also pan-Asian businesses from across the city.

Organizer Eva Hu and her organization, Foodfest MTL, have paired with the Conseil de Développement du Quartier Chinois de Montréal for the event, which will close off Clark Street for the Labour Day weekend.

Some 30 Chinatown merchants will participate, as well as 50 food and activity kiosks — and it’s quite the opportunity to sample a range of wares, with food priced mostly around the $3 to $5 mark, with the most expensive items maxing out around $8 (entry is free).

The market take place mostly on de la Gauchetière Street between St-Urbain and St-Laurent, and Clark Street. The square at the corner of those streets will house many of the weekend’s vendors, which will include NDG ice cream hot spot Ca Lem, Village pad thai favourite Cuisine Bangkok (formerly of the Faubourg Ste-Catherine), dessert bar Zoe (known for TK), and TK Dobe & Andy, selling TK street food.

This is the third year that the market has been in operation, but there are substantial changes this year — it’s now a street fair, meaning there will not be any restrictions on capacity. (In its inaugural year, the market was overwhelmed by tens of thousands of people wanting to attend, only a fraction of whom could fit into Centre-Sud outdoor space Village Au Pied de Courant; the situation was improved in 2018 when it took place at the Old Port, although it still had line-ups to get in due to limited capacity.) In effect, it’s now closer to events that periodically take over St-Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Avenue on the Plateau.

Hu says that she hopes Chinatown will be a permanent home for the annual event, after bouncing around the last two years — she plans to get larger streets such as St-Laurent closed to traffic in future years, making it easier for more businesses to take part.

The Montreal Asian Night Market (Marché de Nuit Asiatique) takes place Friday August 30 to Sunday September 1 — it runs 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.