Monday, 19 November 2012

Must-trys at the night markets in Taiwan

New: Must-trys at the night markets in Taiwan
Whats up: Where to eat in Taiwan and delicious things you must try

Deep fried pretty much sums up everything you’ll eat at the night markets in Taipei. Forget deep-fried wagon wheels and deep-fried oreos, Taiwan has the good stuff: deep-fried chicken steak, deep-fried tofu, deep-fried pastries, deep-fried buns, deep-fried milk.

I stayed in the city of Taipei in the Zhuwei area, about 20 minutes from the famous Shilin night market and Ximending pedestrian area.

Just the Shilin market itself will take a few visits to complete. One of the most popular items (identified by the never-ending mile-long lineups)was the Da bao bao shao bao (literally means big bun wrapped around a little bun). It’s a crispy pastry filled with a wide variety of fillings including pork floss and peanuts then crushed and wrapped inside a soft, chewy roti-like skin.

Another popular item that you won’t have to wait quite as long for is the oyster pancakes. If you like seafood and you like eggs, this is the dish for you. It has a very gooey texture due to the cornstarch and fresh, chewy pieces of oyster and vegetables cooked inside.

Oyster omelette at the Shilin night market in Taiwan

Another deep-fried goodie you must get your hands on (as mentioned in my previous post) is the deep-fried chicken steak by Hot Star. You can get your choice of seasoning, but I like mine with the original flavour. If you feel like something a little more fishy, give the deep-fried squid a try. Tender pieces of squid tentacles are coated with a delicious savoury batter and fried to a crisp.

Deep-fried and seasons squid at the Taiwan night markets
Follow your nose to the next dish, if you’re standing near the food carts, you nose is sure to catch a whiff of stinky tofu. This pungent delight bears only a fraction of the aromatic scent in the taste. The stinky tofu is deep-fried and topped with some pickled vegetables and chilli sauce.

Stinky tofu at the Shilin night market in Taipei
The night markets are also filled with as much seafood as you can eat. Crayfish, crabs, oysters, shrimp, pretty much any kind of shellfish you can imagine.

Fresh seafood in Taipei night markets

For those who prefer more traditional flavours, there are also stands selling sticky rice, dim sum, noodle soups and an assortment of buns.

Sticky rice at the Keeliung night market in Taiwan

Clockwise: Lamb noodles, Flour-rice noodles, lamb rice, dragon's whiskers vegetables
Save room for dessert because you cannot miss a single bite. Deep-fried milk is a must-try at the night markets and at about 60 cents a skewer, how can you say no? A tasty milk mixture is battered and deep-fried right before you for a crispy outside and a smooth, sweet inside.

Deep-fried milk at the Shilin night  market
You can also get some delicious shaved ice to cool off your palette. I tried the taro shaved ice that had fresh taro mixed right into the ice.

Taro shaved ice
If you need a break from all the deep-fried and baked goodies, stop by one of the many fruit stands around.  For a minimal cost you can get a whole cup of assorted fruits including sweet sop, plums, mangoes, pineapples, dragon fruit, guava, strawberries and much more.

Assortment of fresh fruit
If the weather’s a little cooler than you’d anticipated, warm up with a sweet bowl of soup. You can get a mixture of fruit, red beans, chickpeas, taro, peanuts and much more all mixed into a bowl and served piping hot.

All of this food can be found at the Shilin night market, but if you want more seafood, visit the Keelung Temple night market.

If it’s shopping you’re looking for with a handful of tasty stalls, give the Ximending pedestrian area in the Wanhua district a visit. This area is more targeted towards a younger crowd and is filled with shops, clubs and bars.

Make sure to check out the popular Etude House for all your beauty supplies and Naughty Cat for some cheap accessories. Both can be found at Ximending.

Naughty Cat accessories store 
For a little downtime and dinner, visit the Tamsui waterfront area. You have your choice of walking by the endless line of restaurants, food stands and carnival games or you can walk along the water. Be sure to watch out for those scooters because people ride them everywhere

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